Books by Alvin Schwartz

POETRY
Released: April 1, 1992

Not since Carl Withers's A Rocket in My Pocket (1948) has there been such a grand compilation of familiar (and unfamiliar) rhymes and chants from the children's own tradition: riddles, games, wishes and taunts; poems about love, food, school, or animals; parodies, nonsense, and stories. Schwartz organizes them by topic and/or form and provides all kinds of fascinating supporting material: an engagingly conversational introduction; general explanatory notes plus full item-by-item sources, many of which are intriguing in themselves (``Avik Roy, age 13, Detroit...1986''; ``Editor's recollection, Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp...1940''), or which give alternate versions; even an occasional tune. In b&w pen and watercolor, Truesdell's marvelous characters dance across the generously broad pages, peering inquisitively at the hilarious goings-on or gleefully joining in the shenanigans. It's hard to imagine a child who wouldn't greet this treasure trove with enthusiasm. Extensive bibliography (items ``of interest to young people'' are starred); index. (Folklore. 4+) Read full book review >
SCARY STORIES 3 by Alvin Schwartz
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 30, 1991

A poltergeist that specializes in unscrewing bottle-caps...a couple who bring home a strange-looking little dog from Mexico, only to be told that it's a sewer rat...suddenly vanishing friends, relatives, and animals...a Texas girl raised by wolves- -yes, it's a new collection of horribilia: chillers, ghost stories, and urban legends, retold in an appropriately matter-of- fact way and illustrated by a master of the macabre. Schwartz gives most of the tales a modern setting, provides hints for storytellers, discusses variants, and—as in two previous collections—appends careful source notes and a good-sized bibliography. Gammell supplies a characteristic array of leering faces, slimy bones, and scrofulous, unidentifiable creatures. Perfect for reading alone or aloud in a dimly lit room. You first. (Folklore. 10-14)Read full book review >
GHOSTS! by Alvin Schwartz
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

From its foreword to its notes on ``Where the Stories Come From,'' this ``I Can Read'' collection of seven appealing, mildly scary stories is a model of authenticity: the simplified but effective retellings honor both their sources and their intended audience. Chess's tongue-in-cheek illustrations add a perfect gruesome touch. (Folklore/Easy reader. 5-8) Read full book review >

More folklore from a favorite collection: Schwartz has captured several dozen taunts, parodies, jump-rope rhymes and finger-plays from the North American and British oral tradition (he admits to writing one verse himself). Some ("Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home") have appeared in print, in one version or another, many times; but most ("Ooey gooey was a worm"; "Call me this, call me that, call yourself a dirty rat!"), being less respectable—though often as familiar—may be harder to find. The author expertly selects verses that are mildly repulsive but never cross the line into bad taste; for a much larger collection with no such strictures, see the Pankakes' A Prairie Home Companion Folk SongBook Large type and easy-reader format—as well as Hoff's simple, literal cartoons—will attract plenty of young readers: both those few who haven't heard these rhymes and the many who have, who will be astonished and delighted to see them in a book. Read full book review >