Not-too-spooky Halloween fun.

HOW TO HAUNT A HOUSE

Three ghosts-in-training meet a family that proves difficult to scare.

Groana, Moana, and Shrieky have successfully used their ghostly tricks to haunt families in two different houses. But when their teacher, Madam Grey, assigns them a family of monsters to haunt, they must get creative with their tactics. Readers will giggle to see what ultimately frightens these Frankenstein-type monsters: bunnies, puppies, glitter, and cupcakes. Crimi’s rhyming story nicely leverages unpredictability to keep preschoolers engaged. How silly that the things they love should terrify a monster! Miller’s illustrations are age appropriate and appealing—nothing’s too spooky here—with a comic-book feel. The three ghosties are nonthreatening, with rosy cheeks and expressive eyebrows. The humans depicted are racially diverse, including one interracial family. There are also some fun details, like the monster family’s table full of rotten fish and moldy cheese. Miller cleverly uses the color palette so that the hues of the human families’ homes, with touches of pink and light blue, are the same as those of the cheerful items used to scare the monster family. Sure to be enjoyed by the preschool crowd—a great Halloween read-aloud for a classroom or library.

Not-too-spooky Halloween fun. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3426-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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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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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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