Ok, I’ll admit that I’m getting a jump on Halloween, but there I was minding my own business, checking my holds out at the library—when what to my wondering eyes should appear?
Who can resist that title? Who can resist the smell of—well, I won’t go there.
I brought the book home, opened it up, and found a monster parent and child in the classic call and response:
“I love nothing more
than a midnight romp
while I chase wild skink
through the dark, stinky swamp.”
Really? So of course the child wants to know:
“Do you love me as much
as the SKINK that you chase
or the SMELL of the swamp
or the BEASTS in this place?”
And parent responds:
“Oh, I love you much more
than this swamp or wild skink.
I love you, MY NEWTLING,
much more than you think.”
Some wonderful phrases here: bubbling slime, slow oozing muck, purple-horned skunk, mummified bass, toe-biting stones, bloodsucking ducks…..
It’s a perfect Halloween read aloud, fun to ask the question in a quivering child’s voice and then read the response in the tone of the reassuring monster parent. Who doesn’t want to be loved more than moonstruck raccoons or a spider parade? Bonus that the illustrations are not scary enough to send the littles hiding under the covers. Instead, they’ll be following the little monster and its parent through the dark, stinky swamp. Maybe they should hold their noses just in case some swamp gas bubbles up.
Craft note: Yes, there are several slant rhymes (imperfect rhymes) in this book, but it didn’t detract from the readability. Perhaps it’s because most of the slants are added “s” plurals vs. singular or part of the third rhyme in a series that includes a page turn. So I’m willing to cut the author some slack here, because the sound worked for me during the read aloud. And let’s face it, with a book like this, kids are paying attention to the ridiculous grossness of it all.
What is swamp gas? Check out this teacher’s guide about Okefenokee Swamp gas
Make your own monsters: http://www.playideas.com/25-crazy-monster-crafts-kids/
Pair this book with GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by or I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE by Lisa McCourt, for younger children.
For older children, write you own “I love you more than…” statements. Make them silly whoppers.
Title: I Love You More Than the Smell of Swamp Gas
Author/Illustrator: Kevan Atteberry
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2017
Ages: Preschool-2nd grade
Themes: Monsters, parent-child bond, Halloween
For more perfect picture book recommendations, visit Susanna Hill’s blog.