This week we have three Halloween book suggestions for various ages and reading levels. With Halloween less than two weeks away these books will help put the kids in the holiday mood. Then again, most kids are probably already there. Enjoy!
Room on the Broom and Axel Scheffler is for kids age 4 – 8. “In this lightweight, witty story, helpful animals find ‘room on the broom’ of a generous witch. At first, a striped cat accompanies the cheerful sorceress: “How the cat purred/ and how the witch grinned, / as they sat on their broomstick/ and flew through the wind.” Next, a spotted dog retrieves the witch’s flyaway black hat and asks to come aboard. The three riders soon welcome a green parrot (who finds the witch’s lost hair ribbon) and a frog (who rescues her wand from the bottom of a pond). When threatened by a dragon, the loyal animals form a “Brementown Musicians” chimera whose “terrible voice,/ when it started to speak,/ was a yowl and a growl/ and a croak and a shriek.” The witch repays them by conjuring a cushier vehicle. Donaldson and Scheffler, previously paired for The Gruffalo, emphasize the airborne animals’ contentment and evoke sympathy for the broom’s driver. In Scheffler’s comical panels and insets, the witch has a warty nose and lace-up boots, but wears a pleasant smile; Donaldson puts a spooky/silly spin on the folktale format. The metrical rhyme and goofy suspense aren’t groundbreaking, but readers will likely find it refreshing to see a witch playing against type. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.” Review from Amazon.
Nate the Great and the Halloween Hunt by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat is for kids age 6 and up. “Nate the Great and his faithful dog Sludge solve yet another mystery. This time the wily detectives accept the case of a missing cat on Halloween eve. It seems that Rosamond’s cat, Little Hex, has disappeared. Little Hex hates Halloween and likes to hide until all the tricking and treating are over, but this time Rosamond fears that Little Hex may really be lost. Nate investigates, making his usual pithy observations along the way. His inquiry even takes him to a ramshackle old house that may be haunted. But the obvious clues lead nowhere. The detectives are stumped until they brainstorm over their favorite snacks: pancakes for Nate and a bone for Sludge. Once again Nate’s keen powers of observation and deductive reasoning save the day. Simont’s familiar illustrations are appropriately dark for this All Hallows mystery. All the regulars are back in Nate’s latest mystery, and as fresh as ever. Readers will still marvel at Nate’s brains, ingenuity, and his undying devotion to pancakes. Sharmat makes beginning to read a pleasure. Denia Lewis Hester, Chicago Pub. Lib. Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.” Review from Amazon.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is for kids age 9 and up. “A fast-moving, eerie…tale set on Halloween night. Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin’s. Enhanced by appropriately haunting black-and-white drawings.” Review from Amazon.