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Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Haunted House That Jack Built, written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by David Parkins. Scholastic, 2010. $7.99 ages 3 and up

"This is the witch, her wickedness sworn,
That rattled the bones of the skeleton torn,
That teased the count, on the prowl until morn,
That bit the fairy all forlorn,
That froze the beast with the pointy horn,
That tossed the mummy,
That chased the ghoul,
That scared the ghost,
That sampled the stew,
That cooled in the house that Jack built."

Kids love cumulative stories and we know that repetitive language helps them learn to read. Once they have tuned in to the pattern of the text, it isn't long until they are reading it on their own...and isn't that we want for them?

In this addition to a host of Halloween titles, we come face to face with a smiling 'Jack' o' Lantern who is putting up the last of the holiday lights and offering a warm welcome to his spooky home. With each turned page, readers are regaled with familiar Halloween images and a additional  line of text. The language is well-chosen and the expressive art will have excited readers moving quickly from one episode to the next...a ghost, a ghoul, a mummy, a beast...the list goes on and so does the action. It ends with a monster popping corn, and a wish to share with all who were invited to the costume party. What fun to watch as they peel back their 'other' selves and join in the fun with their friends!

"And they all ate stew -
And their trick or treats too -
At the Halloween do,
That was held in the house that Jack built!"

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