Monsters Growling in the Background

by Various (Author)

Monsters Growling in the Background
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
This collection of classic and contemporary poems will send shivers up and down the spine of any reader brave enough to open the book.  Collection of horror and Halloween-themed poems.
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$8.50 $8.95

Kirkus Reviews

Solidly spooky fun that will have readers screaming with joy.

Publishers Weekly

A vibe-setting anecdote about a Halloween night that terrifies costumed candy-seekers opens this immersive assortment of poems, "some as old as a rotting corpse in a grave, others as new as a baby goblin." The grouping intersperses works by contemporary authors such as Kenn Nesbit ("Halloween Party") with those of classic poets including Walter de la Mare ("Some One") and Edna St. Vincent Millay ("The Little Ghost"). Accompanying the verses are bold-hued, poster-style illustrations by Ontiveros, which employ atmospheric elements (a graveyard, a haunted house) in thick outline alongside individuals portrayed with fancifully hued skin tones. Though the poems' creators are limited to white-presenting American and English writers, appealing visuals and truly spine-tingling stanzas lend themselves to a seasonally pleasing read. Ages 8-14. (Oct.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

A set of 13 poems where the spooky illustrations are the focus. A mix of famous older works, such as Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," and newer Halloween poems are clearly compiled to serve the images that Ontiveros has created—and those images are very well done. Bright neon characters in high contrast to gray and black backgrounds, trippy repeating pattern endpapers, and highly stylized representations of a child's nightmares grace the pages around these poems. This very short book could be a fun read-aloud for parents or caregivers with younger kids, although they might want to pre-read the book and judge children's scare-thresholds. Some of the poems have a high reading level despite having children as the main characters, so older kids may enjoy this collection as well. The art is the main selling point of this book, as it may be difficult to justify the purchase of a book of only 13 poems, many of which are older or in the public domain. VERDICT A fun read-aloud for readers who love spooky art.—Jeri Murphy

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Reycraft Books
Publication date
January 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV017030 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Halloween
JUV052000 - Juvenile Fiction | Monsters
JUV070000 - Juvenile Fiction | Poetry (see also Stories in Verse)
Library of Congress categories

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