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Main page » Kids » Edgar, Allan, and Poe, and the Tell-Tale Beets

Edgar, Allan, and Poe, and the Tell-Tale Beets














This clever take-off on Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Tell-Tale Heart" is sure to resonate with picky eaters and grand gourmands alike! It all began with the beets. The revoltingly red beets that drove Edgar, Allan, and Poe to do the horrendously horrible thing that they did. Their mother has one unbreakable rule: “No dessert until you finish your dinner.” But how can Edgar, Allan, and Poe possibly clear their plates when there are Brussels sprouts to be swallowed, liver to be chewed, and worst of all, beets to be bitten? There must be a way to get rid of dinner, without having to gobble up this foul food. Perhaps the loose floorboard under Poe's chair is the answer! But just as the parade of delicious desserts begins, the hidden food starts to grow ... and starts to smell … it’s going to blow ... their cover!
A Teaching Guide (pdf) is included. Reading Level: Grade K-2

“Rompella's humorous spin on Poe's “The Telltale Heart” ... takes aim at kids ages 4-8. Whereas the floorboards in the original tale conceal the cut-up body of a murdered man, the three young boys here use this hiding place for Brussels sprouts, beets and other yucky things so Mom will let them have dessert!” L.A. Times, September 2009

“Children will easily relate to the boys even if they aren't familiar with Poe's story. The suspense leading to the revelation is well done and the atmospheric and detailed illustrations work well to enhance the narrative. The look on the boy's face as he divulges their deed is priceless.” School Library Journal, Nov. 2009

“... fabulous ... All the details of the Tell-Tale Beets are horrifically displayed in lively, grotesque, darkly colorful, imaginative illustrations ... will appeal to children ages 4-7 with just the right combination of whimsey and (light) gloom.” Midwest Book Review, Nov. 2009

“This engaging picture book works on several levels. For the youngest audience, it's an imaginative, suspense-filled and hilarious tale of dinnertime high jinks … For an older audience who may recognize (or be introduced to) its inspiration ... shows guilt and consequences in such a witty way … the alluring language will delight: “The beets slipped into the hole with a splosh … The soup spattered and the squash squished.” The story is rich in repetition, alliteration and onomatopoeia punctuated by the rising rhythm of the offending foods, “the beating of the beets!” This is a picture book for everyone. Highly recommended.” CM: Canadian Review of Materials, September 2009

“... one of those great stories that appeals to kids and adults at the same time. Author and artist deliver graphic descriptions through word and illustration, highlighting the aversion kids have for “yucky food” while winking at literary references ... This modern rendition is clever and funny and makes me smile on so many different levels.”, Oct. 2009

“Rompella has created an amusing variation of a well-known tale … teachers might pair it with the original story or [other] interpretations to talk about parody. Some students may even be inspired to offer their own interpretations of one of Poe's classics.” Center for Children's and Young Adult Books “Book Notes,” Nov. 2009

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Tags: Allan, Edgar, beets, TellTale, Brussels