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First stop, off we pop to a craggy mountaintop. Spooky castle, creaky floor -- who is opening the door?
Is it a lurking, smirking Vampire? Or a howling, growling Werewolf? One by one, a ghoulish gang climbs onto this super jet-fueled broomstick for a frightfully fun flight on Halloween night.
Want to hop aboard? There might be room for just one more. But beware -- Laura Krauss Melmed's cumulative rhyming story and Henry Cole's hilarious illustrations will take you on the ride of your life!
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Laura Krauss Melmed grew up in New York City, where the library was one of her favorite places. I was always staggering home with giant armloads of books, she says, and I must have read every fairytale book there was. The red one, the blue one, the green one all of them.
Laura's first book, The Rainbabies, with illustrations by Jim LaMarche, was published to critical acclaim in 1992. Her second book, The First Song Ever Sung!, with illustrations by Ed Young was published in 1993. Since then Laura has gone on to write many other favorites, including I Love You as Much!; Little Oh!; This First Thanksgiving Day!; and Capital!, about her hometown of Washington, DC. In Her Own Words...
"When I was growing up, my parents and I lived at the Thomas Edison Apartments in New York City along with ninety-nine other families. It was a hodgepodge of backgrounds and religions. Everyone knew everyone, and folks often left their front doors unlocked. Plenty of kids on all six floors kept an only child like me from feeling lonely.
"Our building had secret spaces and play places from top to bottom. The basement was a dusky den of mystery, where washing machines shimmied like belly dancers, and a monster boiler crouched behind a soot-covered window at the end of a cobwebby ramp. On summer days the roof became our beach or a theater where we performed plays I wrote and directed (starring me and my best friend, of course). Our tree-shaded neighborhood had a big playground and a store that sold magic tricks. To this day I thrive on the energy of cities.
"But then, I longed to visit far-off worlds of excitement. Since we didn't own a car, I figured out how to do this while tucked into bed or curled up in an armchair. Books, I found, could take me anywhere. It started with the beautiful picture books my mother borrowed for me from the public library. (I soon knew Madeline and A Child's Garden of Verses by heart.) Then, though my parents were of modest means, they let me collect dozens of Little Golden Books by such writers and artists as Margaret Wise Brown, Garth Williams, and Ruth Krauss.
"After learning to read I discovered fairy tales, especially Hans Christian Andersen's, and the Rainbow Fairy Books of Andrew Lang. I lost myself in tangled forests filled with elves and trolls, loyal sisters, and fools who were wiser than kings, though not as clever as talking cats. Folktales, fairy tales, and myths still fascinate me.
"My tastes broadened, and I lugged home stacks of library books, trading sore arms for the magic between shiny covers. I wrote, too--plays, poems, and stories with pictures. I told my friends horror tales after Edgar Allan Poe that made our hair stand up. Yet I had no clue I could become an author. Obviously, real people wrote the books I devoured. But I was concerned with the stories, not with the people who wrote them. When I did think about authors, it was with complete awe. Then, too, how could writing be a job like the one my tired father returned from each evening?
"Two degrees (including a master's in early childhood education) and two careers later, things changed. A poem I wrote to answer my son's question became my picture book The First Song Ever Sung. I wrote The Rainbabies and others. Like my father's job writing is hard work. But it is also great fun. I want each of my stories to seem as timeless as the folk and fairy tales I love, yet as fresh as a just-bathed baby."
"I will always love to read. I also like traveling, hiking, and cooking for family and friends. My husband Allan, a physician and I live in Washington, DC. We have three grown children."From School Library Journal:
reSchool-Grade 1-It's time for a witch's Fright Night Flight. "With hat and cat, away I zoom/upon my super jet-fueled broom." The first stop is a spooky castle with a creaky floor inhabited by a "lurking, smirking Vampire" who joins the party. They fly off to a number of places-the cemetery, the "House of Dread," and elsewhere-picking up other spooky characters along the way. When the frightful creatures reach their destination, they warn readers that they'll soon end up at "-your house (we know the street) and- ring- your- doorbell- TRICK OR TREAT!" The rhyming text is full of fun. The full-spread illustrations are rich with color and amusing detail, and the characters are drawn in a nonthreatening cartoon style that will not scare young children. A fine choice for Halloween storytimes.
Melinda Piehler, North Tonawanda Public Library, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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