I Want to Be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor

I Want to Be in a Scary Story

Sean Taylor, Author

Jean Jullien, Illustrator

Candlewick, Fiction, Jul. 11, 20017

Suitable for ages: 2-5

Themes: Monster, Scary story, Courage, Halloween

Opening: Hello, Little Monster. What do you want to do today? 

Publisher Synopsis: Our author would like to write a funny story, but his main character — Monster — has a different idea. He wants to be the star of a chilling, petrifying, utterly terrifying SCARY story. But scary stories . . . well, they can be very scary — especially for their characters! Particularly when they involve dark forests and creepy witches and spooky houses . . . Oh yikes and crikes, this is definitely not the scary story Monster had in mind! Maybe he wants to be in a funny story after all!

Why I like this book:

Sean Taylor has written a playful and clever story about the antics of a Monster who wants to star in a scary story, as long as he is the one doing the scaring. Taylor assumes the role of the narrator and commentator for Monster. The story is character driven and focuses entirely upon Monster. The text flows nicely as the narrator tries to help the Monster set the scene and select the characters. There is only one problem, the Monster doesn’t like dark forests, haunted houses, ghosts and witches.

This is a great example where Jean Jullien’s colorful, bold and creepy illustrations deliver a funny response, much to the delight of readers. The words and illustrations depend upon each other. Readers will focus on the hilarious facial expressions.  I Want to Be in a Scary Story is adorable and has a great ending. It is a perfect Halloween book for children.

Resources: Read the book again and have them help make up other stories for Monster. Give them paper and markers and let them make their own scary story. This is also a time to talk about what scares your child and what makes them feel safe.

Sean Taylor is an author, storyteller, and teacher who has written more than forty books for young children, including Don’t Call Me Choochie Pooh!, A Brave Bear and Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise.

*I won I Want to Be in a Scary Story on Mia Wenjen’s website, Pragmatic Mom. Visit her wonderful diverse children’s literature site.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit her website.

The Ghost-Eye Tree

Ghost-Eye Tree9780805009477_p0_v3_s260x420The Ghost-Eye Tree

Bill Martin and John Archambault, Authors

Ted Rand, Illustrator

Square Fish Publisher, 1988 (Reprint)

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: It’s okay to be scared, Imagination, Halloween

Book SynopsisOne dark and windy autumn night when the sun has long gone down, a young boy and his older sister are sent to the end of town to get a bucket of milk. As they walk down the lonely road, bathed in eerie moonlight, all the boy can think about is the ghost-eye tree.

Oooo…

I dreaded to go…

I dreaded the tree….

Why does Mama always choose me

When the night is so dark

And the mind runs free?

What will happen when they come to the tree?  Can they run past it or will it reach out and grab them?

 Why I like this book:  I will admit that this is a favorite dark and edgy book that my daughter and I still enjoy today.   I reviewed it several years ago, before I had much of a following, so I decided to share it again.  It is written by the late Bill Martin (1916-2004) and John Archambault, who give children a lot of room to use their imaginations.  Martin wrote children’s books for nearly 60 years.  I am a bit nostalgic as this was my daughter’s favorite spooky Halloween book.  I was so happy to find her copy and to know it is still available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and in libraries.  Written in verse by the authors in 1988, it is packed with imagery and suspense with each turn of the page.  Ted Rand’s illustrations are dark, eery and perfectly exaggerate the mood of the story.   The book is also a great read around any camp fire.  It remains on my bookshelf because it shows kids that being scared is okay.  It has just enough tension to make this a good Halloween read.

I discovered a short film was made of the Ghost-Eye Tree in 2008 by Nusomfilms.  Here is the trailer.

The Ghost-Eye Tree

Ghost-Eye Tree19729604The Ghost-Eye Tree, is an excellent book by the late Bill Martin and John Archambault, and superbly illustrated by Ted Rand for children over age four.  Martin wrote children’s books for nearly 60 years.  I am a bit nostalgic as this was my daughter’s favorite spooky Halloween book.  I was so happy to find her copy and to know it is still available on Amazon and in libraries.  Written in verse by the authors in 1988, it is packed with imagery and suspense with each  turn of the page.  The illustrations are dark, eery and perfectly fit the mood of the story.   The book  is also a great read around any camp fire.  It remains on my bookshelf because it shows kids that being scared is okay.

A brother and sister are sent by their mother one night to fetch a pail of milk from a farmer in town.  They are jumpy,  edgy  and tease each other on their long walk.  They don’t want to admit they’re scared, but their imaginations are engaged.   I love the brother’s comment “Oooo… I dreaded to go… I dreaded the tree… Why does Mama always choose me when the night is so dark and the mind runs free?”  Trying to be brave they know they will have to pass the largest tree in town.  They arrive without incident and collect the milk.  Upon their return,  the ghost-tree appears to come to life when the wind causes it to creek,  groan, and wildly wave its branches about them.   Just enough tension to make this a good Halloween read.

I discovered a short film was made of the Ghost-Eye Tree in 2008 by Nusomfilms.  Here is the trailer.

Copyright (c) 2011,  Patricia Howe Tilton, All Rights Reserved