Willy’s Silly Grandma

by Cynthia DeFelice
pictures by Shelley Jackson
© 1997

The Story

Scoffing at his grandmother’s silly superstitions, which she tells him have been passed on from generation to generation in their family, young Willy tests her story about the boogeyman when he walks by the Big Swamp one night.

A Note from the Author

Superstitions have always fascinated me. There are some we all know: a black cat crossing your path, the number 13, and walking under a ladder all bring bad luck. In this book, I wanted to use some lesser-known superstitions I’d come across that tickled my funnybone. I had a feeling kids would like them, too.
I love Grandma’s combination of being superstitious and, at the same time, very wise about the things in life that really matter. In her illustrations, Shelly Jackson captured perfectly the closeness between Willy and his Grandma, and the love he feels for her…even if he does call her “silly” sometimes.


“Filled with smooth repetitions, lively language, and strong rhythms, this is a fun read-aloud choice. Words and pictures work well together in this lively combination of humor, suspense, and a loving African-American family.” – School Library Journal *starred review

“This book is just the ticket for those little ones who want a really scary book with really scary pictures but one that won’t keep them awake at night….DeFelice’s down-home language combined with the inherent popularity of the subject make this a natural read-aloud. The illustrations pack an extra wallop. Grotesque animals, inanimate objects floating in space, ghostly apparitions-all the stuff of nightmares-appear on almost every page.” – Horn Book

Willy’s Silly Grandma by Cynthia C. DeFelice, Shelley Jackson (Illustrator)
Hardcover – 32 pages (March 1997)
Orchard Books; ISBN: 0531300129
Library Binding – 32 pages (March 1997)
Orchard Books; ISBN: 0531330125