This past week we had fun--just lots of fun--reading from our wonderful collection of Halloween stories. There are so many, it's hard to pick our favorites.
First graders giggled to the story of Porkenstein by Kathryn Lasky in which one of the surviving pigs from another familiar tale decides to create a friend since his two brothers are long gone and he's lonely. After several attempts he creates a huge pig who not only eats him out of house and home, but almost eats the home itself! But on Halloween night, his new "friend" proves to be a valuable one and after one familiar wolf is dispatched with ease, the two take off trick or treating together, friends forever. The illustrations in this book are wonderful and it makes such a fun read aloud.
Kindergarten--What would you do if your little sister accidentally switched costumes with you and instead of being Captain Zigg, Space Martian pilot, you had to dress as.....oh,no....a ballerina in a pink tutu!! This is what happens to Gilbert in Diane DeGroat's Trick or Treat Smell My Feet and kindergarteners loved how Gilbert made the best of it.
Second Grade--We felt like we were looking at a photo album in Susan Wojciechoski's fun story The Best Halloween of All. After years of wearing costumes lovingly made but uncomfortable to wear, Ben decides when he's seven that the time has come for him to make his own costume which he does with a grocery bag and paper towel rolls. To him, it is the best costume ever, not to mention he earns bonus points for using recycled materials!
Third Grade--Mark Teague has once again put Mona, Wendall, and Floyd in One Halloween Night, this delightful story about a Halloween night that starts out with strange happenings and ends up a wonderful mix of supernatural powers and putting some bullies/witches in their place. The bright, colorful illustrations make this book a great read aloud.
Fourth Grade--From Spain comes the tale of Esteban and the Ghost by Sisyl Hancock. In a haunted castle, Esteban, a simple tinker, faces the ghost who has scared many men to death, and wins the gold, silver and copper coins. The rollicking story and clever illustrations kept the attention of all and it was interesting to read a Halloween story from another culture.
Fifth Grade-How many times have children been told to pick up their own things? In Bruce Coville's wonderfully funny/scary story "Duffy's Jacket" three children find themselves in a lot of trouble when Duffy forgets his jacket. This story is so cleverly written that while I was getting close to the climax of the tale, you could hear a pin drop in the library. After finishing the story we had fun "de-constructing" it and seeing just how the author built that amazing tension at the end using short descriptive sentences in a rhythmic buildup. (This story can be found in Alice Lows's great collection of scary stories for older children, Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night)
Sixth Grade-We all know R.L. Stine for his Goosebumps series, but in a collection of stories he edited called Beware! he included one of his own creations, "The Surprise Guest," guaranteed to chill your bones. Not to give it away, suffice to say that the sixth graders also got very, very quiet toward the end of the story and all will be checking out their Halloween costumes before putting them on tomorrow night!
Happy Halloween to all!