Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep, 1976
Illustration: Arnold Lobel
What’s interesting about Jack Prelutsky is the fact that he writes children’s poetry; and yet this poetry collection can perfectly make a grown man squirm. Inside are 12 poems about vampires, witches, ghouls, haunted houses, and everything else that will shit your pants.
Illustrations from the book are by Arnold Lobel (also a children’s book author).
This macabre, anti-bedtime poem collection is the perfect literary piece for those who are tired of “communist books”.
My particular favorite is The Ghoul. Below are a few of what’s inside and an excerpt.
The gruesome ghoul, the grisly ghoul,
without the slightest noise
waits patiently beside the school
to feast on girls and boys.
He lunges fiercely through the air
as they come out to play,
then grabs a couple by the hair
and drags them far away.
He cracks their bones and snaps their backs
and squeezes out their lungs,
he chews their thumbs like candy snacks
and pulls apart their tongues.
He slices their stomachs and bites their hearts
and tears their flesh to shreds,
he swallows their toes like toasted tarts
and gobbles down their heads.
Fingers, elbows, 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.