October’s New Book Recommendation: I have 2 for this month!
J is for Jack-O-Lantern-A Halloween Alphabet
By Denise Brennan-Nelson
Illustrated by Donald Wu
Sleeping Bear Press $14.95
The Gist: It’s an ABC book with extra’s.
Why I love it:
- I LOVE ABC books. I collect them. Now I have to be careful what I add as my collection is enormous! This was a must-have tho’.
- It’s also a rhyme book that my students can easily fill in the word when I pause in the reading.
- It has both upper and lowercase letters.
- Mr. Wu’s illustrations are cute not creepy or scary and they are very colorful.
- The addition of a side bar is cram packed with interesting information, trivia and historical tidbits. It's a great read for older students and nice for teachers. I like to add this kind of thing to my newsletters and am always interested in these sorts of “how come?” facts.
- It’s a nice BIG size hardcover and still less than $15.
- I pass out the plastic magnetic letters to my students.
- You can buy them at the Dollar Store or at a Teacher’s store. I have a set of upper and lowercase.
- When I come to that letter, the child holding the uppercase letter puts it on our white board.
- We make a line. After the story I choose a child to hold our light laser and point to the letters as we sing the ABC song.
- Since this is a Halloween ABC book I have the child holding the lowercase letter feed it to Frankie, our Frankenstein monster. I painted an oatmeal box green with black hair and added some wiggle eyes and facial details with a black marker.
- Click on the link for a Frankie to simply glue on a container and feed his "head", or you could make a hole for a mouth large enough for your students to slip the letters through and have them fall into a baggie, box or other container. I named our monster Frankie, not Frankenstein, as the scientist's name was Dr. Frankenstein, not his monster. Mary Shelly's monster, if you remember, never had a name.
- I use my change bag and have already concealed the lowercase letters a b c d e.
- In goes the uppercase letters A B C D E out comes the lowercase. The trick introduces the story that we will be reviewing our letters in a fun Halloween alphabet story. “Wait! I see something else!”
- I peak in the bottom of the bag and there’s a little note on a pumpkin that says: “More!” I ask the children if they think that means that we need to see more letters because some were missing. They agree of course!
- I put the pumpkin paper back in the change bag and pull out a string of 26 pumpkins each with the upper & lowercase letters on them.
- Click here to make your own string of pumpkins.
#2 Spooky Spooky Spooky!
By Cathy MacLennan
Boxer Books $16.95
The Gist: “The moon is high in the sky…” and all sorts of cute little creatures are out and about which is spooky spooky spooky. They can stay and play ‘til the equally adorable trick or treaters scare THEM away!
Why I love it:
- The illustrations literally GRABBED me at 1st opening the book. Ms. MacLennan is also the illustrator and definitely has a gift. Upon reading the jacket I discovered that she is inspired by African art and culture.
- The bold colorful pictures filled with lots of movement in the book have that sort of African flair! They captivated me and are mesmerizing to look at!
- She painted her 1st picture at the age of six on a wall and has been painting murals ever since. I instantly felt a kindred spirit with her as I too have painted murals. One was a big train for Pennock Hospital’s children’s ward in Hastings, complete with all sorts of storybook favorites.
- The bluish purple background she chose for every page makes the pages not only pop out at you, but gives it that spooky spooky look that ties in with the entire story.
- Her creatures are adorable and not scary or creepy, but filled with wonder and a sort of Halloween excitement; just like my students. I liked that they were all SMILING! (This is such a happy time for little ones filled with lots of giggling!)
- The text was done in a “spooky” bold black fun font. Short, sweet, alliterative and it rhymed.
- Some of her creatures included pumpkins, cats, spiders, bats and owls—all of which are October themes for me!
- I loved the ending! I know you will too! Hooray!
- Have your students repeat the phrase: spooky spooky spooky.
- To help remind them of this, I hold up a little ghost finger puppet that peeks up over the back of the book.
- You can make one by snipping off the finger of a white glove and adding wiggle eyes or two dots of puffy paint.
- Dim the lights. Sometimes I read with a flashlight or lantern. I let a child shine it on the book. It makes things extra spooky spooky spooky. J
October’s Book Of The Month: An Old Favorite…
Ten Timid Ghosts
By Jennifer O’Connell
The Gist: 10 timid ghosts live in a haunted house. A witch moves in; she wants them out, so 1-by-1 she scares them away. Now the ghosts want her out so they devise a plan to get rid of her!
Why I love it:
- It’s a rhyme book that my students can easily follow along and fill in the missing word when I pause.
- The illustrations are cute not creepy or scary.
