Who says you can’t encourage literacy during the busy holidays? Getting kids in the mood of the season, and even leaving a little something, something behind some of these fresh batch of Halloween books have a social resonance, others a more material lesson. But all should tickle if not rattle kid’s funny bones, with a fiendish good read.
Skeleton for Dinner by Margery Cuyler illustrated by Will Terry, a miscommunication leads to a farcical chase. Cuyler uses fun rhymes and onomatopoeic words to follow Big Witch and Little Witch as figure the mystery of their missing dinner guests. Terry’s illustrations sparkle like jewels, the characters more appealing than scary, makes this appropriate even for very young readers and listeners. Albert Whitman & Company publishers.
How does a ghoul fit in? For poor Zombelina who wants to dance, it’s not always easy. But preserver she does, even after the recital goes horribly wrong. Kristen Crow follows Zombelina and her family and friends through a perfectly balanced rhyme. Molly Idle’s illustrations are warm, humorous and approachable, unexpected for Halloween fare. Walker Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Bloomsbury.
Spooky Friends is an adorable first reader. Jane Feder, succinctly captures the sometimes contentious friendship of Scarlet the Vampire and Igor the Mummy. In simple language they work through their differences and find fun solutions to their frightful fights. Julie Downing’s illustrations are cute and spunky and support the three short stories purrr-fectly. Scholastic Press.
For older readers, Black and Bittern was the Night is a whimsical read. Robert Heidbreder mostly tells the story in nonsense in the style of Lewis Carrol’s Jabberwocky it’s a fun and sometimes hysterical slog through an epic battle between SKUL-A-MUG-MUGS and tyke-tots, with the MUGS getting the shorter end of the stick. John Martz illustrations are a light contrast to the text, cartoony and capricious. Kids Can Press.
“Youch, Tootie! No Bite!” Tootie’s older brother is convinced she’s a Vampire Baby but how to convince Mom and Dad? Kelly Bennett tells it like it is for any kid who had a baby in the house and Paul Meisel’s humorous illustrations perfectly complement the story. Candlewick Press
A Very Witchy Spelling Bee by George Shannon has Cordelia facing off against the mean champion Beulah in a spell off, Definitely for fans of the PBS show Between the Lions and word games, The illustrations by Mark Fearing are fun. Harcourt Children’s Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The winning team of Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin are at it again in Click, Clack, Boo! Or more specifically Farmer Brown and his costumed farm. Atheneum.
For the Indie ebook crowd, comes Jingle Boo Rock, by Terry Pond. A parody of Jingle Bells, the imagery is fun and so are the richly toned illustrations. It would be hard to simply read and not sing the boo-k. Pondragon Publishing. Available online.
Ghost in the House by Ammi-Joan Paquette is a cumulative counting story in the tradition of The House Jack Built, where the scariest thing is the boy left in the house, in the creepy haunted house. Adam Record's illustrations feel more like a kid-friendly video game and the palette is unexpected, but it works for the season and the tone of the book. Candlewick Press.