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By the Light of the Halloween Moon

Last updated Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Author: Caroline Stutson
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 0761455531
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2009

Synopsis: A cumulative tale in which a series of beasties and ghoulies threaten to nibble at a child's toes. These scary creatures run the gamut from the familiar bat and witch to the lesser-known ghoul and sprite. They emerge from tomb and darkness to pinch, grab, or bite the legs that are pictured dangling over the edge of the bridge. The pileup of menacing monsters and the close calls build tension until the complete picture of a self-assured little girl appears. Her fully capitalized expression of proprietary rights will assure readers that she knows how to take care of herself. The final scene, in which she fiddles a Halloween tune for the dancing monsters, creates a comic resolution, making the night a time of fun as well as near-terror. While the edges of the illustrations are sometimes fuzzy, the opaque jewel tones and the details of costume and expression make the ghosts anything but remote. A great nighttime party for all year round. From School Library Journal.

Note to readers:
•  Vocabulary: williwaw (a strong wind) , hobgoblin (beast), grungy (dirty), sprite (elf)

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think this book is about?
•  What do people dress up as for Halloween? What do you want to be for Halloween this year?
•  Who likes scary stories?
•  What are you be for Halloween?
•  Does the witch look like a good witch or a scary one?
•  What is each creature?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Whose toe is that?
•  Why does everyone want to get that toe? What do they want to do with it?
•  What do you think will come out next?
•  Whose feet are those in the top of each page? (The girl with the toe.)
•  What instrument is the girl playing? (violin)

Craft ideas:
•  Make a pumpkin mask.
•  Draw what you are going to be for Halloween
•  Have each kid make their own violin or other instrument. Then have the whole class come together as a band to play out the refrain of the book, "By the light, by the light. By the silvery light of the Halloween moon!" and tap their toes. Feel free to add new verses and a melody to add to the fun!

Special activities:
•  Tap your toes
•  Say out loud: “By the light, by the light. By the silvery light of the Halloween moon!”

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!