The death bell rings.
Everyone knows what
the death bell brings . . .
It’s time for class. You’re in the place
where goblins wail and zombies drool.
Welcome, you’re just in time.
Monster School is in session — come right in and meet the gang!
These just might be the scariest, spookiest students ever — a class where nobody blinks twice about the odd hairy eyeball on the floor or having a teacher who’s a screaming banshee.
Strangely enough, when you read about them, these spirited scholars seem to feel freakishly familiar. 🙂
In her newest children’s book Monster School (Chronicle Books, 2018),poetry wizard Kate Coombs has conjured up 18 fangtastic poems just perfect for some Halloweenish fun. Illustrated by Georgia cartoonist Lee Gatlin (who professes to love drawing monsters most of all), this cauldron of creepiness will cast you under its spell and tickle your skeletal funny bone.
Written in a variety of poetic forms, the mostly rhyming poems introduce us to some very interesting pupils, two weird teachers, and one voracious class pet.
Take “Fernanda Kabul” (please) — she has a way of instilling dread at the mere mention of her name. Part brat, part bully, and a vengeful liar, this “terrible, heartless” dressed-all-in-black “princess of hex” thrives on terrorizing her classmates:
One time Josh was laughing at something I said and she thought he was laughing at her. By the time she was finished he wasn’t a kid: He was three inches long. He was covered with fur.
Hello my pretties! Ready for a spookalicious story?
*cackles and strokes chin wart*
No matter where we grew up, most of us can remember a mean or eccentric neighbor, a creepy old house that was supposedly haunted, or a place we were afraid (or not allowed) to frequent for one reason or another.
It was the kind of thing where we were both curious and terrified at the same time. We hungered for more even as we trembled in our boots. It’s wonderful how local lore and enduring legends figured in our childhoods, how we bore witness to the dynamic process of their evolution.
In The Pomegranate Witch (Chronicle Books, 2017), Denise Doyen and Eliza Wheeler serve up a deliciously eerie and suspenseful tale of five neighborhood kids who battle a green twiggy-fingered Witch for fruit from her haunted, zealously-guarded pomegranate tree.
Beyond the edge of town, where streetlights stopped and sidewalks ended, A small boy spied a farmhouse in a field long untended —
And before its sagging porch, amid a weedy foxtail sea, Found the scary, legendary, haunted pomegranate tree.
The gnarled tree loomed high and wide; its branches scraped the ground. Beneath there was a fort, of sorts, with leafed walls all around. Its unpruned limbs were jungle-like, dirt ripplesnaked with roots, But glorious were the big, red, round, ripe pomegranate fruits.
On this crisp and clear Halloween Eve, we’re serving up a tasty poem by London-based author Elli Woollard.
I love noshing at her wonderful blog, Taking Words for a Stroll, which is a gold mine of fun, whimsical, silly and nonsensical rhymes, sure to put a smile on your face and make you want to indulge in some wordplay of your own.
When I saw “There’s a Fly in My Soup,” I knew I just had to share it here. Soup — my middle name! And since it’s almost Halloween and all, it’s a good time to swallow a few flies, spiders and other creatures with rascally relish. Bugs, birds and goats never tasted so good.
Okay Okay. I KNOW I’ve been a tad indecisive lately, asking you to call me Melon Head, then Apple Dumpling, and last week, Apple Pudding.
And not for a second would I presume to be as adorable as little bossy lady Lucy up there who without a doubt personifies the term of endearment, “Pumpkin,” like no one else.
I am now a Pumpkin Girl, having braved the chilly winds and hoodie-cladded throngs of wriggly, hyper-adenoidal munchkins with their parental units who led the charge at Cox Pumpkin Farm this past weekend.
Oh, so brave! Are you impressed by the sacrifice? All just for you, natch.
Today we celebrate the joy that is pumpkinness with an iconic poem and some pumpkin pie. Are you wearing your orange bib? I notice you have on your Halloween mask again. That’s good too.
Often shared at Thanksgiving, this is an interesting poem because of Whittier’s reference to pumpkin carving in his boyhood, which suggests the practice predated widespread Irish immigration to the U.S. in the 1840’s (hat tip to American Scrapbook for that tidbit).
As you probably know, the Irish had the most influence on the celebration of Halloween (they used to carve out turnips to light the way on their midnight Autumn ramblings). In America they simply substituted pumpkins since they were so plentiful.
Whittier’s tribute to the pumpkin first appeared in the Boston Chronotype in 1846, and I must say I do like his mention of pumpkin pie!