friday feast: trick-or-treat by debbie leppanen and tad carpenter



So nice of you to wear your monster mask for today’s post. Like me, you’re probably already feeling that Fall chill in the air, especially at night. The leaves will start turning in the blink of your good eye, the winds will howl, and come October, you’ll have an actual excuse to wear your green scaly costume in public. 🙂

While you’re gnawing on that leg bone in anticipation, thought I’d share three poems from Trick-or-Treat: A Happy Haunter’s Halloween by Debbie Leppanen and Tad Carpenter (Beach Lane, 2013).

This mixed bag of 15 rhymes is perfect for munchkins and short grown-ups who like their scariness served up with a good side of humor. A group of trick-or-treaters and iconic Halloween regulars (skeletons, mummies, ghouls, witches, black cats, monsters) are all out on the prowl for a spooktacularly good time. We follow them to a dark alley, a graveyard, a Halloween party, and into the homes of mummies and vampires. One of my favorite poems, “Mummy Dearest,” mentions eerie edibles:

She fixes my breakfast: worms on toast.
I like the juicy ones the most.

She tears my clothes all to shreds.
(On the bus, it sure turns heads.)

She packs me spider eggs for lunch.
Mmm . . . the way they snap and crunch!

*picks spider legs from teeth*

And there’s n’er a chilly bone in sight with these barbecuing, ping pong-and-booooooom box-playing osteo freaks. Hot dog!


Can anybody tell me
(if anybody knows)
why skeletons aren’t freezing
when they don’t wear any clothes?

* * *

Do me a favor? Please remind me not to invite this gustatory ghoul to lunch:


I eat spiders.
I eat slugs.
I eat any
kind of bugs.
I eat cats
and doggies too.
I eat rats
(they’re fun to chew).

I eat grown-ups
by the bunch.
I ate six
today at lunch.
I’m a ghoul,
that’s what I do.
Don’t ask me home
or I’ll eat you!


* * *

Tad Carpenter’s neon-colored, eye-popping illustrations set just the right tone with spooky-cute monster faces and slightly shivery comic relief — did you know when it rains, some witches ride sponge mops, or when you bob for apples you may as well bob for eyeballs? Wait till you read the limerick, “Squeaky Clean”: John the Spector has some mighty cute butt cheeks :D.

When all is dread and done, there’s nothing like tucking in for the night:


A shutter bangs;
a floorboard creaks.
This night of gloom
belongs to freaks —
skulking monsters,
swooping bats,
skulls and ghouls
and witches’ cats.
But from the covers
I poke my head.
They won’t get me.
I’m safe in bed!

That’s what YOU think. Mwwwahahahaha!

* * *

Pretty cool bag of treats, don’t you think?

Pick up a copy and share it with your favorite tricksters.

Thanks again for wearing your mask today. Now that this review is over, you may take it off.

W – h – a – t ?

You’re not wearing a mask?

*runs away screaming*

* * *


TRICK-OR-TREAT: A Happy Haunter’s Halloween
written by Debbie Leppanen
illustrated by Tad Carpenter
published by Beach Lane Books, August 2013
Poetry Picture Book for ages 5-10, 40 pp.
Cool themes: holidays, Halloween, poetry, humor

* * *

poetryfriday180The unmasked, frequently amok poet, author and educator, Laura Shovan, is hosting today’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Author Amok. Just to be safe, put on your mask before you click through to her site to avoid scaring her. Do you think she likes worms on toast?


*Spreads posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright © 2013 Debbie Leppenan, illustrations © 2013 Tad Carpenter, published by Beach Lane Books. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

14 thoughts on “friday feast: trick-or-treat by debbie leppanen and tad carpenter

  1. What a “treat”, Jama, to share this book with us, but now we have to “trick” ourselves into being patient for Halloween. My mask is primed and ready…are you going to don your “melonhead”? Thanks for the smiles once again. 🙂


  2. Jama, that skeleton page is just gorgeous! I love all the spooky, clangy sounds in “Happy Haunter.”


  3. This was so much fun, Jama!!! I definitely need to get this for my kiddos in time for the October festivities!


  4. Ohhhh – you know I LOVE this stuff! Thanks for sharing this spook-tacular collaboration, Jama, and I think I enjoyed your “asides” as much as the poems and art! ;0)


  5. Jama dearest! This is absolutely perfect for our next bimonthly theme which we would be launching tomorrow! I shall hunt this book down, thank you for sharing such delicious verse every Friday, ghoulish as some may be. 🙂 But that’s what makes it even more gustatorily-special (hehe).


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