105 Ways to Give a Book

Thursday Three: Monsters

These are the days when libraries get frantic parents looking for Halloween books to read at their children’s schools and finding that all the books are gone. One of these parents may be you. But have no fear — there are some great monster books around that will fill the Halloween gap and that are often overlooked by parents heading only to the shelf with the big pumpkin sign.

Where’s My Mummy?Where’s My Mummy?
by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by John Manders

When Baby Mummy heads outside for a late-night game of “Hide and Shriek,” he ends up searching for Mama Mummy in the deep, dark woods. Different monsters advise the little wrapped guy to go to home, but he trudges on unafraid, until a tiny creature gives him a big scare. But Mummy — or mommy — is there to give him comfort and take him to bed. The wonderful illustrations have just the right comical touch to take the edge off the spooky subject, and the story adds just enough suspense to the fun. Great for preschoolers.

Inside the Slidy DinerInside the Slidy Diner
by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Jaime Zollars

Edie is trapped inside the Slidy Diner for stealing a lemon drop, and gives a youngster a tour of the scary restaurant, where patrons eat pigs’ heads and pies are garnished with eyeballs. This is definitely a book for the gross-out crowd, who will delight in the bug-filled flooded restrooms, the huge wall-mounted cockroach, and the most questionable “chocolate milk.” Detailed illustration supports the story with odd-looking patrons and clever visual jokes. Gruesome, creepy, and loads of fun for the school-age set.

Frankenstein Makes a SandwichFrankenstein Makes a Sandwich
Frankenstein Takes the Cake
by Adam Rex

For some reason, people insist on giving these books to their preschoolers and then denouncing them because their precious tots aren’t interested in these poems about various monsters. The smaller ones somehow fail to grasp the cultural and literary references or get the jokes. They aren’t wooed by the detailed and varied artistic styles. So clearly, these parents claim, these books are not all that. HAH! And I say again, HAH! While shaking my head, of course, and noting that just because a book has pictures, it is not necessarily a “picture book.” Sure, read it to your preschoolers if you feel the need, but it’s the bigger kids who are going to appreciate the brilliance, the humor, the artistry of these amazing books. These are the perfect books to share in higher grades when the kids are wanting stories — especially to mark special times like Halloween — but parents don’t think about sharing books in the classroom. I read the first one to my daughter’s fifth grade class and they loved it. It was apparently very popular for the week I left it there, and I heard groans when I picked it up. Don’t miss these fabulous poetry books, but do think about the right age of the reader. By the way — adults fall into that “right age” group.

(Originally posted at PBS Booklights.)

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Anonymous said...

There are TONS of great spooky books that aren't necessarily Halloween-related! Your suggestions are great.

Shelagh @ KinderScares

Tess said...

It was fabulous meeting you today at Kids Are Customers! Hope you had a safe drive home, and have a safe flight tomorrow :)

Mrs. said...

Ooh. I'm going to check to see if our school librarian has the Frankenstein books, I bet my third graders would love that. I read them plenty of pictures books in with the chapter books because hey, it's fun!