Cover image for The gargoyle on the roof : poems
The gargoyle on the roof : poems
Prelutsky, Jack.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
39 pages : color illustrations ; 32 cm
Presents poems about gargoyles, vampires, the bogeyman, gremlins, and other monsters.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.7 0.5 109982.

Reading Counts RC K-2 5.1 2 Quiz: 20017 Guided reading level: P.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3566.R36 G37 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3566.R36 G37 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3566.R36 G37 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Oversize

On Order



Young fans have been growling for more from the remarkably talented duo of Jack Prelutsky and Peter Sis. Now their demands have been met. Enjoy 17 new poems, complemented by ingeniously eerie paintings. Color illustrations throughout.

Author Notes

Jack Prelutsky, born on September 8, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, is primarily known as a poet for children but he is also a gifted musician, actor, photographer, sculptor and potter. Prelutsky studied at Hunter College for two years. He proposed to his future wife, Carolynn, on the day they met; she accepted the next day.

While growing up in Brooklyn, Prelutsky studied voice at The High School of Music and Art in New York and first planned to be an opera singer. However, he decided he did not have the drive to sing opera, and he became a folk singer. Later he tried his hand at drawing. For fun, he wrote some short poems and made some drawings, which became his first publication. He has since published numerous books of illustrated poetry and also provided illustrations for books by other writers, including many in translation.

Prelutsky never condescends to his young readers. He deals in verse with many imaginative creatures, but he also writes about people and problems such bullies, school, and fear of the dark. He is aware of the sound of his words and likes to perform his poetry to the accompaniment of the guitar. He visits schools and libraries to perform his work.

Jack Prelutsky is the recipient of numerous awards. In 1977 The Children's Book Council honored him for Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep. His other award-winners are The Mean Old Mean Hyena, The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight, and The New Kid on the Block. In 2006, the Poetry Foundation named Prelutsky the inaugural winner of the Children's Poet Laureate award. His book Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant and Other Poems (illustrated by Carin Berger) won the 2007 Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award of the Washington State Book Awards in the Picture Book category.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-6. In this picture book for older readers, a follow-up to their acclaimed collaboration The Dragons Are Singing Tonight (1993), Prelutsky and Sis take on the realm of the spooky, with poems about werewolves, vampires, trolls, gremlins, and other nightmarish creatures. Prelutsky achieves a masterful range in tone here. He evokes the traditional attributes of the monsters but gives children insight into what it would be like to be a monster. Sometimes the result is comical, as when he considers the difficulties a vampire might have in grooming: "When I look into the mirror / My reflection's never there. / So I always stare at nothing / As I shave and comb my hair." Sometimes it's touching, as in the book's most striking poem, "A Werewolf of Distinction," in which a werewolf mourns the physical changes brought on by age: "In my heart I'm still ferocious, / But my strength is growing weak. . . ." The tone is still comical--but with a deliciously sympathetic twist. Prelutsky does not neglect the fearsome side of monsters, issuing dire poetic warnings about griffins, trolls, and gargoyles. Sis' cross-hatched oil-and-gouache paintings extend the poems, working especially well to catch the sinister and frightening mood. Sometimes they add an ironic fillip to a funny poem--for instance, when Prelutsky writes amusingly about the preparations that a werewolf barber must make, Sis' painting will send shivers up the spine with the array of tools and armor. This beautifully executed blend of the macabre and the silly should be popular in most libraries. --Susan Dove Lempke

Publisher's Weekly Review

Prelutsky and S¡s (The Dragons Are Singing Tonight; Monday's Troll) are at it again, concocting another spine-tingling brew of humorous verse and witty illustrations toasting gruesome ghouls. Celebrating gremlins, griffins and basilisks as well as more garden-variety monsters, Prelutsky's poems are filled with nimble word-play and shameless puns (quips a formerly lonely troll newly equipped with a telephone, "Feel free to call me, night or day/ .../ I've got a troll-free number"). Whether reciting the laments of an aging werewolf or observing a vampire's daily grooming habits ("When I look into the mirror,/ My reflection's never there./ So I always stare at nothing/ As I shave and comb my hair"), his rhymes never fail to amuse. S¡s's ethereal oil and gouache illustrations, with their elegantly designed borders and finely cross-hatched detail, play up the inherent humor while bringing a touch of sophistication to the silliness, and he ties the pages together visually with an antique-like ochre frame around each scene. This is another winner from a pair of seasoned collaborators, and fans can only hope they keep them coming. Ages 6-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-With a characteristic blend of humor and surprise, Prelutsky has created appealing poems about just about every frightening creature kids could imagine, from trolls and vampires to gargoyles and bugaboos. Plus, he has thrown in a few unfamiliar beasts for good measure, such as the basilisk: "My breath so sharp, my stare so hot/Petrified them on the spot./Here those hapless knights remain,/Slowly rusting in the rain." Several poems about the daunting gargoyle create a simple thread throughout the book. Although the vocabulary is challenging at times, the poems are accessible to a wide range of readers, given their predictable rhymes, frequent humor, strong context clues, and complementary illustrations. Sis's full-color oil-and-gouache paintings are imaginative and provide just the right amount of scary details to create tension for each frightening subject. Children will enjoy the artist's signature style of odd perspectives, primitive body shapes, and funny details. Borders provide an additional space in which the subjects can be explored. This title is sure to be received with as much enthusiasm as this team's highly acclaimed The Dragons Are Singing Tonight (1993) and Monday's Troll (1996, both Greenwillow).-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.