0 10/21/2012 reviews Books

I Really Do Love Hallowe’en

I mean, how often do you get to dress up like a weirdo and it’s a good thing? I mean, yes, in my line of work, more than some, but this is a perfect opportunity to make full use of my costume box. And? Fun stories! Here’s a few fun new goodies out in time for this year’s Trick or Treat Day.

For little guys:

dracula board bk.jpgDracula
by Jennifer Adams

Gibbs Smith
ISBN: 978 1 4236 2480 6

This board book counts up 10 items from the original Dracula story – the one from Bram Stoker, not the one starring Bela Lugosi or Gary Oldham. It is a little obscure for little kids, to be honest, who won’t understand the references, but it is amusingly atmospheric, cute enough not to be too much for the wee ones, and clever enough that it will be a hit with parents who are fans of literary jokes or old-school gothica.

pop up haunted house.jpgPop-Up Haunted House
Priddy Books
ISBN: 978 0 312 51471 6

This little pop-up introduces the residents of a haunted house in simple little rhymes aimed at young kids. Far more cute than scary with bold, rounded illustrations, it’s a nice, gentle little introduction to some of Hallowe’en’s typical spooky characters such as ghouls and witches. The pop-up elements are also very simply engineered, but are always a hit with kids. This is a good one for sharing with a group of toddlers or preschoolers.

And my favourite hallowe’en stories for kids from toddlers to grade 2 or 3?
Big Pumpkin, by Erica Silverman – a Hallowe’en take on The Great Big Enormous Trunip
Goodnight, Goon, by Michael Rex – a really well-done parody of the bedtime classic

For bigger kids:

welcome to monster town.JPGWelcome to Monster Town
by Ryan Heshka

Square Fish
ISBN: 978 1 250 00405 5

This book could almost be an average community helper book, except this is a different kind of town… Each monster goes about their occupation, as described in a single sentence and a two-page spread full of funny little visual jokes and occasional puns. Ghost writers covering the news? Vampire bats working at the blood bank? This one will go over the heads of younger kids, but has plenty of chuckles for the more sophisticated grade 2 or 3 and up. It’s a short book, with not a lot of content, but the illustrations really make it, giving it a cool retro classic monster movie feel, and working nicely in tandem with the text to create some fun moments.

big book of vampires.jpgThe Big Book of Vampires
by Denise Despeyroux

Tundra Books
ISBN: 978 1 77049 371 1

This large-format book is a collection of nine vampire stories adapted from classic gothic vampire tales by quite a collection of authors, as well as four vampire legends from different traditions. It’s quite a fantastic introduction to the world of vampires for a kid who is interested, but maybe not ready for the original versions just yet, and it features illustrations that are just a little bit creepy, but not intended to truly scare. This is perfect Hallowe’en fare for the 8-12 year old who loves to be frightened, or even for a young teen who is into vampires and the paranormal that has been so pervasive in teenlit not long ago.

For giving away:

halloween scratchers.jpgHallowe’en Scratchers
by Erin Golden

Chronicle Books
ISBN: 978 1 452 10985 5

This collection of forty postcards with scratch-off games and activities are meant for giving away to trick-or-treaters, or perhaps keeping a class full of kids amused. There are repeats here, but unless you are planning to give these all to one kid, that is fine. The games are small amusements, and these are an alternative to candy that will actually be likely to go over well, instead of getting your house egged, though they are definitely more expensive, so if you get a lot of kids, like we do, they might be out of range and just be good for those kids you actually know as an extra treat. Any way you go about it, they are pretty cool, and something a little different! I am using the sample book that was sent to me for library party prizes, myself, and I fully expect the kids to be pretty chuffed.

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