Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marilyn Singer and Monster Museum

Halloween may have passed us by, but for some folks monsters just never get old. Monster Museum, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Gris Grimly, is a book of poems that shows what happens when a group of children follow a docent (an undead one at that!) through a monster museum. Are Frankenstein, Dracula, Bigfoot, Medusa and others wax replicas? Or are they something else? Grimly's illustrations are terrific and reward those who take the time to study them.

Here's what Marilyn had to say about this book.
I dislike horror movies, but I do like monsters. Let's face it--monsters are fun! I'd written a few poems about them that I thought were pretty good and I liked the idea of a book about them, but what kind of a book? There were certainly other books of monster poems out there. I was mentioning this dilemma to a writer friend, and he suggested I set it in a museum. Zowie! That did it, and MONSTER MUSEUM was born! The monsters would be the exhibits (sometimes they'd be talking ab out themselves--I requested that the amazing illustrator, Gris Grimly, feature "Press Me" buttons) and there'd be a guide, who described the rest of the exhibits.

I remember going through several books and online guides to famous monsters. Those helped me with the poems and the "Glos-Scary" at the back of the book. I needed to know the "essence" of these monsters to write the poems, which also gave me a chance to play a lot with language, to be witty, and to write a few limericks.

The book was well-received, so I got to write a companion, CREATURE CARNIVAL, in which the attractions at a carnival are beings from myths, fairy tales, movies, etc. For that one, I visited several county and country fairs to get ideas for the attractions. A delightful way to spend a late summer day!
My son requested I share his favorite poem from the book, so here it is.

You want to be a millionaire?
Have gold and jewels beyond compare?
I'll give you wealth
(can't promise health)
if you will dare
to do my hair.

Lately I have such a whim
to get a perm--or just a trim.
An antique Greek
can still look chic.
A bit more prim--
but far less grim.

My ends will never split or break.
My scalp won't shed a single flake.
There's just one condition--
to be my beautician,
have you got what it takes
to put curlers on snakes?
Marilyn's follow-up to this title, Creature Carnival, was named an honor book for the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award in 2005. You can hear Marilyn read some of the poems from this book in her wonderful acceptance speech. (You even get to hear her sing!)

For more monster poetry titles check out the thematic list monstrously good poetry.

Poem ©Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. There are a number of poets that, I'm realizing lately, I need to get every single one of their poetry books. Marilyn is one. I have several, but I need to complete my collection. These books sound amazing. How have I missed them before this?