- The phrase “A witch moved in and wanted them out.” repeats so it’s perfect for my students to help me tell the story.
- The ghosts are eliminated 1-by-1 counting from 10 to 0 so it helps reinforce that report card standard and my students can count backwards with me while I read the story.
- It has a fun surprise ending that I have my students help me yell!
- I bought a tombstone that’s a doorbell. You press it and it bongs and says welcome with a creepy laugh. It’s how I start this story. After all we’re going to visit a haunted house!
- Tell your students that you want them to help you tell the story.
- Each time you come to the repetitive phrase: “A witch moved in and wanted them out!” Hold up the ghost paddle and have the children yell “Out!” Click on the link to make a ghost paddle.
- Halloween Novelty stores that spring up at this time, as well as the Halloween section in most department stores carry little “scream” boxes for a few dollars. I own several. After the witch scares a ghost I press my scream machine to add that special affect. This always gets a few giggles and adds that special touch to my story telling.
- I wave my magic wand and give everyone 10 timid ghosts. They wiggle all of their little ghosts (fingers) and I tell them I want them to help me count them as they run away.
- After the story we sing 10 Little Ghosts to the tune of 10 Little Indians. We also do the Ghost Pokey with our booklet.
- If I’m reading this to my class, I pause before saying the rhyming word to see if they can fill it in. I give out smartie coins after the reading, to children who had the correct answers. No need for me to keep track. My students won’t let me forget.
- If you want to go over some word wall words that you have that coincide with the story, try using one of those stick on creepy fingers that you can buy at this time. They always have monster, withch and skeleton ones with wonderful long pointed-painted nails. They usually come i a pack of 10 so 2 packs give you a class set.
- I sometimes pass them out to my students to wear to follow along when reading their everyday stories. You could also pass one out to each child to put on when reading this story to make counting with you a bit more fun.
- To make the story a bit more fun to listen to, and because my haunted house is in England, I tell the story in an English accent. The children LOVE it! Before you say “Oh I can’t do that.” just say “appy alloween.” Great! You passed with enough of an English accent to sound different and fun. Now just go underline all of the OUT’s so you remember to lift up the ghost paddle and cross out all of the H’s and you’ll do just fine.
- After everyone yells BOO! I end the story by saying: “And the ghosts lived ‘appily eva ‘afta in their ‘aunted ‘ouse~”
- Of course if you don’t feel this is your bag, just read it in your own spooky voice and that will be just great too. If you use expression and have fun, your students will too!
- I read this story at our Halloween Party, and once again as with all of my Halloween stories we review “real” & “pretend” and that there is no such thing as monsters, ghosts and witches and that there is nothing to be afraid of.
- Despite what your personal beliefs are, they should NOT be shared or debated with young children. Our school keeps Halloween fun and not creepy or gory. Some schools have done away with Halloween altogether and opted for a Harvest Festival which is wonderful; I’m personally glad that we’re still able to dress up and enjoy being little kids once more.
- I bought an adorable stuffed witch and took out her stuffing to turn her into a puppet. I put her in the dove pan.
- I have an orange envelope with a note inside that reads: “Sniffle-Sniffle” I’m sorry; may I please come to your party? I promise to be good. ” The writing is all splattered as if someone had been crying. I ask the children who they think it might be from as the signature has been washed out and only an H is showing. They try and guess.
- I put the lid on and produce Hazel. She shares with us that she used to be a bad witch but went to Young Fives and learned about rules and how to be good so she now behaves herself and wants to stay.
- The children vote to let her stay. It’s always quite heart-warming to hear them invite her and even funny listening to them explain about the Time Out chair if she misbehaves. She asks us if we’d like to meet her 10 ghost friends. We say yes.
- I show the children my change bag. There’s nothing in it. Are the ghosts invisible? I guess we must count to 10 to produce them. We do it in Spanish. I then pull out a string of 10 ghosts that we count in English. Click on the link to make your own string of ghosts.
- I say Shhhhh! They are asking me something. They want to know if you want to meet George the big ghost.
- I then put a paper ghost in my dog pan and produce another puppet, the big ghost named George. He introduces the book, telling us the author and illustrator and explains how he wants the children to help tell the story showing us his ghost paddle. They are all excited to help out and we settle in…
Art Project-Math Extension:
Make a Ghost Counting Booklet.
Click on the link for directions & pattern.
Do some Ghostly Skill Sheets.
Click on the link to view & print.
My Bibliographies for the month:
Fire Safety Books. Click on the link to view the list.
Spider Books Click on the link to view the list.
October & Halloween Books.
Leaf Fall/Autumn Books
Click on the link to view the list.
So curl up with a book and have fun reading!