Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Favorites!

Halloween gives us all a chance to dress up and be something else. Picture books create a world of their own full of imagery whisking us away to a different place. Picture books and Halloween seem to just go together. There are some great Halloween books that I love, and read every year. Here's the books I've been reading, over and over again, all month.

John Pig's Halloween written by Jan L. Waldron, illustrated by David McPhail is about poor little John Pig being too scared to go out to trick-or-treat with the rest of the piggies, so, he stays home. He expects a sad and lonely night, until a witch shows up at the door and shows John how to really party on Halloween. She sets him straight right quick. She doesn't want candy! John, the witch, and her cat, whip up some monstrously good food just in time for a crowd of monsters to arrive and party down. The story is written in rhyme and has such sweet illustrations. I love that real monsters don't eat candy, and the book has provided me with one of my favorite quotes, "You need savory snacks that real monsters can eat." I love it!

Bella Legrossi is messy. Boris Kleanitoff is extremely tidy. They don't make for good neighbors. They don't even like each other... until they dance. This is a great story about giving people a chance, even though they are different than ourselves. As we all know, opposites attract.

I so wish I had clothes like Boris and Bella wear so my husband and I could be them every year. I've always wanted green hair, and I am quite like Bella, so I could be messy all day and have an excuse! Boris and Bella is written by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by Gris Grimly.

A Creepy Countdown is simply lovely. It's a fun little counting book, with a funny twist. Pus, it's a counting book that I can actually get my little guy to read with me. He has the best learning radar I've ever experienced. If there is any teaching whatsoever involved in a book, he's out. A Creepy Countdown isn't teach-y. Charlotte Huck has written the story so that it's just fun that happens to have numbers in it. It's the black ink on scratchboard illustrations done by Jos. A. Smith that I adore. They're just beautiful. The art in this book has inspired a story or two that I've written.

In Big Pumpkin, witch has grown a pumpkin so big she can't even get it off the vine. She seems to want the pumpkin all to herself because when others offer to help she's a bit resistant, witchy even. She tells them all,"It's big and it's mine but it's stuck on the vine." But, she wants pumpkin pie so bad, she reluctantly lets some others help. Funny how the smallest guy has the best idea. It's all about teamwork! Warning: me and my little guy played "It's big and it's mine but it's stuck on the vine," at the pumpkin patch. He pulled the pumpkin, I pulled him, he bopped me in the jaw, I saw stars. Luckily it works out alot better in the book. They even get pumpkin pie. Hey! I didn't get any pumpkin pie! Not fair. Big Pumpkin is written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by S.D. Schindler.

This is Simon Lester Henry Strauss, he's not afraid of this haunted house, and he's funny! There's loads of spooky stuff in this book, but Simon Lester Henry Strauss isn't afraid of any of it. He's so darn brave, which makes the ending all the more hilarious. My little guy laughs every time. This may be the book that inspired him to eat a spider, actually, but hey, he was fine. Everyone should try eating a spider once I suppose. Everyone... except me. I'm Not Afraid of This Haunted House is written by Laurie Friedman and illustrated by Teresa Murfin.

Snitched! This 800-year-old man's pumpkin has been snitched! Who would do such a thing to such an old man? There's some snarky characters in this book, The Vanishing Pumpkin, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. It's pretty darn funny. I love the rapscallion. I love the sassy old man. I love pumpkin pie--this is my third book on the list that has pumpkin pie in it. Think I can talk the kids into eating pumpkin pie instead of candy this Halloween? No, didn't think so.

Hic! Skeleton has the hic! hiccups. There's only one hic! thing that can hic! scare his hiccups away. Can you hic! guess what it is? Hic! Skeleton Hiccups is written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by S.D. Schindler.

My little guy absolutely loves this book by Dave Horowitz, about the poor, Ugly Pumpkin. It's sad when the others treat the ugly pumpkin mean and we do feel very sorry for him, especially when he cries, "I am the Ugly Pumpkin!" in huge letters that cover the entire page. But, oh my gosh! The Ugly Pumpkin discovers he's something else, and takes us on into Thanksgiving.

What are your Halloween favorites? I'm always looking for more stories to add to my favorite reading list!


  1. Some great favorites there! I also love The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams; Tilly Witch, by Don Freeman; The Ghost of Nicholas Grebe, by tony Johnston; The Dancing Skeleton, by Cynthia DeFelice and Mousekin's Golden House, by Edna Miller (now out of print).

  2. Amy Dyckman suggested Dear Vampa. I've still got to check that one out. I don't care that it's past Halloween now.