Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: "Happy" Halloween Reads

While many students enjoy a good scare at Halloween time, some youngsters, especially our preschoolers, want "happy" Halloween books. Here are a few that hit the right note: fun, silly, and totally not scary!

Ghosts in the House, by Kazuno Kohara

A girl moves into a new house and finds it already inhabited by ghosts. No problem for her; she's a witch! But she's the sweetest witch around and makes a happy job of ridding the house of the ghosts. She catches them, puts them in the washing machine, hangs them on the line, and finds other purposes for them. Curtains! Tablecloths! Blankets! She and the ghosts all happily coexist after the girl takes charge. Illustrations of black and white woodblock prints on orange paper give a rustic and warm feeling. The stunning simplicity of the visuals and text led this to be a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year in 2010.
(Note: This cover shows a different title via LibraryThing.com)

Boo Who? A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book, by Joan Holub

This small square book introduces Halloween vocabulary in a fun way. We're asked questions such as "Who is that in the pointy hat?" and we lift the flap to see a picture and text of the answer. 

The rhyming questions create a pleasing rhythm. Double spread watercolors have a friendly cartoony style. Geared to a preschool audience, the sturdy pages are another bonus.

We're Off to Find the Witch's House, by Mr. Krieb

This is a fun rhyme about a group of trick-or-treaters who are being brave as they journey past creepy characters to find "the witch's" house. 

There's a fun sense of irony as we realize that the various spooks are actually other kids dressed up in costume; the group doesn't realize this until later. As they anxiously approach the witch's door, we're wondering along with them what will appear. Happily, it's a just costumed friend. 

The strengths of the story are the sing-songy beat of the poem and the strong word choice. For example, "We're galloping past a ghastly ghost  / a mostly misty, ghostly ghost, / a flying, floating, twisty ghost, / swishing through the dark." Chunky verbs and adjectives make this a good model for voice and word choice. Action-packed watercolor and ink illustrations are another plus.

See more Halloween books in our library HERE

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the list. The last thing I need is a freaked out preschooler at bedtime :) I think we'll have to find these halloween books to make bedtime (and Halloween) happy!