The kids and I love Halloween books. Our collection grows with each passing year. One day my children will consider themselves too old to read Halloween books, but I enjoy them so much, I may continue buying them. I can always use the excuse that I am collecting books for my future grandchildren!
There’s a lot of new Halloween books out this year. I thought I’d do a review of some of the most recent books as well a few old favorites.
“Working Mummies” written by Joan Horton and illustrated by Drazen Kozjan, is one of my new favorites. It came out this year (2012) and is sure to be a hit. With clever rhymes and illustrations, Horton and Kozjan show the varied careers a mother can have, all in the guise of working mummies of course! There’s a very good interview with the author, Joan Horton, where she explains how she got the idea for “Working Mummies.” You can read it here.
“Room on the Broom,” written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, was published in 2001, but this year they came out with a board book edition. “Room on the Broom” has been a national bestseller for good reason. The story of a witch who continually loses her things but gains new friends on the way, teaches children the value of friendship and altruism. The rhyming story is well written (something that’s hard to do with rhymes) and fun to read aloud.
My son’s favorite new Halloween book is “Horrorgami” by Chris Marks, published in 2012. It is a wonderful collection of Halloween themed origami. The illustrated step by step instructions are easy to follow and the resulting paper projects are ghastly fun. Among other creatures, there are ghouls, witches, cats, skulls, even a “Maleficent Medusa!”
If you’d like to learn more about the Mexican holiday – the Day of the Dead, then you should read this beautiful book called, “Day of the Dead” by Kitty Williams and Stevie Mack. It is a well researched, beautifully photographed book that covers every aspect of the holiday – it’s origin, festive celebrations, folk art and traditional recipes. It also has a list of resources so you can buy items to make your own crafts and recipes. This book is meant for adults and children.
In “The Halloween Tree” by Ray Bradbury (published 1972), a group of boys search for their missing friend, Pip. It is Halloween night and being a tale told by Ray Bradbury, you can expect strange and mysterious happenings. Although the story is very good, I did have a problem with it’s writing style. Bradbury has always been a wonderful writer, yet in this story, he writes in an old fashioned manner that might not appeal to today’s kids. For example, “Pipkin, oh, dear Pipkin, finest and loveliest of boys.” I have to admit it turned me off and I normally love Ray Bradbury! However it didn’t bother my son; he thought it was a great book.
Children and adults will love 2008′s “On A Scary Scary Night” from the series “Can You See What I See? by Walter Wick. Wick based his story, “On A Scary Scary Night” on the traditional tale – “In A Dark Dark Room.” Each page of the book features a mesmerizing photo/illustration where the author asks you to find what he can see: “a lizard’s tongue, 2 empty frames,.. a skull in flames,” etc. It’s fun to find the unlisted items as well!
And now for two old favorites: “The Soup Bone” by Tony Johnston and “Georgie’s Halloween”written and illustrated by Robert Bright. “The Soup Bone” published in 1990, is about the friendship that develops between a lonely old lady and a spooky skeleton. It’s a wonderful story for young readers about how it’s much better to be friends than it is to scare each other. My favorite line in the book: “Then the little old lady played the piano. The skeleton played his bones.”
“Georgie’s Halloween” by Robert Bright was published in 1958, but Georgie is a classic. Robert Bright wrote several books about the gentle Georgie and all of them are adorable. In this story, shy Georgie enters the annual Halloween costume contest on the village green. The children can see him but he’s always just out of sight for the adults. Children won’t be a bit scared when they read how Mr. Whittaker “could have sworn that – somebody – SOMEBODY – had tugged at his coattail.” Highly recommended.