Reviewing Some Children’s Books by V. R. Duin – Part 3

smile!An author friend has a series of books about a goofy and wacky character, the Goopy Ghost. Goopy is not a scary ghost. In fact, he’s not a typical ghost at all. His birth home was a pumpkin. Goopy has a big ole heart and loves helping out. Check out this lovable guy!

1. The Goopy Ghost of Halloween by V.R. Duin

Goopy Ghost at Halloween

What is a consequence? Well, unfortunately many of us think it’s a punishment or something that happens as a result of wrong done. But that’s not necessarily true all the time. Consequences are simply the results of an action taken. Sometimes there are good consequences, and sometimes there are bad consequences. But there are also natural/neutral consequences. Children need to know that ALL actions have consequences and that it is natural. Thinking about consequences teaches us to think ahead.

In this story, the Goopy Ghost is himself a natural consequence. The children are preparing their pumpkin to be a Jack O’Lantern. The design is drawn on the orange globe. The top is carved, and out comes the goop. Hmmmm…where should they put it? Out it goes into a stinky, smelly garbage can. The Goopy Ghost is born!

A little bit later the goopy ghost is aware he has to find his home, but where? Creeping around inside the children’s house, he finally finds his home–but changed. It glows! In search of another home, Goopy starts to wreak havoc. What did the children find the next morning?

I love these fun, light-hearted stories of our friend the Goopy Ghost. He’s not the scariest, nor the spookiest of ghosts, but he is certainly one of the silliest. The consequences of reading his stories? Most likely, more smiles!

2. The Goopy Ghost at St. Patrick’s Day by V. R. Duin

Goopy Ghost of St. Patricks Day

Limericks are a poetry form that seems to be designed for fun and children. Children love to be read to and they especially love repetition and rhythm in literature. Limericks are easy to learn and to teach. In this book, there are several stanzas in limerick form that can serve as perfect templates. The basic rule of thumb is that the easier the words fall off the tongue, the closer you are to the correct form and rhythm set in the templates. Why not try celebrating St. Patrick’s Day playing around with words in meter and rhyme after reading this book to your children/grandchildren?

There’s a lot to love about the Goopy Ghost series. The author has chosen well in her choice of artists for these books. The pictures are in bright cheerful water color paints. Children who are visual learners will find their eyes drawn to the pages repeatedly. The simple scenes depict believable adorable characters and Goopy especially as the least scariest ghost you’ve ever known. Kudos to artist Bonnie
Lemaire.

Goopy Ghost is kind-hearted, fun-loving and generous. In his stories, he often places other peoples’ needs before his own, and he is creative in his problem solving skills. In this story, Goopy seeks out a leprechaun to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. He is looking for fun, but finds a problem to solve instead. His plan to resolve the dilemma has lasting positive consequences even as he selflessly gives up a reward to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. Fun finds him in the end. Children need these type of character traits emulated continually. They need to be shown the rewards in being kind, generous and selfless. With so much negative surrounding them, they need all the positive role models you can give them.

3. The Goopy Ghost at Thanksgiving by V.R. Duin

Goopy Ghost of Thanksgiving

“Thanks is not bound in any way.
It isn’t tied to a certain day.
It isn’t tied to just one place.
Thanks has its very own grace.”

Just as Ma and Pa Brown prepare for their Thanksgiving celebration by picking out a couple of pumpkins for their pies, it begins to rain. Goopy is outside and getting wet when Pa Brown invites him inside their home to dry. The rain turns from sprinkles
to torrential rain and now the Browns are worried about their animals. Grateful Goopy helps bring the animals in to safety. All is going well when suddenly the house is lifted up and carried off in a flood.

When matters are finally righted, including a new spot for their home high up a hill where the flood waters won’t intrude, they celebrate. I can just imagine how much gratitude they felt after the flood was over. This book gives us an opportunity to remind our children that bad things happen to good people. Even when children are very young, they can be taught what to do in emergencies, how to look for the
good in every circumstance, and how to develop an attitude of gratitude and helpfulness. This is a good book to start a discussion with your children.

4. The Goopy Ghost at Christmas by V. R. Duin

https://www.youtube.com/embed/tRSrMfAnHdw

Goopy at Christmas

The goopy ghost is born of pie,
A luscious way to start!
Good humored and so full of fun,
He demonstrates his heart.

Our friend the ghost is so surprised,
To find a tree inside;
He thinks the baubles on its limbs,
are “Food for me!” he sighed.

Content is he and explores some more;
And decorates a hall,
With candy canes, and ribbons bright,
And here and there a ball.

When Santa arrives, he hitches a ride
Deep within Santa’s pack.
He awakes up North and meets some elves,
To help–if he has the knack.

But making toys is not his niche,
So he decorates instead.
He brightens the halls with toys ‘n dolls,
And all things green and red.

When our goopy friend returns to his home,
A year’s time has passed;
“As happy as a lark” to help some more,
Putting cheer in our hearts to last.

I know of children who will love this book,
And read it again and again;
They will love the colors and the cheerful tone,
And the message to help a friend.

My hat is off to V. R. Duin,
For such a gleeful read;
Let’s look for ways to teach our kids,
to do a kindly deed.

5. The Goopy Ghost at Valentine’s Day by V. R. Duin

Goopy at Valentine's Day

“That friends and family
Matter the most
Is equally true
For a little ghost.”

The crux of this story about Goopy Ghost can be summed up neatly in the above couplet. Friendship and family. One thing about most holidays is their ability to either amplify our abundance of relationships with family and friends, or point out our lack of them. For those who do not have many family and/or friends, holidays can be supremely lonely. This is the case with the Goopy Ghost. Valentine’s Day was nearing and Goopy had no one with whom to share it.

As a former teacher and homeschool mom, I realize that friendship is something we need to teach our children about as early as possible. We are their nurturers and friendship does not come easily to everyone. This book could serve as a great launch in a discussion about loneliness, how to get friends and be a friend, and how friendship comes with its ups and downs. Goopy does not sit around feeling sorry for himself; he turns to people he knows and asks for help. With his helper, he goes and and does something positive. He makes a friend.

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