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SCARUM FAIR by Jessica Swaim


by Jessica Swaim & illustrated by Carol Ashley

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59078-590-4
Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Prepare for a deliciously scary and occasionally gross carnival experience. This collection of poems takes brave readers on a journey past “The Ghoul at the Gate” and treats them to “Devil’s Food Cake,” “I-Scream” and “Cat-Hair Stew.” Once fortified, there are activities to do—“Pumpkin Bowling” or a “Coffin Race,” anyone?—and freaky folks to meet. Other creature features include the “Head Louse”—“This tiny pest / requires no care. / She’s happy strolling / through your hair / and laying eggs / that quickly hatch. / So every day / you start from scratch”—and the “Poison Dart Frog”: “Witch Clara has a tiny frog / that plays the cruelest joke / on creeps who try to capture him, / ’cause they’re the ones who croak.” Ghoulish subject matter, rollicking rhythms, lots of wordplay and Ashley’s creepy cartoons, filled with interesting details, will keep kids turning pages. Pair with Frankenstein Takes the Cake, by Adam Rex (2008), or There Was a Man Who Loved a Rat and Other Vile Little Poems, by Gerda Rovetch and illustrated by Lissa Rovetch (2008), for some frightful fun. (Poetry. 7-12)