By GLENN TOLLE
While growing up, there was a book that my mom would read to me every Halloween titled GHOSTS AND GOOSEBUMPS: POEMS TO CHILL YOUR BONES featuring poems selected by Bobbi Katz and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1991). Not surprisingly, GHOSTS AND GOOSEBUMPS was the first collection of poetry that I fell in love with; it sparked an interest in poetry, which has led me to write and publish my own poems. What’s more, it was the first children’s book that I can remember frightening me.
The book I’m covering in this addition of FRIGHTS FOR TYKES was published 21 years before GHOSTS AND GOOSEBUMPS. It’s not as scary, but it does contain some charming and slightly chilling poems. The book is titled POETRY OF WITCHES, ELVES AND GOBLINS and contains poems selected by Leland Blair Jacobs and is illustrated by Frank E. Aloise (published by Garrad Pub Co. as part of their READING SHELF BOOK series in 1970).
You may be wondering why I am covering this book, and not the aforementioned GHOSTS AND GOOSEBUMPS. Well, POETRY OF WITCHES, ELVES AND GOBLINS is far more obscure, not to mention that a sizeable portion of the poems found in it can also be found in GHOSTS AND GOOSEBUMPS.
WITCHES, ELVES AND GOBLINS is a far softer collection of children’s verse. Just like the wee folk who have historically been viewed as an ambiguous, and sometimes amoral force, the darker poems are a perfectly balanced mix of sweet and scary. Some of my favourite include BEWARE by Lee Blair, BITTERSWEET by Ivy O. Eastwick and THE GNOME by Harry Behn. All these have an effect on the imagination that’s slightly unsettling but wholly enchanting. POETRY OF WITCHES, ELVES AND GOBLINS is a great book for young readers who want to dip their toes into the always magical, and sometimes malevolent, world of the wee folk and their kin.
POETRY OF WITCHES, ELVES AND GOBLINS can currently be purchased for $9.25 on AMAZON in “Acceptable” condition.