Middle Grade Poetry


An Eyeball in My Garden--And Other Spine-Tingling Poems

Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, August 2010 

From spiders to mummies to the elusive Boogeyman, these pages hold a little bit of everything creepy, crawly, and just plain spooky. With a pinch of terror and a dash of humor, readers will be cast into a shadowy world, where creatures lurk and nightmares dwell. Surprises abound on every page, waiting to pull in readers...sometimes literally....   

This middle grade poetry anthology was written in collaboration with members of the Poets' Garage Critique group. Jennifer Cole Judd and I served as editors to this project, and we also have several of our own poems in this haunting, yet humorous book. 


 Publishers Weekly:

Gr 4-7—Readers should be prepared to shiver and shake through these 44 poems about ghosts, gargoyles, and more. Olander adorns each page with ominous ink images of spiders, monsters, and other terrors, while the verses temper horror (Craig W. Steele’s “Where Nightmares Dwell”: “I know too well/ What creatures lurk/ Where nightmares live and grow.../ The shadows found me years ago!”) with humor (Stella Michel’s “Mummy’s Menu” includes “Blackened pudding filled with flies,/ Crispy scarab beetle pies”). Whether it’s Halloween or not, this creepy collection will please readers with a taste for the supernatural.

Library Media Connection:

Gr 3-6—From bats, cats, and rats to ghosts, ghouls, and gargoyles, this creepy collection of forty-four poems hits just the right note for middle-grade readers. Selected by Judd and Wynkoop, the poems are about all sorts of chilling creatures, including zombies, witches, monsters, spiders, and mad scientists. The rhyming does not feel forced, and the poets use strong, descriptive language to tell their spooky tales. Poems such as "Bedtime Story," "Witch's Shopping List," and "Spooky Jack" are sure to be winners with boys and girls alike. RECOMMENDED.

Children's Literature:

Creepy, crawly worms, ghost ships, shadows in the night, a talking jack-o-lantern, and a graveyard are but a few of the chill-producing topics addressed in the compilation of forty-four poems. The scary topics quickly grab the attention of middle grade readers who can't get enough of such subjects. In addition to the scary themes, the poems contain dry humor that middle graders love. For the most part, the well-written text will be easily read by youngsters and if they find words they do not know, they can pick them up from context. The overall package places this book right up there with Scary Stories to tell in the Dark. Whether read at a sleepover or just by one curious thrill-seeker, this book is "spine-tingling," as touted on the cover. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury

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