Rummanah Aasi
   One more day left until Halloween! What better way to excite the little ones about the holiday than to read them Halloween themed picture books? I've got several picture books ready to review. This is my second installment of Halloween picture book themes. Be sure to check out part 1 and stay tuned for part 3 tomorrow! Today I'll be reviewing Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann, Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi, The Halloween Kid by Rhode Montijo, and Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy Shaw.

Description: Although devastated when his pet dog dies, a young boy goes trick-or-treating and receives a timely visit from an old friend during a scary encounter with graveyard skeletons.

Review: Bone Dog is a bittersweet read about friendship, loss, and slightly spooky Halloween story with a humorous twist. The book begins on a sad note when Gus's dog, Ella, tells her owner that she is getting old and may not last long, but she will always be with him because promises under a full moon can't be broken. Days pass and we realize that Ella is no longer. Gus doesn't feel like participating Halloween this year but he begrudgingly dresses as a skeleton for trick-or-treating. A shortcut through the graveyard results in being surrounded by nefarious, real-life skeletons until ghost Ella comes to the rescue, howling so as to summon a legion of living dogs to chase down the skeletons. I really enjoyed this book that has many layers built around the Halloween theme. Most of the important action takes place off the page, but the illustrations, tones, and colors effectively alerts the reader of what is going on. Thick-lined illustrations filled with autumn colors give this a true Halloween feel, but I loved the three wordless two-page spreads in which the skeletons run, the dogs give chase, and a single mutt struts back, bone in mouth, which gives the book a little lightness in the story. Several moments border on frightening so be sure to peruse the book to see if it's safe for your little ones. Some may call the book morbid, but Bone Dog is a tender story of love and friendship that transcends all bounds.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Sammy in the Sky by Barbara Walsh, A Dog Like Jack by DyAnne DiSalvo

Description: Bella Legrossi and Boris Kleanitoff, the messiest and cleanest monsters in Booville respectively, do nothing but argue until the night of Harry Beastie's Halloween party.

Review: With Boris and Bella, I think I may have found a Halloween favorite read! Bella Lagrossi is the dirtiest and messiest monster in Booville. Her neighbor, Boris Kleanitoff, is the complete opposite, a complete neat freak with nothing out of place. Naturally, Boris and Bella are not the best of neighbors. To celebrate Halloween, each decides to have a Halloween party, but no one will come. They find a common enemy, Henry Beastie, who's throwing a party of his own. All their mutual monsters are going there; no one wants to go to a party at a house so dirty--or so clean. An infuriated Bella and Boris head off individually to give Harry a piece of their minds, but they wind up together, on the dance floor, and then holding hands in the moonlight. While Halloween is clearly the back drop of this story, there is more of a story here as Boris and Bella learn there are good parts of their personalities and learn to compromise. The story is fun and the illustrations are along the lines of the Addams Family (I had the theme song of that show running through my head while reading the book). There is also some really nice word-plays through the narrative. I think this is one of the few books that could be read and enjoyed on any day.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 1 and up.

If you like this book try: Monster Mess by Margery Cuyler, Cinderhazel by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

Description: The brave and trusty Halloween Kid saves trick-or-treaters from a crowd of sweet-stealing Goodie Goblins.

Review: The Halloween Kid is a weird yet entertaining mash up between the classic Western and the spooky night of Halloween. When tricks interfere with treats on a suburban street, it's up to the Halloween Kid to save the night. With his trusty stick horse, mysterious Lone Ranger mask, and contagious catchphrase, Yee-Ha-lloween! he is able to foil all the monsters such as the TP-crazy mummies, pumpkin-sucking vampires, and tropical werewolves, but when Goodie Goblins who steals all the candies from the children The Halloween Kid has a real challenge. It's the Kid himself who needs saving, and the neighborhood teams up to do just that, proving that even heroes can use some help now and then. The orange, yellow, and black digitally-enhanced art sets the 1950s-flavored scene, and the cowboy lingo adds even more fun when reading this one aloud. I kind of wished it comes with an audio cd as I don't have the western style of talking down pat.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades K-2.

If you like this book try: Halloween Mice! by Bethany Roberts, Spooky Hour by Timothy Mitton

Description: When sheep dress up to go trick-or-treating at a nearby farm, their costumes scare away some wolves lurking in the woods.

Review: I have to say this book was my least favorite in the bunch that I reviewed today. The illustrations are okay, a bit shadowy and not that large to share in a big reading group. The text is a bit blah with some forced rhymes and it doesn't really match up to the pictures. It's hard to get excited about this story because it isn't very interesting and it doesn't really stand out with all the other Halloween books out there.

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades K-2.

If you like this book try: Here They Come by David Costello, Shake D'em Halloween Bones by W. Nikola-Lisa
3 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I'm definitely adding Boris and Bella to the list of books for Jules and Olivia! Love the sound of that one and Bone Dog, I'm partial to any story that features animals, dead or otherwise:)

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Hi!I LOVELOVE Boris and Bella! I wish I had that book as a kid.
    Thanks for stopping by my TTT :)

  3. Oh my gosh...even the sound of Bone Dog makes me teary. I am dreading the day when my baby boy dog dies (he's only 6 now).

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