Sunday, November 25, 2012

Maggie Mab and the Bogey Beast

Title: Maggie Mab and the Bogey Beast
Author: Valerie Scho Carey
Illustrator: Johanna Westerman
Copyright Date: 1992
Genre: fiction, traditional folktale
Theme: ghosts, Great Britain, thankfulness
Grades: 2-4


Maggie Mab is a woman living by herself in Northern England. She is very poor, but is always happy to help out neighbors and strangers with the little she has and ever complains about her situation. One night coming back from a neighboring farm, she comes across an abandoned pot full of gold. Although she could use the money to make her life easier, Maggie's first thought is to take it home to keep it safe from robbers so it can be returned to its proper owners. Strangely, this pot of gold transforms into a lump of silver, but this is only the start of a very bizarre night for Maggie.

What do these strange happenings have to do with the legendary Bogey Beast and what lessons about thankfulness can readers take from this tale? Read this book to find out. 

Pre-reading Activity

This book tells a traditional folktale from Northern England. Because it is set in a country/culture that your student may not be familiar with, it would be a good idea to set it up a bit before reading. Show where Northern England is on a map, or even show pictures of the area. It may also be a good idea to go over some of the culturally specific or other unfamiliar words nd phrases for the students so they won't be thrown off by them when read in the text. Some words to go over could be: churning butter, toppling-over, shawl, and bogey beast. With the context given by these words, especially the bogey beast, students will better be able to enjoy the story. 

During Reading Activity

This book is filled with interesting comparisons such as "poor as the sound of a tin bell," "neat as a chapel cleaned for Sunday," and "lazy as a badger in winter." After a quick reminder of metaphors and similes  have the students make a list of comparisons they come across during the reading.  

Post-reading Activity

Using their individual lists, make a class list of metaphors and similes used in the book and as a class or in pairs, have students take them apart to determine the greater details they tell. For example when Maggie is considering being rich and "lazy as a badger in winter," she is referring to how badgers usually asleep all winter since they hibernate. So this comparison says that Maggie thinks she would be extremely restful and lazy if  she became rich. 

After exploring the similes and metaphors from the story, it would be fun for them to write some descriptive comparisons themselves, in as part of a story or standing on their own. 

Author and Illustrator

Valerie Scho Carey's love of storytelling comes from listening to her parents stories as a child and has led to her studying history and stories from many cultures. Along with this book, she has written five books for children, winning awards for The Devil and Mother Crump and Harriet and William and the Terrible Creature. She currently lives in Michigan. (Sources: book jacket and here)

This book was Johanna Westerman's first picture book she's illustrated. Since then, she has illustrated seven other books, including I like Cats and Little Swan, and received very positive reviews for her work. She continues to create artwork and illustrate books. She currently lives in California. (Sources: book jacket, here, and here)


This book was always a favorite of mine, even when I found it a bit spooky. Looking back at it as an educator, I can see it is a great resource for a variety of reading topics such as folklore and metaphors and similes. Although it may be scary for very young students, second graders and up will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here

1 comment:

  1. I love that your post- reading activity has students looking closer at the similes and metaphors in the story. This seems like it would be a great way for students to learn how to write them with more descriptive words. Great find!