There are still great Halloween books being written!
This will be my fifth annual review of Halloween Books and, because there usually are only one or two new books each year worth mentioning, I just update my original review from 2008. This year, however, I have so many books that I am creating a brand-new review!
For past titles worth reading and buying, click here for reviews of these fantastic books and more!
Now! For some great new books!
The Best Halloween of All pairs Susan Wojciechowski with the illustrator of two of my (and my son's) favorite Halloween books, Susan Meddaugh (creator of the Martha Speaks! series). With The Best Halloween of All, Wojciechowski zeroes in on one of the crucical and sometimes frustrating aspects of Halloween for parents and kids alike - the costume. Narrator Ben takes us through the first six Halloweens of his life. As the child of enthusiastic and creative parents, and as the little brother, Ben has been roped into some pretty unpleasant costumes over the years. When he was two he was the rabbit to his brother's magician, although he refused to jump out of the giant had his dad made for him. When he was three his mom decided they would go as an angel and a devil and Michael got to have his choice of costumes. Ben was the angel with "a coat hanger halo and dumb cardboard wings," poked all through the neighborhood Halloween night by his brother's pitchfork. You get the idea. Finally, on his seventh Halloween, Ben decides to take matters into his own hands just as his dad, hammer in hand, is sizing him up against what looks like a slab of stone... The book ends, "This Halloween I was an intergalactic-space-starship robotron armed with a laster-pulverizer-beam-rod. I made the costume out of a grocery bag and some paper towel rolls. It was the best Halloween of all!" As a parent who has spent hours and weeks on elaborate costumes, I can totally relate to this. As a parent who has sent her gleeful kids out on Halloween night in a sheet with two holes cut in it, I can also totally relate to this wonderful book. Meddaugh's illustrations (which have always reminded me of a kid-friendly version of the cartoonist Roz Chast, illustrator of a handful of picture books) are wonderfully detailed and humorous in ways that kids will love. Don't miss these other superb Halloween books (amazingly, all THREE of these books are in PAPERBACK!!!) In the Haunted House, written by Eve Bunting and The Witches' Supermarket, written and illustrated by Susan Meddaugh.
Just Say Boo! By Susan Hood is illustrated by one of my favorite new artists, Jed Henry, author and illustrator of I Speak Dinosaur! Halloween seems to invite rhymes, and Hood's musical tercets follow a family of three older siblings and Dad as they venture out into the night while Mom and the baby stay home to pass out candy. The book begins, "If the ghosts in the trees wibble-wobble your knees, what do you say?" A page turn and a satisfying, "BOO!" Kids will love the anticipation of the story and the chance to shout, "Boo!" every other page. Henry's fall colored palette, joyful, boisterous illustrations of children and not-too-spooky scenes will delight the youngest listeners. I don't have any interior art to share with you, but I do have a piece by Jed that he did for fun. I hope a fairy book is next on his plate!
Trick or Treat by Leo Landry is a sweet little story that really stands out. The book begins, "The last day of October had finally arrived. The empty house at the end of the street mysteriously came to life. In the attic, a ghost named Oliver awakened. He grabbed a sack from the foot of his bed, floated down the stairs and glided out the front door into the woods."Oliver's purple sack is filled with invitations to his annual Halloween party and he passes them out to all his friends. However, as he is flying home, one last envelope slips out of his bag and lands at the feet of two little boys. When the boys show up at the party, thinking the spooky haunts are just people in costumes, the shout "Trick-or-Treat" and, after a brief confab, the ghost host decides to invite them in! After the party, the little cow and the jack-o-lantern tell Oliver that this was the best Halloween party ever! The next day, Oliver finds an invitation to the birthday party of Jack (o'lantern) on his doorstep.
Jeff Mack, author of Good News Bad News, has illustrated this sweet little Halloween board book written by Kathryn O. Galbraith, Boo, Bunny! Bunnies and bears are the staple of picture books and there's a reason why. Boo, Bunny! follows two little bunnies on Halloween night. One is dressed as a bumble bee bunny and the other is a masked, caped super hero. As the hop through the woods on their way to their first trick-or-treat house, spookiness is all around. Galbraith's text is sparse and gently suspenseful, paired perfectly with Mack's shivering bunnies. When they do manage to knock on the door, they are treated with a beautiful bowl of carrots and candy. Happily, they hop off into the dark night, a full moon lighting the way and revealing costumed forest friends having a laugh. The tone and the pace of Boo, Bunny! is just right for little ones getting to know this kooky holiday.
Source: Review Copies