Twilight’s here. The death bell rings. Everyone knows what the death bell brings—it’s time for class! You’re in the place where goblins wail and zombies drool. (That’s because they’re kindergartners.) Welcome to Monster School.
In this entertaining collection of poems, award-winning poet Kate Coombs and debut artist Lee Gatlin bring to vivid life a wide and playful cast of characters (outgoing, shy, friendly, funny, prickly, proud) that may seem surprisingly like the kids you know… even if these kids are technically monsters.
How did this book come to be written?
A lot of books start with the question “What if?’ Each poem in a poetry collection often does, too. In this case, I wondered, “What if there were a school especially for monster children? What would the troubles of ordinary children look like then?” This naturally led to questions like: “What if that little kid who always loses things were a zombie?” “What if ‘multicultural’ meant a background from different monsters and mythical creatures?” “What if a ghost haunted a monster school? Would anybody be scared of her?” “What kind of monster or magical child would the class bully be?” “Just how icky would cafeteria food be at a school for monsters?” As you can imagine, I had a very good time answering these questions!
About the Illustrator
Lee Gatlin is a cartoonist and illustrator who especially likes drawing monsters. He is very good at drawing creatures that are both scary and funny. Lee lives in the US South, which may influence his contemporary gothic approach to illustration. In addition to the characters with their strong personalities, I love the backgrounds he created for the artwork.
“Both creepy and endearing. A wonderful addition to poetry and storybook shelves all year round.”
—School Library Journal
“Middle graders will shiver over this angst-y collection of school verses.”
“A spectacularly spooky and entertaining read that kids will love any time of the year!”
“These just might be the scariest, spookiest students ever—a class where nobody blinks twice about the odd hairy eyeball on the floor or having a teacher who’s a screaming banshee… In her newest children’s book Monster School, poetry wizard Kate Coombs has conjured up 18 fangtastic poems just perfect for some Halloweenish fun. Illustrated by Georgia cartoonist Lee Gatlin (who professes to love drawing monsters most of all), this cauldron of creepiness will cast you under its spell and tickle your skeletal funny bone.”
—Jama’s Alphabet Soup
“Scary-good poetry perfect for school kids: My kids had complained about reading a poetry book for their 40-book challenge, but they fought over this as soon as it arrived. I was afraid they would rip it before I could read it. Fun poems that spoke to them. We loved how it had poems for the shy and unremarkable. It led to good talks about bullies and hard teachers from a fun setting…”
“Monsters and people—we have lots more in common than you think: …Even though (or maybe because) these students are definitely weird, I could relate to them, especially the faun or tree witch (not sure) taking her book outside to read and the gargoyle who is solitary but self-confident. These monsters have all kinds of personalities and many of the same fears and attitudes that humans have. It’s full of gruesome laughs but also great conversation starters.”
“Zany and fun monster rhymes: …Reminiscent of Shel Silverstein, this book will get lots of reading time.”