Are your students "dying" for you to read them some spooky stories this Halloween?... But you're not sure that's such a good idea... And the custodian doesn't want to be cleaning up any "accidents"!... Diane Goode's Book of Scary Stories and Songs is just the solution to your quandary! Now out in paperback -- thanks to Picture Puffin -- most of Goode's stories are more silly than spooky. And, better than that, a bunch of the stories offer real lessons for your students -- lessons about sharing, about listening to elders and following the rules, and about nosing into other people's business. Goode has dug deep into the world of folk tales -- tales with roots in the Sioux, African-American, and Tirolean cultures, and others -- to conjure up this collection of stories. She tosses into this concoction a sprinkling of fun poems and songs. But the highlight of the collection is its illustrations -- a ghastly gang of ghoulish ghosts and goblins as only Caldecott Honor medalist Goode could imagine! A sampling of the stories will give an inkling of what lies in store:
"The Pumpkin Giant" is a distinctly American tale that explains how pumpkins came to be.
With its roots in a collection of South Carolina tales, "'Taint So" tells of a man who refuses to believe what he hears -- until he has proof of it! · A tale of Sioux origin tells about "The Man Who Was Afraid of Nothing" until a most unlikely twist in the story occurs. · "The Conjure Wives," a story of African origin, teaches about the value of sharing as it explains how the owl came to be. · In a cautionary tale with English roots, "Mr. Miacca" brews up a special stew that convinces one little boy of the importance of obeying rules set by the adults in his life! The stories in Diane Goode's Book of Scary Stories and Songs are all brief. Each can be told in five to ten minutes. That makes them perfect for read aloud time, as a time-filler, or as an end-of-the-day reward.
You might even create a special "readers' theater" event to make your class Halloween party extra special! Divide the class into groups and give each group 30 minutes to prepare a skit (including props and scenery!) based on one of the stories. Diane Goode's Book of Scary Stories and Songs is a special treat the kids will love -- and it won't cause cavities!
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
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