Oh Susannah: Things that go Bump: Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by Mateya Arkova
Sleepovers as events that some children relish and enjoy while others fear them and would rather not endure. Susannah Maya Logan has been invited to a sleepover at her friend Lola’s house but she would rather pass on it. Thinking that there is a ghost living there and that her brother Kai loves to torture her and tease her every time she visits and even on the bus on the way to school, knowing that this event was coming up over the weekend gave her nightmares and made her even more afraid. Everyone has fears even big people have things they would rather avoid. Author Carole P. Roman is going to help not only Susannah over come her fears but maybe you the reader too as well as many of the other characters in this great children’s book.
Receiving the red envelope was the first she heard about the sleepover and knowing that her parents had an event that same night let Susannah know that she would have to attend the sleepover. Even her babysitter was not available and going to this event her parents would not have to call another baby sitter to watch her.
Things just got worse the next morning when she met Lola and her brother Kai started in on her while Lola explained that he often tried to scare her and explained that what he did was only scary when she did not know it was going to happen. How would she overcome her fear?
The next day we learn about her teacher Mrs. Horn. Poor Mrs. Horn had a terrible cold and she was deathly afraid of colds. You could see the effects of the cold on her face. Poor Mrs. Horn was really scared and as Susannah tried to write in her class she realized that her own head was filled with magic things that go bump in the night but will she ever not be afraid of anything?
While she was thinking about her poor teacher Lola was telling her about the fun they would have over the weekend and pretended to be excited. But, the next day brought on something else as she thought about Lola’s old house and thought it was filled with dark little rooms with strange noises. Wanting to scare her even more Kai told her it was a ghost. Lola loved spiders and recalls how she was excited and delighted to see one and collect it and studied it for a week. She even brought the spider for show and tell.
Things take on a different note when Susannah goes to attend The Plaster Party Event where her mom would be. Her mother’s boss sponsored an activity where children who were challenged with disabilities were invited to work on art projects, sports or music projects with other students. This was an exciting event as even the adults dressed up for the occasion. But, sometimes things do not go as planned when Susannah went to meet her friend Macy who is blind and handed her a figure to paint that frightened her. She is afraid of unicorns and when she felt it with her hands she dropped it and became upset. Poor Susannah felt awful but somehow she managed to give her another figure to paint. Imagine being afraid of a unicorn but things straightened out when they talked about painting a frog and you have to read how clever Susannah was when she describes green to her friend. In the next chapter we learn that someone else is afraid of clowns. Followed by Ms. Horn is missing and no one knows why she did not return to class.
Once again author Carole P. Roman teaches some great lessons to all children and adults. Being afraid is okay but facing your fears and learning to overcome then is even better. Sharing your fears with your parents and talking them through will help you understand how to overcome what frightens you. Friendship is a strong issue and Susannah will learn the true meaning very soon. She is still not happy about the sleepover and fears what Kai might do to really shake her up.
Meeting Lola’s father again led her to feel a little more relaxed except when Kai was up to his old tricks again. Meet Grandpa Jackson who Kai claims is the man in the painting on the wall who talks to him and is haunting the house. Lola is a good friend to Susannah and tries to alleviate her fears by telling not to pay close attention to what her brother does and how she manages to get even with him. But, when the lights go out and they are in the dark and they shout out for Dwayne and she learns the truth behind the sleepover what happens next will shock readers and Susannah too. The ending is a total surprise and the final outcome is you have to read it for yourself to find out if Susannah is sorry about the sleepover or not.
A great story marked with so many great lessons to teach everyone adults, children and teens to confront your fears and never let them control you.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine