Friday, October 22, 2010

Poetry Friday: Shake Dem Halloween Bones!

With Halloween quickly approaching, I wanted to highlight at least one picture book related both to Halloween and to dance. But how was I going to get my hands on one of those? Well, thank goodness for Scholastic Book Clubs!

Shake Dem Halloween Bones, written by W. Nikola-Lisa and illustrated by Mike Reed, miraculously showed up in the book club flyer my three-year-old brought home from preschool last month, so I of course snatched up a copy for my blog...I mean, ummm, for my daughter.

The text of the book is incredibly rhythmic. When my three-year-old was a little younger, we used to read Babybug magazine together, and she'd almost always ask me to "sing" the poems to her. I found it difficult, but I would make up my own little rhythms and do the best I could. Well, Shake Dem Halloween Bones is just dying to be sung. I haven't read it to my daughter yet, but I won't be surprised if she asks me to sing it to her again and again.

It's Halloween night, and the city is quiet...for a little while. Then a rockin' DJ with a jack-o-lantern head pulls out a mike and starts singing at the local Halloween ball. Many of the guests are sporting sunglasses and funky sneakers, and there are even some skateboards in the mix. A fun twist is that all the guests appear to be huge fans of traditional fairy tales. Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and Rumpelstiltskin are all there. And they're all incredible dancers. I wish I could go to the Halloween ball and learn some of their hip-hop!

Now, look at Goldilocks
a-twirling those bears. 
No wonder she busted their rockin-chairs.
Come on, Li'l Goldie,
won't you dance with me
at the hip-hop Halloween ball?

Shake Dem Halloween Bones was published more than a decade ago, but here are four other Halloween books--all written in verse--that were published in the last few months:

Author: Nancy Raines Day
Illustrator: George Bates
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
More info: This spooky book has lots of neat cross-hatchings in its illustrations. Children's author Tina Nichols Coury blogs about it at Tales from the Rushmore Kid

Author: Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Illustrator: Brian T. Jones
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
More info: Virginia S. Grenier, editor of Stories for Children (SFC) Magazine, reviews this clever adoption story on the SFC Blog: Family Matters. As a side note, my three-year-old asks to read this book quite often. She really really likes it.

Illustrator: Calef Brown
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
More info: This book has starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and the School Library Journal. Andromeda Jazmon reviews it on her blog a wrung sponge.

Author: Tom McDermott
Illustrator: Liz McGrath
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
More info: This counting book, set to the rhythm of the children's song The Ants Go Marching One by One, is reviewed at Bookin' Las Vegas

This is getting to be a really long post, but before I go I wanted to mention one more book that is appropriate for Halloween. It's called I'm Looking for a Monster, written and illustrated by Timothy Young. Tim has a diverse background, including extensive experience in graphic design, so he created all aspects of this fun pop-up book on his own. As a young boy searches for the perfect monster to play with, readers can lift flaps, turn wheels, and pull tabs to interact with all the different monsters in the book. 

Today Tim visited my three-year-old's preschool, where he read the book and drew some monsters for the kids. He also had volunteers scribble on a big piece of paper, and he magically transformed the scribbles into animals, dinosaurs, and even a jack-o-lantern. So much fun!


  1. Hey thanks for linking me! this is a great list of books. I am going to be looking for the Quackenstein on because I am putting together a list of adoption books for November. Do you have any more suggestions of newer ones (I have the old favorites already).

  2. Hi, Andromeda. Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you liked the list of books I included in my post! I actually use the advance search on quite a lot--in fact even used it to find a couple of the Halloween books on my list. If you haven't tried it yet, you might find it helpful. You can search by subject and age (plus a bunch of other things), and then when you get your results, you can sort by "publication date" in the upper right-hand corner. The most recent books (usually ones that haven't even been published yet) will show up first. Let me know if you find any good adoption books this way! Here's the URL:

  3. Thanks, Kerry--great round up! I just added several of these books to my to-read list:>)

  4. I've read all of them but Hallowilloween and The Ghouls Come Haunting One by One. Hallowiloween looks especially intriguing, but I would like to get my hands on both of them, too. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  5. Hey! Thanks for the shout out to QUACKENSTEIN! Much appreciated!

  6. Hi, Sudipta. Quackenstein was a hit at our house, so I wanted to include it somehow. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your writing!

  7. Quackenstein looks like a hoot. I'll add it to my library's massive collection of Halloween books. Seems like we can never have too many!

  8. Hi, Sarah. Thanks for stopping by! So glad you will be looking into getting Quackenstein. I think it would make a great addition to a Halloween collection, and we like to read it even when it's not Halloween. Have you heard of the book Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler? It's another one I love that is good for Halloween but could be read other times of the year, too!

  9. They sound delightful, especially the first one. Happy Halloween!

  10. Thanks for stopping by, Catherine. Happy halloween to you, too!


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