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Scarum Fair
     

Scarum Fair

by Jessica Swaim, Carol Ashley (Illustrator)
 

Enter the Scarum Fair ... if you dare! Take a ride on the Scary-Go-Round and Teacup Terror, or enter the Coffin Race. Meet The Head, The Hand, and Madame Ratowski, the palm reader who likes to be paid in swiss cheese. Visit the chiropractic tent of Dr. Crunch, who'll "pulverize your sternum, and disconnect your knee, then move your metatarsals where your tailbone

Overview


Enter the Scarum Fair ... if you dare! Take a ride on the Scary-Go-Round and Teacup Terror, or enter the Coffin Race. Meet The Head, The Hand, and Madame Ratowski, the palm reader who likes to be paid in swiss cheese. Visit the chiropractic tent of Dr. Crunch, who'll "pulverize your sternum, and disconnect your knee, then move your metatarsals where your tailbone used to be." And unusual food awaits: sample some cat-hair stew, I-scream, and a type-A blood-red punch. Cap off the entertainment with a special event: Count Dracula's wedding. Jessica Swaims's deliciously creepy, funny poems are brought to life by Carol Ashley's gorgeous, ghoulish illustrations in this CRA Eureka! Nonfiction Children's Silver Honor Book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A little bit silly, a little bit sinister, Swaim's poems introduce different denizens and attractions at the playfully twisted Scarum Fair. There's devil's food cake to eat, shrouds for sale, and a werewolf den to visit--"Like our friendly canine cousins,/ we're a cute and cuddly bunch./ Just think of us as puppies,/ and we'll think of you as... lunch." Ghoulish images of eyeless fanged creatures of every sort make this a punchy treat for fans of the macabre. Ages 9–11. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
A bit of ghoul, a dash of terror, and a little fright are behind the entrance gates of Scarum Fair. The fair opens at night for attendees. Meet the scary creatures like the tattoo artist whose work and designs comes to life or the members of the Sleeping Dead Band who play haunting tunes. What is a fair without rides and food? Survive the swirl of the Teacup Terror or the slither of the Rattler Coaster. Then have a bit of steaming devil's food cake with a scoop of I-Scream. If you are thirsty have some vampire punch; there are three types, A, B, and O. The collection of poems reveals the hair-raising, spine-tingling entertainment found at the fair. Some readers may enjoy the word play found in the poems. The illustrations are spooky and haunting; there are characters with blank eyes and some characters with gray rimmed eyes. Chilling and spooky verses await the brave who dare but maybe not for those audiences who scare easily. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Clever writing pulls children into a creepy carnival of 29 humorous poems. In a series of mostly four- to twelve-line selections, children ride the "Teacup Terror," "Scary-Go-Round," and "Rattler Coaster"; taste a bit of "Devil's Food Cake" and "I-Scream"; and attend "Count Dracula's Wedding." The first poem, "The Ghoul at the Gate," warns one kid to "Turn back,/or you'll regret it," and a large green claw comes onto the page to pick up an unsuspecting red-haired boy. Although the poems all seem to be written about that one boy becoming trapped ("Hey, kid...I told you/not to come here./Did you listen to me? No!/You'll never leave the Scarum Fair./The hand won't let you go..."), readers do not see that particular boy throughout but rather a cast of Caucasian children. Dark background colors add a sense of foreboding as the cartoon children meet the ghouls illustrated in acrylics, graphite, and pen and ink. This book will require little hand-selling and will be especially popular among fans of Adam Rex's Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (2006) or Frankenstein Takes the Cake (2008, both Harcourt) and Jack Prelutsky's Awful Ogre's Awful Day (Greenwillow, 2001).—Julie R. Ranelli, Queen Anne's County Free Library, Stevensville, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Prepare for a deliciously scary and occasionally gross carnival experience. This collection of poems takes brave readers on a journey past "The Ghoul at the Gate" and treats them to "Devil's Food Cake," "I-Scream" and "Cat-Hair Stew." Once fortified, there are activities to do—"Pumpkin Bowling" or a "Coffin Race," anyone?—and freaky folks to meet. Other creature features include the "Head Louse"—"This tiny pest / requires no care. / She's happy strolling / through your hair / and laying eggs / that quickly hatch. / So every day / you start from scratch"—and the "Poison Dart Frog": "Witch Clara has a tiny frog / that plays the cruelest joke / on creeps who try to capture him, / 'cause they're the ones who croak." Ghoulish subject matter, rollicking rhythms, lots of wordplay and Ashley's creepy cartoons, filled with interesting details, will keep kids turning pages. Pair with Frankenstein Takes the Cake, by Adam Rex (2008), or There Was a Man Who Loved a Rat and Other Vile Little Poems, by Gerda Rovetch and illustrated by Lissa Rovetch (2008), for some frightful fun. (Poetry. 7-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590785904
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,340,993
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
920L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Meet the Author


Jessica Swaim is a former children's librarian and currently catalogs library materials for a school district in Colorado. She is the author of a rhyming picture book, The Hound form the Pound. She lives near Denver, Colorado.

Carol Ashley earned a BFA in animation and an MFA in film and art from the California Institute of the Arts. She worked on such films as Over the Hedge, Madagascar, and Flushed Away. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. This is her first picture book.

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