A poison-ivy bouquet, full bowls of stew and happy friends bring the story to a satisfying close. Make sure to tuck in to...

SKELETON FOR DINNER

Mother and daughter witch want to have skeleton for dinner. Is he on the menu or intended to be a guest?

Big Witch and Little Witch are proud of their yummy stew full of delightfully disgusting ingredients, such as “shark fins and snake skins, spider silk and centaur’s milk, catfish whiskers and banshee blisters.” Little Witch makes a list of the friends she wants to invite for dinner. She writes “Dinner” at the top, with Ghost, Ghoul and Skeleton below it and tacks it to a tree. When Skeleton reads it, he flies into a panic. Veteran Cuyler keeps the text flowing and sets a just-right pace for reading aloud. Poor Skeleton “rat-a-bat-tat[s] down the hill… / and jingle-jangle[s]” off to warn first Ghost and then Ghoul about what he fears the witches are planning. Terry chooses deep blue-greens and dark craggy trees to create the nightscape. Skeleton’s cool white and Ghost’s translucent wash of white make them glow on the page, whereas the warmer tones used for Ghoul and the bright green of Little Witch provide refreshing contrast. When Little Witch fails to find her friends to tell them about the dinner party, her despair sends Crow flying to the rescue.

A poison-ivy bouquet, full bowls of stew and happy friends bring the story to a satisfying close. Make sure to tuck in to this delicious tale. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7398-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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