Monday, October 15, 2012

Dark Humor for Halloween



Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs
by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen
illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins
Charlesbridge, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Laughing about death is not everybody's cup of tea, so when this book made its appearance in my 5th grade classroom, I made sure that readers were forewarned. The pictures are gruesome and the animals in the book meet untimely and horrible deaths...but at the same time, to the right reader (mostly boys, to be honest), this is a very funny book.

Here are a couple of examples that have been favorites in my classroom:

THE LAST OF THE STAGGERING STAG

Win some.
Lose some.
Venison.


BARRACUDA'S BITE-SIZE DEMISE

My teeth were vicious;
my bite was hateful.
A great white met me --
the date was fateful.
The shark was hungry,
and I was baitful.


CHICKEN CROSSES OVER

She never found the answer
to the age-old question,
Why did the chicken cross the ro---?


2 comments:

  1. I can see why the forewarning, but the dark humor is somehow satisfying to some students, isn't it? When I went to Yellowstone with my students, they found a book telling of gory deaths through history there, & read it to each other endlessly. J. Patrick Lewis & Jane Yolen are treasures, aren't they? Thanks, Mary Lee!

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  2. I went to purchase this book today after seeing your post. Local B&N did not have it in stock. I've got the local library branches transferring a copy to me. Looks like some fun (and potential creative writing project). Thanks!

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