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Sipping Spiders Through a Straw: Campfire Songs for Monsters
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this isn't a book for everyone, but it's just the thing for families who love Tim Burton movies, Edward Gorey books, and TV shows like Dead Like Me. Monsters sing about gross and macabre things and the detailed images -- of rotting, creepy things with bulging eyes -- will probably be disturbing for the usual picture book crowd. The publisher even recommends this book for ages 9-12, not the usual ages of 4-6.
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What's the story?
Is it any good?
The premise is simple enough: Take your tried-and-true camp songs and turn them into something gross but funny; the result is hilarious. "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" ends up with lyrics like, "For it's one, two three bites you're out at the graveyard game!" and "Row Row Row Your Boat" turns into an homage to ghost nose-picking. The rhymes are pretty good and there aren't too many places where anyone has to stretch to make the lyrics fit. Kids who read this book are pretty much guaranteed to drive their parents (or camp counselors) crazy by singing the new grody versions.
What makes this book a stand-out (albeit a gruesome one) is the stellar illustrations. There are quite a few instances where the creep-factor ratchets up a turn or two and any parent who's thinking of picking up a copy ought to flip through just to make sure that the bulging eyes, rotting bodies, and creepy creatures aren't going to cause nightmares. The pictures are very nearly too good as far as spooky goes, but kids with a strong stomach (and plenty of courage) will love them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families who like gross-out and creepy humor can sing these songs in place of the originals and maybe try a hand at writing their own. Which monsters in the book look the scariest? Families can also talk about different kinds of humor. Are scary things sometimes funny or not? Are monsters that sing funny songs less scary or not?