Why would a zombie just walk, when she could lurch? Or clomp? Or even trudge? Monsters Can Mosey–Understanding Shades of Meaning, story by Gillia M. Olson, illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic, is an excellent read aloud choice for upper elementary students to demonstrate how vocabulary choices can make writing more exciting and vivid.
It presents 18 different words with similar but different meanings, as zombie child, Frankie, is encouraged by her zombie mother to select a signature way of walking.
The illustrations are cartoonishly ghoulish, and will captivate a younger audience without frightening them. Characters have a gray-green pallor, unkempt hair, torn clothing, and have a few stitches holding them together, yet their wide-eyed faces give them a cute, silly appearance.
What did we do after we read the book? Picture a library full of 3rd graders, performing their best zombie walks with arms outstretched, and vacant expressions. These were the instructions, as we took 5 slow steps in each style.
- Lurch: an awkward staggering walk
- Trudge: walk like it is really hard work
- Lumber: walk clumsily and heavily
- Clomp: walk heavily and noisily
- Stomp: walk heavily, noisily and usually angrily
- Mosey: walk in an unhurried or aimless manner
- Stride: walk with large steps usually with purpose
You can guess how they walked out of the library, after their teacher lined them up. All monsters need a good walk.