Books Paranormal and Carnivale Picture Book Challenge 2012 Picture Books Poetry Friday Reading Themes

Poetry Friday: The Monsterologist, a Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz and Adam McCauley

Poster courtesy of our treasured Iphigene

In celebration of our bimonthly theme connected with all things paranormal, I am very excited to share with you this monstrously-awesome book: The Monsterologist, a Memoir in Rhyme – for Poetry Friday which is hosted this week by Jim at Hey, Jim Hill!

What is a Monsterologist? The book begins by elucidating exactly what a monsterologist is in the poem entitled Meet a Monsterologist:

To learn about birds,
consult an ornithologist.
To learn just what makes people tick,
seek out a wise psychologist.
if monsters are what interest you,
the how and why of what they do,
I know the facts: What’s false, what’s true,
since I’m a monsterologist.

I love the qualifier wise in consulting a psychologist – indeed, indeed, how true. I’ve never heard of a monsterologist before – had I known about this when I was younger, I probably still would not have taken this course (being a celebrated scaredy-cat, I admit).

Areas of Expertise. I love how this entire book is crafted – I would even go as far as claim that this would be among my top reads last year. As one flips through the pages, one could have a greater discernment of the various areas of expertise of a monsterologist. We see firsthand a hand-written letter to the monsterologist by Count Dracula straight from Transylvania (in verse, naturally) in From the desk of Count Dracula. The reader also gets to learn The Truth about the Ogre and do heed the Werewolf Warning which would make one easily sniff out a werewolf “if the palm/ of the hand/ you’re shaking/ is sprouting hair” – easy enough to detect, I suppose.

Drawing of an Ogre by 1st Class Warrior – click on the image to be taken to the websource.

The reader is also taken through a trip around the globe and explore mythical creatures such as the one killed by Beowulf many centuries ago in Understanding Grendel – it comes with a luscious recipe for Danish Pastry, if I may add. There is, of course, the one-eyed Cyclops as one travels through Sicily:

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

There is also The Kraken from Norway (an overly-enthusiastic hugger, is all he really is, I’m glad the monsterologist has clarified that) – and let us not forget The Yeti in the snowy Himalayas – who absolutely loves loves loves  (guess what?) spaghetti!

In addition to An Interview with the Loch Ness Monster, and seeing first hand Bluebeard’s Personal Ad (seeking a maiden fair, no doubt), I was also tickled to discover newly-named creatures such as The Compu-Monster (“causing chaos in cyberspace,/ it slips around and multiplies, / then CRASH! / one more computer dies.”), and The Suds-Surfing Sock-Eater: A Conjecture – the monsterologist is quite particular in emphasizing that the existence of this sock-eater has not been proven empirically, as yet. And there is the glorious International Zombie Survey that would have to be filled out by the undead – funded by the Undertakers Union and the Rest in Peace Foundation. I was keen in studying how the questions were crafted, personally, to ensure that no leading questions were asked – and true enough, they were quite rigorously conceptualized, including questions such as: Do you consider yourself an equal opportunity eater? and several choices in reference to their eating habits and a physical description of how they must have been in their former life (choices include: teacher’s pet, class clown, hall monitor).

Resident Evil Zombie – click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Poetry Offering. While I loved almost everything about the book, I have chosen to share My Favorite Things with you – I would strongly recommend that you sing along with the verse rather than simply read it aloud:

Greasy green lizards
and raw chicken gizzards
spell-binding spells
cast by spell-casting wizards.
Dead mice and head lice 
and flapping bat wings –
these are a few of my favorite things!
Bare bones and tombstones
in old cemeteries,
unsweetened pies filled
with wild sour cherries.
Cat claws and rat paws
and bumblebee stings –
these are a few of my favorite things!
[for the rest of the poem/song, you’d have to find the book yourself! tee-hee]

To know more about the amazing Bobbi Katz, click here to be taken to her website – and click here to be taken to Adam McCauley’s official site. The Monsterologist also has its own website here which you might want to check out!

The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme. Ghostwritten by Bobbi Katz and Illustrated by Adam McCauley. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2009. Book borrowed from the community library. Book photos were taken by me.

PictureBook Challenge Update: 13 of 120

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

20 comments on “Poetry Friday: The Monsterologist, a Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz and Adam McCauley

  1. What a fun book…a monsterologist!


  2. Myra, you find the most amazing books. I know quite a few middle grade students who I believe would adore this book. It seems quite comprehensive, down to the sock-eating one! And the illustrations are terrific, look filled with details which will also please the monster lovers.


    • Oh Linda, that must be one of the best compliments I heard today. I am glad to ‘gather’ all these wondrous books here and share it with you lovely people. 🙂


      • What do you believe this book is trying to teach it’s children readers about life and the way things are?


  3. Wow! My boys would love that book. I just ordered it for them. If anyone else is interested it is in the bargain bin on Amazon ($7).


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  5. I like this one a lot. It was a Cybils finalist one year when I was a Judge. I’m a sucker for scrapbook-y formats with all kinds of interesting bits and bobs.


  6. Thanks so much for your review — I love it when poets take subject that one wouldn’t expect to be poetic and make them so. Inspired and inspiring!


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  8. OOOhh monsters and gruesome stuff – I know some 6th. graders who would adore being monsterologists themselves! And Bobbi Katz – I just love her website, and that exuberant spirit she brings to all things poetic. Thanks for sharing these, Myra!


  9. Kids just love books like this — and obviously, so do lots of grown up kids!


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