Story Time: Creature Feature

story time.2015aNikki and Jackie hope you’ll join them today for Story Time with Literary Escapism, a bi-weekly feature where they showcase various children books that fall directly in the fantasy & science fiction genres, as well as books they’re enjoying with their young children. They’re talking boardbooks, picture books, those books labeled as beginner or newly independent readers, and middle grade – anything of interest to those readers who are not quite ready for the young adult genre. So they hope you’ll join them on the carpet as they share the stories that have captured their little ones imaginations.

March is Reading Month at school, and to celebrate it, Psy’s preschool class asked parents to come in and read a book during their daily story time. So guess what I did this week. *grin*

Since we were asked to pick a day, we were also given the option of bringing in our own book to read. Between Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and my own book buying habit, we have quite a few books to choose from; so Psy and I spent the night before going through his collection and picking out a couple to take in. Of course one of the books had to be Batman – Batman and Friends – but we were stuck on a second book.

The first one we considered was Dinner with Dracula: A Spine-Tingling Collection of Frighteningly Funny Poems edited by Bruce Lansky and illustrated by Mike Gordon and Carl Gordon.

Just in time for Halloween, Dinner with Dracula is a hilarious collection of scary, spooky, spine-tingling poems about werewolves, vampires, headless horsemen and other creepy creatures that will tickle kids’ funny bones. That’s right — a scary, but funny (or funny, but scary) poetry book that will start selling at Halloween and keep selling throughout the year because the content is about scary stuff rather than Halloween stuff.

While a cute book involving your common every day monsters, it probably wasn’t the best idea to read it read it right before bed. When we got to the fourth poem, Under the Bed by Penny Trzynka, Psy was done. I finished reading the rest of Dinner with Dracula after he went to bed, and I can say that it is an entertaining collection of poetry, but I’m going to save it for the Monkey to read or at least until Psy starts reading on his own.

PTrzsynka-Under the Bed

While Dinner with Dracula was a bust, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex was a hit.

Being a monster isn’t all frightening villagers and sucking blood. Monsters have their trials, too. Poor Frankenstein’s cupboard is bare, Wolfman is in need of some household help, and it’s best not to get started on Dracula’s hygiene issues. What could be scarier?

Nineteen hilarious poems delve into the secret lives of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bigfoot, Godzilla, and others. In a range of styles that pay homage to everyone from Charles Schulz to John James Audubon, the monstrously talented Adam Rex uncovers horrific–and clever–truths you won’t want to miss.

Filled with poetry featuring the classics and illustrations of Gothic flair, this collection kept Psy’s attention longer. I’m not saying we made it all the way through the book, but considering it was the 5th one we had read and he was itching for some Batman, it’s definitely one we’ll be going back to. The poems were cute and truly a delight to read. But what caught my attention the most were the illustrations. A mixture of styles, and ranging from black and white to color, they were so artfully done that I really loved just looking at the images. Here’s a few examples: Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Creature From the Black Lagoon.

ARex-Phantom of the OperaARex-Dracula Doesnt Know

In the end, the book Psy chose was actually the first one we had read – Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall.

The troublemaking students of Ms. Jenkins’ class arrive at school one day to discover a substitutecreacher has come to put a stop to their monkey business! He regales them with mind-boggling stories about his former students who didn’t follow the rules: Keith the glue-eater, Zach the daydreamer, and Hank the prankster, to name a few. But even this multi-tentacled, yellow-spotted, one-eyed monster’s cautionary tales about the consequences of mischief-making can’t seem to change the students’ wicked ways until he reveals the spookiest and most surprising story of all: his own.

CGall-Substitute Creacher“I like that one!” were Psy’s first words upon completing this fun read. This was the one he wanted to take in and share with his classmates. Even after reading several others – The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat, Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell, Revenge of the Dinotrux by Chris Gall, and Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el and Tim Bowers just to name a couple more contenders – Substitute Creacher was the one he remembered.

Skipping ahead to reading the story during class…

Psy’s class loved it!

Talking to his teacher after school, it seemed the kids kept talking about Substitute Creacher even after I had left. Considering it was all about classroom behavior with a substitute teacher, I wasn’t sure how it would go over, but the kids were giggling and focused the entire time. If you’re looking for a good book to take in and read to a bunch of preschoolers, Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall would be a great pick.

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.