10 questions about A Halloween Scare

1. On page 4 (the page with the werewolves & house) I use the word “kid”. Why didn’t I use the word “boy” or “girl” instead?

2. On page 4 I could also have used the word “child”, but the publisher decided against it. Why? Hint: think about the popularity of Halloween around the world, and who this book is aimed at.

3. The American books tell of monsters carrying “bags full of cookies and candy corn treats” while the UK books  tell of monsters carrying “bags full of lollipops, chocolates and sweets”. This is because in the UK we don’t have candy corn, and cookies are usually referred to as biscuits.

Look at the following verse, which is also from the American books. Can you identify TWO words that wouldn’t make sense to use  in the UK versions?

Emerging from sewers and houses and stores
Came creatures and critters with ravenous roars.
And more came along from all over the State.
They filled up the streets at a dizzying rate!

4. There are currently 29 different versions of “A Halloween Scare”. Each one tries to mention things specific to the place in which it is set (e.g. Ohio mentions Buckeyes; Kentucky mentions fried chicken; New England mentions MIT & Boston Cream Pies). Are there things about the place in which you live that you would have mentioned if you had written the book? How could you make them funny or scary?

Examples: In “A Halloween Scare in New England” I made MIT stand for “Monsters In Training”. In the book for New Jersey a bunch of man-eating flowers take over the entire state (this is because New Jersey is known as “The Garden State”) .

5.  Originally the opening verse contained the following rhyming couplet:

The eeriest story there ever has been.
You ready? You sure? This was MY halloween ….

In the UK this rhymes because we pronounce “been” to rhyme with “seen”, but in the US “been” is pronounced “bin”. Can you think of any other words that are pronounced differently between the two countries?

6. How many local references can you find in the text of the rhyme?  How many local references can you find in the illustrations?

7.  Originally the vampires in the book “scared little children by baring their fangs”.
a. Why do you think the publisher wanted me to change that line?
b. What does “baring” mean?
c. What was clever about the way the illustrator interpreted the phrase “hung out”?

8. Half way through the book we are told that “Frankenstein stomps about town with his bride”. Why would Frankenstein have a bride?

9. The main monster runs over and gives the child a “BIG MONSTER CUDDLE”. Why do you think I chose that phrase?

10. The monster uses words like “tip-top” (US), “old-hat” (UK) and “ensemble”. Do those words influence your opinion of the monster? If so, how?

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