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The Banshee

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  47 reviews
“SCREE . . . SCREE . . .”

Terry is half asleep when he hears the wailing, rising and falling like the waves of the sea. He wishes it were a dream, but he knows it isn’t. It isn’t an owl screeching, either. Or the Flannerys’ old cat. Could it be the Banshee—the ghostly figure of Irish legend who wails outside a house when death is near?

Why would she come here?

In spite of
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 14th 2009 by Clarion Books
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  162 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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This story was scary!!! with both supernatural fears and the very real fear of the possible death of an ill child/sibling in this family's house. In Irish hfolklore, the banshee is said to cry around the house of one who will die--so the older brother in this story is very worried when he hears a "scree! scree!" outside because his brother is not well and he is afraid it means he will die--and because banshees are really scary looking and he doesn't want one around! His mother won't believe that ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A creepy story about a young Irish lad who thinks he hears a banshee wailing in the night. It turns out to be something else entirely...or is it? And why is the lad holding a peacock feather in his hand on the cover? Read on and find out, preferably on Halloween night! Well told, and atmospherically illustrated. It seems to be based on something the author's father claimed happened to him when he was a boy. A great choice for a Halloween readaloud. ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Scary Children's Stories and/or Tales with an Irish Theme
Awakened by the "Scree...Scree..." of a banshee outside his window, young Terry seeks the comfort of his parents' room, where his mother (after ascertaining that his brother Liam, who is in "delicate" health, is well), assures him that it is only a bad dream, and tucks him back into bed. Terry knows better of course, and recalling that the wailing of a banshee is said to presage a death, he decides to steal out and offer the banshee his "best thing" - a beautiful peacock feather given to him by ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Not a bad ghost story. In fact, such a not-bad ghost story that I wouldn't hand this to anybody under 3rd grade. ...more
Amanda Lyons
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is well written but I think it might be better for older kids than my son. At 5 he found this pretty scary. It plays off the creepiness very well especially with the art style.
Nancy Kotkin
Set in Ireland, a boy wakes up to wailing on a cold wintry night and believes it is a visit from a banshee. He takes his peacock feather (his "best thing") outside as an offering in place of his frail brother. He finds evidence that the noise wasn't a banshee after all, but he's not totally convinced of that. Beautiful prose. Both the text and the illustrations are rather scary, so I consider this a picture book for upper elementary or middle school children.
Lying in bed on a cold and windy Ireland night, Terry is frightened by the screeing of a banshee outside in the yard. Is it coming for him? For Liam, his sickly brother? Or for Ma or Pa? Ma says banshees are just superstition, but Terry's friend Colin saw one once, so Terry's not sure who to believe. This book is spooky enough in tone to keep kids listening but not so scary they'll abandon it in fright, and the reassuring ending will be welcomed by many nervous children. McCully's watercolors in ...more
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderfully haunting tale that is just the right amount of creepy without being over-the-top or giving a child a nightmare. The Irish lore incorporated into the tale is terrific and I love the concern the boy has for his brother. Overall, it's a great book to read aloud, especially at Halloween. We really enjoyed reading this book together. ...more
Rosa Cline
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was kind of a spooky scary book for younger and or sensitive readers-listeners. My adult special needs son got scared from time to time as I was reading it him so not real sure he enjoyed the book; but to me it was a pretty nice book (of course for age appropriate)

