CM . . . .
Volume I Number VI . . . . July 21, 1995
Why Were All the Werewolves Men?
Richard Stevenson. Illustrated by Gail Mikla
Saskatoon: Thistledown, 1994.
99pp, paper, $9.95
Grade 3 - 8 / Ages 8 - 13.
Review by Harriet Zaidman
Yo! My man, homo s.
Come bend me an ear.
I gots me a song, babe,
you gotta hear.
Ain't gonna diss you,
Mister bipedal man.
Doan wanna kiss you
Nor bash you wid de pan.
Monsters have always captured the imagination of children. Vampires,
werewoves, the Loch Ness Monster, and others are back in the limelight,
partly due to recent movies, and partly due to the curiosity of the latest
generation of kids. Death-bed revelations that Nessie was the creation of a
gang of college pranksters haven't dampened people's imaginations, and the
hunt continues for the "truth" behind the legends.
Richard Stevenson has fashioned rhyming poems using contemporary
forms for children and adolescents in this appealing book, Why Were
All the Werewolves Men? Stevenson writes about the "major
monsters" as well as lesser known myths, such as the Cadborosaurus, Baal,
the Mkodos of Madagascar, the Hodag, and others. The poems are bouncy,
humorous and use words in a fun way that kids love, as in the excerpt above
Wherever the Whirling Whoompus moans
You'll see a trail of scattered bones
and measure death in megaohms.
The "Not Yeti Blues" is set to the turn of "Heartbreak Hotel" and
"Aliens" is set in diamante form. Stevenson's characterizations and the
illustrations are made to appeal to the 90s type of kid, and while a few of
the rhymes are a little awkward (hey, it's a difficult subject) the poems
flow with a little practice. They will evoke a positive response from
children and young adolescents.
This book can be used to augment a poetry collection, but its best
use would be a part of a whole language unit on monsters or the
supernatural, or as part of a poetry unit. The humour and rhyme in these
poems can provide older children and YAs the incentive to let their own
imaginations go, and write their own poetry.
Stevenson includes an appendix which explains the history behind
each of the monsters he writes about, and reveals the truth about the
gender of werewolves. The appendix is written in a friendly style, adding
to the book's appeal.
Harriet Zaidman is a Winnipeg teacher/librarian.
To comment on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association.
Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice
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The Manitoba Library Association
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - JULY 21, 1995.
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