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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Spooktacular Stories for Small Children

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

It's that time of year again: time for jack-o-lanterns, candy corn, costumes, and caramel apples... and also curling up under a blanket to read a few Halloween books! :)

It's been several years now since I had someone to read picture books with. A couple of weeks ago I checked out a BIG stack of Halloween picture books from the library. I brought them home and read them all out loud to myself! The following books are the ones that I liked best from that stack, ones that I thought my own kiddos would've enjoyed when they were younger. I hope you will like them, too!


Boo, Bunny!,
written by Kathryn O. Galbraith
and illustrated by Jeff Mack, 2008

The dark Halloween night is a little too scary for one shy bunny -- until Bunny bumps into a friend.

Everything's better with a friend, and this cute story is no exception.  I especially liked Mack's artwork.


Pumpkin Trouble,
written and illustrated by Jan Thomas, 2011

This short, silly story about a duck, his friends, and some pumpkin trouble made me giggle!


Just Say BOO!,
written by Susan Hood
and illustrated by Jed Henry, 2012

What should you do when something scares you on Halloween? Just say BOO!

This book is perfect for the littlest of trick-or-treaters who may not be too sure about the spooky sights all around them this time of year. Hood's story and Henry's watercolor illustrations work together to gently help dispel young children's fears.


T. Rex Trick-Or-Treats,
written by Lois G. Grambling
and illustrated by Jack E. Davis, 2005

T. Rex wants to be scary for Halloween, but what kind of costume should he wear?

Gambling's words and Davis's illustrations together create a funny story that all ages can enjoy. I especially liked all of the facial expressions throughout the book.


The Best Halloween Hunt Ever,
written and illustrated by John Speirs, 2000

More of an activity book than a story book, The Best Halloween Hunt Ever offers detailed pictures on every page, with lists of items to look for and bats to count.

My 10-year-old Ben loves this kind of book -- and always has. It makes for a perfect (quiet!) indoor activity on a cold autumn day.


Shy Mama's Halloween,
written by Anne Broyles
and illustrated by Leane Morin, 2000 

When Anya's family moves from Russia to the United States, she and her siblings are eager to celebrate their first Halloween. Mama is shy and frightened by many things in her new country, especially this holiday of ghosts and goblins. Papa agrees to take the children trick-or-treating, but then falls sick. Will Anya and her siblings have to settle for watching all the Halloween fun outside their window?

I found this to be a beautifully written, special book. Dealing with various themes (including multicultural differences, emotions, and acceptance), this book would be a great one to read and then discuss in a classroom.


Alpha Oops!:
H Is for Halloween,
written by Alethea Kontis
and illustrated by Bob Kolar, 2010

It's time for the Halloween show, but A isn't ready yet. Maybe this time H can go first, and then... Z?

Who knew that a daffy, mixed-up alphabet could be laugh-out-loud funny? This one sure is. Alpha Oops!: H is for Halloween seems like a book that young kids will want to hear over and over again!


A Creepy Countdown,
written by Charlotte Huck
and illustrated by Jos. A. Smith, 1998

From one to ten and then down to one again, this rhyming, counting book is enchanting! My favorite thing about it is Smith's meticulous and spooky artwork on every page.


Behind the Mask,
written and illustrated by Yangsook Choi, 2006

Kimin decides to dress up as his grandfather, a Korean mask dancer who is no longer living, for Halloween. But Kimin doesn't know that the mask holds a secret, just for him.

I like how Choi combines Korean and American folk traditions in this tale and also how she shows Kimin's connection to his grandfather growing stronger.


The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin,
written by Margaret Wise Brown
and illustrated by Richard Egielski, 2003

A little pumpkin dreams of growing big and fierce and able to scare the field mice like the scarecrow scares birds. Does his wish come true?

I like the way that Brown uses repetition to tell this charming story. Egielski's vivid artwork pairs nicely with it.


Harriet's Halloween Candy,
written and illustrated by Nancy Carlson, 2002

It's hard to share, especially when you're asked to share your hard-earned Halloween candy. When Harriet runs out of places to hide her candy from her little brother, there's only one thing left to do (other than share it, that is)....

The amusing consequences to Harriet's actions were my favorite part of this book. (That and the fact that it reminded me of my own kids, trying to hide their chocolate trick-or-treat candy from their father!)