A little boy was afraid of the Banshee that he'd been told of. He was afraid she was after him. So he got his curage up and went outside with his favorite feather that his dad gave him. it gave him courage and he felt if he gave
May 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Challenge: Book-A-Day in May 2021 (25/31). The second of two haunting books written by Eve Bunting that recall her Irish heritage read for this day in May 2021. A story of a boy who makes a symbolic offering to the banshee who announces death; more than an Irish superstition as the banshee has been heard and experienced by many in the land. The illustrations in watercolor, pen and ink by Caldecott award winner Emily Arnold McCully evoke the fear held for this spirit and the experience of many as ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Actually a pretty dark kids book! The pictures reinforce the atmosphere too, very dark and shadowy. Between the monsters and scary night noises and potential death of a sibling... I had the spooky shivers, and I'm in my thirties! I guess that means, not a storytime book for my usual audience (they're a little young). If you know your audience and think they're up for it, this could be a good one as something spooky for a Halloween program or similar. ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book would have scared the holy bajesus out of me as a child, but my sister would have adored it. If you kid is into scary stories, this is definitely the story for them! The tension of this story is so beautifully built. Even as an adult, it gave me the edge-of-the-seat shivers.
Patricia Ross
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-2
I liked this book. As you’re reading it you are wondering if there really is a banshee or what is the noise he is hearing. Is the superstition going to come true in this story or is it just a little boy’s bright imagination? I think this would be a fun book to learn about predictions.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teacher-library
This book was beautifully illustrated and haunting, but not too scary for kids. It would be a good Halloween story to read in the classroom.
Che Soto-Vigil
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was so much fun for story time. I shared it with grades K-2. It had all the kids on the edge of their seats.
Very interesting lore,
reminds me of being a child
and being told to "Quit screaming
like a banshee!"
Stephanie  Weatherly
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
My kids were terrified of this book. We didn't even get to the end! ...more
Melissa Morgal
Would be a scary/thrilling story for elementary students. Fun to read around Halloween! Can also talk about different cultures and their folktales and stories. Banshee is an Irish superstition of a ghost woman who calls outside of the house where there may be death.
Elizabeth Menchaca
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Banshee: The ghost figure of a woman who wails and keens outside a house where there may be death. An Irish superstition.” Terry is fading into sleep one night when he suddenly hears the Banshee outside of his house “SCREE… SCREE…” he quickly awakes, checks on his brother who is sleeping in the bed next to him then decides to go warn his parents. Once he wakes up his mom she reassures him that it is nothing but a superstition then guides him back to his bed. He begins to feel a little better o ...more
Miss Ryoko
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
What I love the most about living in a large metro area and having these big huge libraries to choose books from is I often find books I'm surprised to find as picture books. To me, I honestly don't care. I know even small children all have different tastes and I think there should be a variety of books out there for them. But I know most adults, especially parents, think otherwise and feel as if they know everything about what is best for all children of the world, and therefore when a story li ...more
Mike Romesburg
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 23, 2010 rated it liked it
This would make a great Halloween read-a-loud! My heart was pounding the whole time. Terry, who lives in Ireland, is asleep when he is awoken by a "Scree....Scree....." sound. He thinks its the Banshee, a ghost figure of a woman who wails when there may be death near. Terrified, he deals with it the only way he knows courageously going outside to confront the Banshee.
This is a pretty scary book and the fact that it is written in first person makes it seem even more real. The dark pictu
Karen Arendt
Aug 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Luann by: JLG
Shelves: 2010, picture-book
I'm considering using this one in my Halloween storytime with my fifth and sixth grade classes. It's a nice blend of scary yet not too scary while giving the chance to introduce some Irish folklore. The illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully really add to the scariness of the story. I think my students will identify with Terry, the boy narrating the story. He's brave! I also really like how the story ends. I'll add more to this review about student reactions if I end up using the book. 3.5 stars. ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
My first grade son has become obsessed with banshees. He was convinced that they come out on St. Patrick's Day night (last night), and so he checked this book out from the library yesterday.

I liked this book. It dealt with some very real issues -- such as the nearness of death -- but also gave a logical explanation (should you choose to believe it) for the harbinger of death.

Wonderful illustrations, too.
Mirranda Rhea
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
What I would say about this book is I probbaly wouldn't read this to my children, if I had any. The book explains first that the banshee is an Irish superstition. The book is about a boy thinking that a bnashee is outside his window. Like any child, he is scared to death of it. To me this book is a scary book for chidlren, one of those books that could take it as a scary story for children. ...more
Shanessa (Children Books)
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A new favorite of ours. Creepy story with the right amount of scare. Loved that it was set in Ireland. My son was very interested in learning the folklore of Banshees. It's hard to find stories this scary for kids nowadays and my son loves scary books. Glad we came across this one.

Wonderful illustrations and descriptive language and a somewhat cliffhanger of an ending.
Jan 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Terry wonders if the legendary banshee is outside his house in Ireland, coming to get his delicate younger brother. Courage, bravery, self--sacrifice.

Eve Bunting made me practically pee my pants with fear when I was six, and honestly not much has changed.
Stacy Kirkman
The illustration in Banshee goes very well with the feeling of being frightened by whats outside to get you in the dark. The author uses descriptive language that helps the reader feel scared along with the boy in the story.
Rachel Berry
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I gave this book three stars. It tells the legend of The Banshee. A banshee is an urban legend in Ireland, a lady dressed in white who comes to the houses of the ill and sick. In just a few days time or maybe a week, the sickest person usually dies.
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Also known as Evelyn Bolton and A.E. Bunting.

Anne Evelyn Bunting, better known as Eve Bunting, is an author with more than 250 books. Her books are diverse in age groups, from picture books to chapter books, and topic, ranging from Thanksgiving to riots in Los Angeles. Eve Bunting has won several awards for her works.

Bunting went to school in Ireland and grew up with storytelling. In Ireland, “The

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