Friday, October 25, 2019

PICK A PUMPKIN: A Halloween Read Aloud in Verse

Looking for an excellent Halloween book in verse to read aloud to young children? I've got a recommendation for you: PICK A PUMPKIN, which was written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis. The book was published in July. I was eager to get a copy of  PICK A PUMPKIN to read to my granddaughters because we all loved Toht's PICK A PINE TREE, which was also illustrated by Jarvis.
In PICK A PUMPKIN, a family goes to a farm to select just the right pumpkin to carve for Halloween. While at the farm, they also
Stop for mugs
of spicy punch,
toffee apples,
sweet to crunch.

The family takes the pumpkin home, rubs it clean, and gathers the things they'll need for carving their jack-o-lantern. Then...they invite a "pumpkin carving crew" over to help.
The crew begins their work:
Now all together...
carve the eyes.
Giant circles of surprise.
Small slits sleeping
or one eye peeping.
Cross-eyes crazy.
Angry. Lazy.

Before the crew lights its "new creation," they decorate the house for Halloween with...

Cobwebs strung from post to post.
Rings of gauzy dancing ghosts.
Spiders. Tombstones.
Dangling bats.
Skeletons and witches' hats.

Next, the children don their costumes, take the jack-o-lantern outside, and an adult strikes a match so it will glow.

It's red-hot eyes
will gaze
and flicker.
Its fiery grin
will blaze and snicker.

It will also guard the house while the children are off trick-or-treating.

Jarvis's illustrations are a perfect match for Toht's rhythmic, rhyming text. The final double-page spread shows children trick-or-treating in a dark neighborhood that glows with lit jack-o-lanterns and streetlights. The book truly captures the "spooky" excitement children feel on Halloween.


Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog.


Friday, October 11, 2019


Early autumn is my favorite time of year. I enjoy the cooler days and colored foliage. I like the way my daughter decorates her house for Halloween. I love reading spooky Halloween books and poems to my granddaughters.
I wrote the following poem more than a decade ago:


In October, colored leaves
Fall from oak and maple tree--
Bright confetti shaken down
From their boughs. All over town
Trees are celebrating fall,
Decorating every wall,
Sidewalk, yard, and flowerbed
With pumpkin-orange, gold, and red.
We stand out in the falling leaves
And catch confetti on our sleeves,
In our hands and in our hair. 
We party till the trees are bare.

Catherine has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Reading to the Core.