Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween Rhythm and Rhyme

It's October and that means we're reading Halloween books in our 2nd grade class.  I have never been a person who enjoys being scared.  I don't watch scary movies, I don't read scary books, and I have never been able to understand why on earth anyone would enjoy those things.  I am all about Cute Halloween.

I love rhyming text for young readers, so this entire Halloween post will be dedicated exclusively to rhyming stories. 

This first gem is an innovation on the song "Over in the Meadow" and could easily be sung as well as read.  As required by Carrie's Halloween Law, all the characters are - wait for it - cute.  Even the zombies aren't completely repellent.  The author introduces some great language to the wee ones: gnarled oak tree, fierce winds roar, shadows come alive, hovel made of sticks, mossy green heaven, deep green glen - all of these phrases evoke vivid images for readers and provide ample teaching moments.  Little Goblins Ten is a gently spooky counting book that toddlers will enjoy over and over again.

Kids like to dance and they like to act silly and this book gives them the chance to do both.  Enjoy the onomatopoeia and a graveyard full of playful movement words like rollicking, syncopating, swooped, swayed, rhythmic.  More chant than story, this rhyme about "that wild, wild night when the moon on the graveyard shone so bright" is a fun read for kids and anyone else who doesn't mind getting silly and doing the Rattlebone Rock.

Shake dem Halloween Bones  (written by W. Nikola-Lisa and illustrated by Mike Reed) is another boisterous Halloween romp.  Like "Rattlebone," this really isn't a story, but a chant. Set at a Halloween party, the kids at the party are costumed as folk/fairy tale characters with a verse about each one, and a repeating chorus that kids will quickly begin to chant right along with you.  Mike Reed's illustrations are colorful and bright.  Readers will feel the movement of the party dancers through the pictures.  The MC at the party is my favorite character with his jack-o-lantern head (including a burning candle sitting inside his mouth), his skeleton bone jacket and bat bling.
Little Harry Potter fans will love this story.  The rhyming text introduces Thornapple School, Miss Zorch, the headmistress, and a gaggle of little girl witches who fly to school in their rickety, magical bus.  There's a haunted forest, a school choir, flying lessons, and dorms filled with cobwebs.  The food however, is much, much worse than the food at Hogwarts.  At Thornapple, apparently they serve eyeballs and tentacles.  My second grade girls have been competing for this book for two weeks now, so if you have a young reader who is fascinated by all things HP, Which Way to Witch School is the perfect Halloween book for him/her!
Ten Timid Ghosts is Halloween counting book with a twist.  A tricky witch finds a house and wants the resident ghosts to move out.  So she scares them away with all kinds of foul creatures.  The final ghost notices the mummy that is chasing her out of the house is unraveling and realizes it is the witch!  The ghosts plot revenge and reclaim their home from the clever witch.
Children will enjoy discovering that the creatures that are scaring away the ghosts aren't real, but are costumes and props the witch has created in order to take over the house.
P.K. Hallinan has written a series of "special day" books and This is Halloween! focuses on the big event of Halloween - trick-or-treating!  Subtle reminders about manners and safety are woven into a rhyming text with colorful, full-page illustrations, also by Hallinan. The board book is the only version in print at this time.

I gave this brightly illustrated counting book to both my sweet nieces for Halloween.   The illustrations are cute, with a rhyming text that keeps children engaged. 10 Trick-or-Treaters is the perfect Halloween book for toddlers and bonus - it's a board book, so it's sturdy!

This cheerful book is my Halloween gift to my smarty nephew.  An innovation on "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore, this fun book shows all manner of Halloween creatures preparing for the arrival of trick-or-treaters.  I like this for young ones because the monsters, mummies, witches, vampires, and other scary creatures don't look scary at all.  They are smiling and excited about the arrival of the children.  Be sure to check out The Night Before Halloween.

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