Booklist Online Reviews "The Legend of the Jersey Devil"
Booklist Online (Jul 2013)
The source of countless stories, movies, and TV show episodes, the Jersey Devil is one of those creatures cryptozoologists can never quite pin down—though few of its origin stories are as delectable as this one, supposedly told in the Pine Barrens area for nearly 300 years. It’s 1735, almost Halloween, and rumored witch Mother Leeds is giving birth to her thirteenth child. “Oh let it be a devil!” she screams. Like that, a hideous creature with a forked tail is born and goes darting up the chimney. Soon it is being blamed for all sorts of local misfortune, and breathless sightings of a flying, horse-headed beast become rampant. “Devil hunters” arrive to make the bounty offered for the monster and are only dispatched by the Devil when the townsfolk agree to accept the abomination as their own. Much like the story of Sleepy Hollow, the folktale’s plotlessness contributes to its authenticity and spookiness, and Kelley’s scarily exaggerated, underlit, and perpetually frightened villagers make nicely fearful foes for our fire-breathing beast. Ideal for Halloween.