Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes and Stephen Michael King
What a lovely way to introduce children to suspense. Scary Night begins with three friends heading out on a journey. Of course the journey would be on a scary night, in the dead of the night and in the pale moonlight.
This book encourages children to predict where they think the friends may be going. They can use the clues of the hat, cake and parcel or let the children use their imagination changing where they think the friends are going, right up to the big ‘surprise’.
Educationally there are many benefits to this book, not just the introduction of suspense.
Hare/hat, cake/cat, and pig/parcel. Each animal was carrying or wearing something which began with their initial letter.
Children can use their name and write/draw one thing they would take on the journey, making sure the object starts with the same letter/sound as their name.
An alternative would be to use the pig, cat and hare and suggest food they may eat, places they may go or activities they may do, all beginning with the same initial letter. An example is, the hare ate hamburgers and played Hide and Seed in the Haunted House.
Scary Night also may expose children to a new word – dale. Children could guess the meaning then as a class you could look up the meaning in a dictionary.
Scary Night gives plenty of opportunity to teach children about onset and rime. Think/pink, paws/jaws are some of the words in the book you could use.
If onset and rime is a bit advanced for the children you are working with, then Scary Night gives plenty of opportunity to generally discuss or predict rhyme – dale/trail, cave/brave.
Who am I?
A good way to encourage children to remember details about the story is to encourage Who Am I questions using information from the book.
I have snapping jaws, who am I?
I have sharpened claws, who am I?
I was carrying a cake, who am I?
Never give up.
The main theme running through the book is the sense of never giving up, ‘Did they give up? Of course they didn’t!’
Children can discuss times when they have wanted to give up but haven’t. What helped them not give up, was it friends, a sense of achievement or the end goal.
Tommy (aged 6)
Prediction from front cover : A pig, cat, snake went in the woods and they got scared.
Thoughts on book: I think it was funny, scary and surprising.
Best part: My best part was when they snuck in to the house and went SURPRISE.
What would you change: I would add a snake, a sheep, a rabbit and a bull to help them and then they all had presents and they all went back to the cat’s house and had a big party.
Charlie (aged 7)
Prediction from front cover: The animals were scared of a bat.
Thoughts on book: Awesome!
Best part: The best part was when they saw the bats and the bear roared.
What would you change: I would add into it that the bear joined in the fun and went to the party.
Congratulations to Lesley Gibbs and Stephen Michael King on being short listed in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book Award 2015.
Charlie, Tommy and I wish you the best of luck.
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