Wild Witches' Ball,
written by Jack Prelutsky
and illustrated by Kelly Asbury, 1976

A rhyming, counting book about the antics at the Wild Witches' Ball, this is an entertaining story with lively pictures.


Pumpkin Jack,
written and illustrated by Will Hubbell, 2000

When Tim carves his very first pumpkin, it turns out so well that he decides it needs a name --Jack. Tim keeps Jack for as long as he can, but when the pumpkin starts to rot, his mother insists he throw it out. Tim carries Jack to the garden where the pumpkin grows flat and moldy. Soon Tim forgets about Jack -- until the spring when he finds a surprise in the garden!

I love Hubbell's engaging story about the life cycle of a pumpkin, as well as his beautiful illustrations. This is a book I'd be happy to buy and add to my own collection!


The Three Bears' Halloween,
written by Kathy Duval
and illustrated by Paul Meisel, 2007

Mama Bear and Papa Bear take Baby Bear trick-or-treating and pay a visit to... you guessed it!... Goldilocks.

I enjoyed the role-reversal of the well-known fairy tale and this story's Halloween twist.


Halloween Howls: Holiday Poetry,
selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
and illustrated by Stacey Schuett, 2005

A dozen poems -- including some from Jane Yolen, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and Lee Bennett Hopkins --  capture the spirit of Halloween in this collection for beginning readers.

This delightful, easy-to-read poetry made me grin like a jack-o-lantern! :)


You Read to Me, I'll Read to You:
Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together,
written by Mary Ann Hoberman
and illustrated by Michael Emberley, 2007

This book contains fourteen frighteningly fun stories written "in two voices",  to be read aloud with a friend.

As I mentioned earlier, I read all of these books aloud to myself. With this one, more than any other, I was wishing someone else was home to read it with me! I tried reading the different parts with different voices, but it just wasn't the same. Then, earlier this week, I asked Ben to do a reading of the book with me. He had a blast with it (he's a bit of a ham!) and we ended up recording part of it. I'll share that video with you next week....



How to Carve Freakishly Cool Pumpkins,
written by Sarah L. Schuette, 2011, 

This book shares photos and step-by-step instructions for eleven different jack-o-lanterns, ranging from cute to gross to scary!

I LOVE carving pumpkins and try to come up with a different look each year. I found a couple of ideas in this book that I'm planning to use this year -- and in the future.


Kids' Pumpkin Projects:
Planting & Harvest Fun,
written by Deanna F. Cook
and illustrated by Kate Flanagan, 1998

Do you love pumpkins? This book contains "more than 50 indoor/outdoor pumpkin activities for year-round fun!" It includes recipes, games, arts and crafts, gardening tips for growing your own pumpkins, and much more.

I love everything pumpkin. I am definitely planning to try some of the recipes from this book soon. And, after reading through this, I am seriously considering growing my own pumpkins next year. I know my kiddos would get a kick out of that, too!


The Halloween Book of Facts & Fun,
written by Wendie Old
and illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye, 2007

Halloween riddles, facts about the history of Halloween, party ideas, and safety tips are just a few of the items packed into this book.

I found this book interesting and informative. I even learned a few things! I chuckled through the riddles (many of them puns, which I love) and have had fun sharing them with Ben. (He mostly just groans -- but then he runs off to tell them to his brother and his friends!)


How to Haunt a House,
written by Dan Witkowski
and illustrated by Jack Lindstrom, 1994

"Everything you need to know to make your home, garage, or school frightfully fun for Halloween -- or any evening of the year!" This book includes tips for lighting, makeup, costumes, sound effects, illusions, decorations, and more.

I really had fun looking through this book. It gave me lots of great ideas I can use to "spookify" our house! 


Spooky Paper Folding for Children,
written and illustrated by Steve and Megumi Biddle, 1996

Easy-to-follow instructions and photographs explain how to make over 20 different Halloween shapes using origami, including a rat, a spider, and the Phantom of the Opera.

My daughter Emmalie is an origami expert. I think next time she is home from college, I'm going to check out this book again so that she can make several of the shapes for me! (Note: it's not necessary to be an origami expert in order to make these -- the instructions look clear and simple to follow. I just know that she would have fun trying them!)


For even more Halloween books geared toward young children, check out my posts from previous years: Not-So-Spooky Stories and Bootiful Books for Young Kids.

Have you read any of the books above? If so, what did you think? Do you have favorite Halloween stories that aren't listed here? I'd love to hear about them!

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