I Love You More Than the Smell of Swamp Gas – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

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…..

Text/illustrations ⓒKevan Atteberry

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.


26 thoughts on “I Love You More Than the Smell of Swamp Gas – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, I know what you mean about rhyme. You really want an author to work for the rhyme, make it perfect and not cheat, since that’s the holy grail we’re supposed to be chasing for several reasons, not the least of which is teaching kids about the sounds of words. But I tend to be more forgiving if the book scans well and is silly. If this were a lyrical PB, I may not give it as much of a pass. I don’t know, as it really depends on the book as a whole. And yes, the fun words and images are FUN!!

  1. Joanna says:

    I am a stickler when it comes to rhyme and I agree, the vast majority of the slant rhymes didn’t bug me in this one. And it is so splendidly ghoulie and gross for kids.

  2. Sarah Tobias says:

    I am glad you got started on Halloween early. I love stories for this season. I have requested it from my library and look forward to the slime and ooze.

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