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Poems to SolveJuan Bobo and the PigThe Ancestor TreePaco and the WitchThose Calculating CrowsBilly and EmmaElizabeti's DollWho's In the HallMama ElizabetiA Safe Place Called HomeElizabeti's SchoolIt Rainded All Day That NightYou're Not My Real MotherAfrican American Read-AloudSky DancerscookbookGuess AgainphphDreaming-Up-Cvr
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Who's In the Hall?: A Mystery in Four Chapters
by Betsy Hearne, illustrated by Christy Hale
(Greenwillow Books, 2000)
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Hey! What's up with the Willy-Nilly, Wag, Wave, Dizzy-Lizzy, Lowdown-Rowan, Ratty-Ryan, Nelly-Belly, and Wicked-Nick? And who exactly is in the hall? By the time you get to the last page of Betsy Hearne's mysterious tongue twister of a story, you willy-nilly know!
awards • reviews
• International Reading Association/Children's Book Council "Children's Choices for 2001"

(Grade 2–5) Lizzy lives on the top floor of an apartment building with her mother, father, and two dogs; a baby-sitter takes care of her during the day. Rowan and Ryan and their pet rat move in on the first floor, and they, too, have a baby-sitter while their mother and grandmother work. When the new janitor comes to the wrong apartment to fix a sink, a flurry of confusion ensues. The book challenges readers to interact with the pictures and text and follow various story lines to get all of the characters together. While the full-page black-ink-and-watercolor illustrations work with the text, youngsters can also follow the action in the sidebars and small comic strips that accompany the story. Incorporating graphic synergy, words become part of the pictures. Changing perspectives show part of a face through a peephole or long shots of the hallway. Thick borders frame the pictures that sometimes burst out of their boundaries. The writing incorporates clever dialogue, witty wordplay, and tongue-twisting repetition and rhyme. The interactive style will encourage reluctant readers and the language lends itself to reading aloud. An excellent blend of good writing and fine illustration.
School Library Journal

(Gr. 2–4, younger for sharing) This mini-mystery picture book for older children, set in an urban apartment building, has a nice edge to it: while parents are at work, kids sass their babysitters, tease each other, and run around on the rooftop. The cartoonlike illustrations, by Christy Hale add to the fun by breaking up the pages with clues, mysterious close-ups, and depictions of the characters' jokes or thoughts. Three sets of kids and babysitters in different apartments hear knocking at the door and a voice identifying itself as the new janitor. The kids are savvy enough not to open up to a stranger, but the mystery of who is visiting apartments on the top, bottom, and middle floors of the building deepens, bringing all three sets of kids, their babysitters, and pets together as misconnections and mishaps multiply. Suspense in a mundane setting, rhyming games, and tongue twisters make this fun for reading aloud and a good lead-in to chapter books.
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