Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Four for Halloween

 Creepy Carrots by Arron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
I am a person who has always avoided carrots.  Not because I didn't like them, but because they are orange.  I refused to eat orange food as a kid and it just became a habit.  Recently I have started to eat carrots and actually enjoy them.  But not as much as Jasper Rabbit in Creepy Carrots.  Japser loves carrots so much that everything he  passes through Crackenhpper Field he helps himself to carrots - big fat, crisp, free for the taking carrots.  Then one day Jasper began to think the carrots were following (perhaps stalking?) him.   Carrots????  Although this delightful picture book isn't a Halloween story per se, it is creepy and spooky enough to be read for a holiday filled with ghosts, goblins and other sinister creatures.  Added to this mix are some excellent pencil and digitally colored mood-creating black, white, grey illustrations with a touch of orange for the carrots by Peter Brown and you have the perfect not-too-scary-I-didn't-see-that-ending-coming story for young readers age 4 to 8.

Into the Pumpkin by Linda Franklin, illustrated by Linda Franklin
I used to love Halloween and part of the fun was deciding what to do and then getting ready for it with my friends.  Linda Franklin has captured that excitement in these picture book told completely in short, simple rhyme and full of the usual cast of Halloween characters: ghosts, goblins, witches, ravens, black cats, to name a few.  These spooky spectres are planning their Halloween party and we follow the preparations from start to finish.  Each creature has a job to do to get ready from sending out invitations to choosing the place to have the party - castle or graveyard? -  to decorating with scarecrows and pumpkins.  This delightful, charming story is complimented and enhanced with beautiful, dreamlike watercolor illustrations done by Franklin herself, apparently one illustration each year for Halloween until the book was complete.  A not scary Halloween story that should please readers age 4 to 8.

Halloween Forest by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by John Shelley
Here is another just spooky enough Halloween story told completely in verse about a young girl, all dressed up for trick or treating,  who decides to take her sack full of candy and go off to the forest of bones.  As she walks through this forest of all kinds of skeletons and bones that seem to be looking at and reaching out to her, has this girl just met her worst nightmare?  Or does she have a surprise for all those old bones?  Halloween Forest has a sense of otherworldly eeriness will take young readers to just the point of scary that they can tolerate and then give them a real surprise that might just elicit a laugh of relief.  The eeriness of the story is heightened by the wonderful pen, India ink and watercolor illustration, done mostly in black, white, grey and touches of orange.  This book is ideal for kids age 4 to 8.

And last, but not least, is a book that I found in a second hand bookshop that is no longer in print but still easily obtainable:
A Newbery Halloween: a dozen scary stories by Newbery Award-winning authors, selected by Martin H. Greenberg  and Charles G. Waugh
This collection of Halloween stories are made up of short stories and excerpts from novels all by authors who may already be familiar to and even a favorite of kids.  Beverly Cleary begins the fun with a story about Ramona the Pest in "The Baddest Witch in the World" and the selections just get better.  And how about Jennifer in "A Halloween to Remember" by E.L. Konigsburg.  Or Phyllis Reyonlds Naylor's "The Witch's Eye" from the book by the same name.  There is sure to be something in this volume that will be everyone in this volume for kids age 8 to 12.  These stories are great for reading aloud or alone, all of them are spooky and entertaining without being too scary.  And I love the Halloween cover illustration by Norman Rockwell.

Have a happy, safe Halloween!

Creepy Carrots was obtained from the publisher
Into the Pumpkin was a E-ARC from Netgalley
Halloween Forest was obtained from the publisher
A Newbery Halloween was bought for my personal library


  1. What fun Halloween reads! I haven't read any of them- but I can't wait to check them out. I am especially curious about Into the Pumpkin (love the cover) and Creepy Carrots. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'll go search for 'Into the Pumpkin' and 'A Newbery Halloween.' Can't resist a Ramona Q. story. Thanks for sharing these delightful books, Alex!


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