The 13 Days of Halloween by Carol Greene with illustrations by Tim Raglin - book review & teaching ideas

The Thirteen Days Of Halloween is the perfect Halloween picture book for the little ghouls and goblins in your life. The text follows the same rhyme scheme as the famous Christmas song (12 Days of Christmas) and the illustrations offer wonderfully bizarre scenes of mayhem to support the text.

The Thirteen Days Of Halloween is an excellent book for emergent readers. Rhyme and repetition, as well as predictable language, are important tools in learning the sounds and patterns of language. The Thirteen Days Of Halloween is just the sort of book that should be read over and over as young students eventually chant along and anticipate the next stanza.

The design and feel of The Thirteen Days Of Halloween also lends itself well to the emergent reader. The text is limited to a separate sidebar of white space. The illustrations are funny, not scary, and offer additional opportunities for inference. The gothic love scene is a hoot.

This leads to two small criticisms. The characters are “good friends,” leaving the question: Why not “true love?” This unnecessary change from the original seems forced, as the illustrations clearly depict a courtship styled relationship. Also, the cadence matches the original in all respects except for one syllabic change with “cooked worms” for “golden rings.” Wouldn’t “crooked worms” have worked better? For teaching purposes, reading cooked as two syllables is bad form. Though, both of these criticisms seem picky when considering the fun housed within the pages of The Thirteen Days Of Halloween.

Recommended for emergent readers and Halloween celebrating children in grades K-3.

-------------------- Resources --------------------
Genre: Picture Book. Age: 4-8. Pages: 32.
Themes: Holiday
Thank You to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN: 978-1402230967
Buy The Thirteen Days Of Halloween Here

Vocabulary: vulture, wizard, cauldrons, hissing, creeping, whizzing, gobbling, swooping

Activities: Of course you have to have the students guess what is inside the box at the story’s end! It could take the form of an oral discussion or as a written reader’s response.

If you can find an instrumental version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, you can have a little sing along.

Can the students spot the adorable little dog skeleton on each page?

About the author & illustrator:
Carol Greene wrote her first poem when she was six years old (it was about a spider). To date she has published over a hundred books for children. Carol also likes to read, sing, and make teddy bears. She lives in Webster Groves, Missouri, with her cat Dulcie.

Tim Raglin brings his wacky imagination and wonderfully odd cast of characters to The Thirteen Days of Halloween. His previous books include Five Funny Fights, Pecos Bill, and The Birthday ABC. He received a silver medal from the New York Society of Illustrators for his book Uncle Mugsy & the Terrible Twins of Christmas. Mr. Raglin lives in his hometown of Independence, Kansas. You can read more about him on his website.

© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti. 

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