Rummanah Aasi
  Happy Halloween Everyone! I've been reading a few Halloween themed picture books to get into the spirit.   Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 for books you may want to read next year with your little ones! Today I'll be reviewing Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting, The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin by Margaret Wise Brown, Zen Ghosts by Jon J. Muth, and Night Fright Flight by Laura Kraus Melmed.

Description: A band of trick-or-treaters and a mother cat and her kittens spend a very scary Halloween.

Review: This book is a treat! A suspenseful mystery with enough creepy moments to keep the young kids interested. Two sets of stark green eyes begin Bunting's teasingly scary poem describing a parade of creatures that moves down the path on Halloween night. More mysterious sets of green eyes appear nervously and we get to hear more voices as they view the creepy pedestrians. It turns out the anxious watchers appear to belong to a mother cat and her kittens, who, when the monsters trick-or-treaters in costume are gone, prowl the night for their own brand of fun. Deep, dark nighttime backdrops make the bursts of color in costumes, jack-o'-lanterns, and candle-lit faces especially vibrant. The scenes play out across double spreads that adeptly lead the eye from left to right. This book would make a great read-aloud on Halloween.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades K to Grade 2

If you like this book try: Bone Soup by Cambria Evans (best suited for Grades 1-2), The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, The Three Bears' Halloween by Kathy Duval

Description: A little pumpkin dreams of the day when he will be a big, fierce, yellow pumpkin who frightens away the field mice as the scarecrow does.

Review: This book is better suited for younger children who are just beginning to grasp the basic concepts of Halloween. Seasonal changes are discussed as well as baby steps to suspenseful moments are well plotted throughout the story as the simple pumpkin transforms in a spooky one. Older readers, however, will find this book a bit boring and would want their stories with larger doses of fright.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades Preschool to Grades 1.

If you like this book try: The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll, Pumpkin Heads! by Wendell Minor

Description: On Halloween night, Stillwater the giant panda tells Karl, Addy, and Michael a spooky and unusual story. Based on a Zen koan.

Review: I've not heard of the Zen picture book series by this author so I had no idea what to expect in reading this book. While I did get the anticipated ghost story which was unique, I was left scratching my head. I later realized that there is an author's note explaining a Zen koan. A koan is a spiritual riddle. While I would not choose this one as a read-aloud because the ghost story doesn't have much oomph and action to keep readers entertained, I do think this would be a good choice in reading about ghost stories from Eastern culture as well as learning about Zen Buddhism and philosophy. Though filled with gorgeous colors and illustrations, this book may be a bit too cerebral for younger children and would be better appreciated by older readers.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 6 and  up.

If you like this book try: The Three Questions by Jon Muth, Zen Ties by Jon Muth, and Zen Shorts by Jon Muth

Description: On her way to Halloween trick-or-treating, a witch makes room on her broom for a group of fiendish friends.

Review: If you are looking for scary but not too scary for 3-4 year olds, Fright Night Flight is a good choice. The rhyming text is really fun. The full-spread illustrations are rich with color and amusing detail, which will draw their attention while they listen to the story. You could ask them questions about who the witch will pick up next. The classic scary characters such as the vampire and werewolf are drawn in a nonthreatening cartoon style that will not scare young children.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Preschool to Grade 1.

If you like this book try: Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler and In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting
1 Response
  1. Jenny Says:

    Someone on Twitter just recommended Scary, Scary Halloween to me as well and said I couldn't not add it to the girls' library. Clearly you agree Rummanah! Thanks for all these fun recommendations:)

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