Sipping Spiders Through a Straw: Campfire Songs for Monsters

Common Sense Media says

Gross-out, creepy laughs meant for older kids.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ironic celebration of yucky monster behavior is the point of the book.


Vivid images of creepy monsters, bulging eyes, and rotting things.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

Traditional camp songs get a creepy makeover when monsters change the lyrics.

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? "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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrator:Gris Grimly
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:May 1, 2008
Number of pages:40
Read aloud:9
Read alone:12

This review of Sipping Spiders Through a Straw: Campfire Songs for Monsters was written by

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Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written bySavedByHisGrace January 6, 2010

Inappropriate for young, elementary children.

Very dark, warped, and grossly disturbing. It is very sad that innocent children's poems and songs are turned around to represent death and torment and gross activity such as picking noses and spreading buggars on toast...! Lord have mercy!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bypeony April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Thrilling illustrations; songs mostly so-so

The premise and great illustrations caught my eye...but once my kids and I looked through the book more carefully, we agreed that only some of the songs were really funny/clever enough. Not quite enough worthwhile song versions to be worth buying the book -- maybe borrow it from the library. If you like the illustrations, take a look at Gris Grimly's version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which is has the same charmingly eerie look plus good content.


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