One-Minute Book Reviews

October 24, 2008

John Ciardi’s Halloween Limerick for Children – A Good Poem About a Haunted House

Filed under: Children's Books — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 5:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The shortest good Halloween poem I’ve found is John Ciardi’s limerick, “The Halloween House,” an amusing send-up of children’s tendency to pretend they’re not afraid of haunted houses. It begins:
I’m told there’s a Green Thing in there.
And the sign on the gate says BEWARE!

For copyright reasons, I can’t quote all five lines of the poem. But you can find “The Halloween House” in Ciardi’s The Hopeful Trout and Other Limericks (Houghton Mifflin, 1992), illustrated by Susan Meddaugh, which is out of print but on the shelves of many libraries. You can also find “The Halloween House” in Scared Silly! A Halloween Book for the Brave: An Arthur Adventure (Little, Brown, 64 pp., $7.95, paperback), illustrated by Marc Brown, which is in print and available through online and other booksellers. The Hopeful Trout is used in grades 2 and up in schools. Scared Silly! has gentle not-so-scary poems, jokes and more for preschoolers, written by a variety of authors.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. John Ciardi’s translation of Dante is my favorite (better than Dorothy Sayers)…I’ll have to check out his poems

    Comment by this buddy of mine — October 24, 2008 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for the comment on Dante. Sometimes when I decide to read a classic written in a foreign language, I spend weeks thinking about which translation to read. So it’s helpful to have comments like yours (especially given that Sayers is better known to many than Ciardi, so they might reach for her first).

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 24, 2008 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  3. The cover title is a bad font. I glanced at it and it looked like “Seared Silly.” What is this about, ahi tuna appetizers?

    Comment by Amelia — October 27, 2008 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  4. And things like that can matter much more on picture books than on those for adults, because many children of the age for “Scared Silly” don’t know all the letters yet.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 27, 2008 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  5. Hi Janice,

    Thanks for your great recommendations. I am writing poetry for kids on my Halloween blog. I was just looking for a book with good limericks. I like the illustrations as well.:-)

    Have a great day,

    Comment by poetry4kids — October 12, 2009 @ 9:49 am | Reply

    • My pleasure, Milou. I did The Hopeful Trout in part because this is a book that every library either should have or be able to get for you easily through an inter-library loan. Happy Halloween :).

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 12, 2009 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: