I remember the first moment I realized I could read. I’m not sure how old I was at the time. I can’t remember what I read or whether or not it was even complete sentences. I just remember that feeling of thrilling power and expectation. I can READ! (I do remember that the words picnic and fantastic made early impressions!)
My dad made sure to diversify the rotation of things he read aloud to us. In the mornings, he read the headlines from the front page of the state newspaper and we each picked one for him to read to us. He made sure we had plenty of Eyewitness books to stoke our interests in natural science and history. (Perhaps because of this, I was the kid in the 6th grade insisting to my very Christian teacher that humans did indeed evolve from apes.) In the evenings, we read classics (Narnia, Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit) and poetry.
This was one of my all time favorite poems. I must have made him read it to me a million times.
The Ghoul by Jack Prelutsky
The gruesome ghoul, the grisly ghoul,
without the slightest noise
waits patiently beside the school
to feast on girls and boys
He lunges fiercely though the air
as they com out to play,
and grabs a couple my the hair
and drags them far away.
He cracks their bones and snap their backs
and squeezes out their lungs,
he chew their thumbs like candy snacks
and pulls apart their tongues.
He slices their stomachs and bite their hearts
and tears their flash to shreds,
he swallows their toes like toasted tarts
and gobbles down their heads
Fingers, elbow, hands and knees
and arms and legs and feet-
he eats them with delight and ease,
for every part’s a treat.
And when the gruesome grisly ghoul
has nothing left to chew,
he hurries to another school
and waits… perhaps for you.