Stephanie Greene has done it again. In Monster Stew, through the actions of her charming protagonist, Posey, the precarious space between excitement and fear is dramatized – a space that is very real to every tender child during the Halloween season.
In the spirit of this scary season, beloved Miss Lee, the first grade teacher, has announced to the class that she will be making monster stew for the class Halloween party. While Posey adores Miss Lee, the notion of nibbling on stew made of monster’s eyeballs and lizard’s livers is frightening to the worrisome girl. Posey’s emotional struggle to find a safe place somewhere between the gore and the glee of the season is summed up in the line, “Posey knew monster stew was make-believe. But sometimes make-believe felt as real as real (60).”
Like so many young girls her age, Posey’s emotional state is an endearing mix of feeling pensive, giddy, and gallant all at once. She’s a perpetual observer working to make sense of the world around her. A Teacher’s Activity Guide has been created to further investigate the emotional tone in Monster Stew. Wedged between a spider web capturing activity and creating ghostly lollipops, there are two lessons designed to explore the emotions of the book’s characters as well as those of the child reader, one being a form poetry lesson and the other a Venn diagram layout. With this guide in one hand, Monster Stew in the other, you and your children are sure to have a Happy Halloween! Boo!