13 Picks From The Pumpkin Patch
My fave picture books for Hallowe’en. Including experiments in audioblogging!
[Before you begin, a note about numbers and codes - ISBNs refer to hardcovers except where noted. I hate paperback picture books. "Call no." refers to where to find this book at TPL and libraries that use similar systems, as most do. If a book is out of print, I have noted it, but these are still easily available through the library.)
My very favourite:
The Big Pumpkin, by Erica Silverman, ill. S.D. Schindler
ISBN: 002782683X, Call no.: J PIC SIL
A Hallowe'en retelling of the Enormous Turnip (or carrot or potato, depending on the version) folk tale, this fun book lends itself naturally to storytelling. I use this one every year, funn voices and all, and it's always a hit.
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Something funny this way comes:
Space Case, by Edward Marshall, ill. James Marshall
ISBN (pb only): 0140547045, Call no.: J PIC MAR
When a small UFO lands in the midst of Hallowe’en madness, the other kids are impressed with the costume and they make friends. The UFO promises to return (and does, in a later book). Marshall is gifted at goofiness, and this book is no exception, though lower-key than some of today’s sillier authors. Surprisingly, as I am usually a fan, I’m not so into Robert Munsch’s offering for the season, Boo!
A little weirdness for an admittedly weird night:
One Hallowe’en Night, by Mark Teague
ISBN (pb only): 0439755387, Call no.: J PIC TEA
Mark Teague is one of my favourite illustrators, and one of the few whose foray into authoring has yielded some really fun stuff. These are for kids a bit older, like the trio of characters in them, as the situations are things that might face kids in grade school. In this book, for example, the kids find their Hallowe’en going a bit awry from the start, but the taunting of the class mean girls really kicks the strange happenings into high gear. I think grade 2-5 is a good range for “getting” this one.
A dark, dark story:
A Dark, Dark Tale, by Ruth Brown
ISBN (pb only): 0140546219, Call no.: J PIC BRO
In a Dark, Dark Room and other scary stories, by Alvin Schwartz, ill. Dirk Zimmer
ISBN: 0060252715, Call no.: J BR SCH
Two versions of a classic ghost tale. The first is alone in a gorgeously illustrated version and ends on a softer note. Only very slightly spooky.
The second is the classic version, a little bit scary, and is bundled with a few other well-known ghost stories. These are a little creepy, but not too much. I’d say they are accessible to most grade-schoolers.
A creepy southern spook story:
Wiley and the Hairy Man, by Molly Bang
Out of print, Call. No: 398.2 BAN
Wiley and the Hairy Man, by Judy Sierra, ill. Brian Pinkney
Out of print, Call no.: 398.2089 SIE
A traditional tale from the swamplands of the south, in which Wiley and his mother must thrice outsmart the Hairy Man who is coming for Wiley (similar tales exist with the devil, goblins, etc. as well). A great one for sharing with a slightly older kid, this story is filled with great storytelling details. The Molly Bang version is a smaller book with black-and-white illustrations, while the Judy Sierra telling is in a picture book format featuring Brian Pinkney’s familiar colourized scratchboard style.
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Atmospheric more than really Hallowe’en themed:
Mouse, Look Out!, by Judy Waite, ill. Norma Bugin
Out of print, Call no.: J PIC WAI
In what could almost be a companion to Ruth Brown’s Dark, Dark Tale (above), a cat creeps along following a mouse through a slightly eerie abandoned house. It’s fun for kids to find the details in the pictures, the somewhat hidden eyes and tails of mouse and cat as they progress, and an unmentioned witness who appears throughout. A surprise ending turns the tables on the cat and lightens things up on the last page. Not scary so much as slightly spooky and suspenseful.
A cute one that champions the timid:
The Teeny Tiny Ghost, by Kay Winters, ill. Lynn Munsinger
ISBN (pb only): 0064435903, Call no.: J PIC WIN
The teeny tiny ghost (who stars in two other books as well, should this one be a hit) is not great at haunting, and is too scared to go out for Hallowe’en with his classmates. They come and find him though, and they have a howling good time. I always love the way Lynn Munsinger’s illustrations bring a little something extra to anything she works on, and this is no exception. Fun and cute, a nice one to share with a younger child.
One for the very young:
Mouse’s First Hallowe’en, by Lauren Thompson, ill. Buket Erdogan
ISBN: 0689831765 (also available in board bk: 0689855842), Call no.: J PIC THO
The mouse books by Lauren Thompson cover pretty much the full range of seasons and things you might want to read to a young child about. I appreciate the fact that despite being very simple stories aimed at preschoolers and despite starring a rather cute mouse, these books manage to stay just on the right side of the line between really cute and too cute. This one does the same, and features the bold paintings that make this series so appealing for the very young.
A Fun way for the little guys to beat the creeps:
Go Away, Big Green Monster!, by Ed Emberley
ISBN: 0316236535, Call no.: J PIC EMB
A classic, this book features die-cut pages with different coloured features that layer together to create a monster. Each page then calls for another part to go away, until the monster is gone. Fun for flirting with idea of monsters in a safe way that also gives a tool for banishing them when the fun is over.
For those who find sheep as inherently amusing as I do:
Six Creepy Sheep, by Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Gordon Tessler, ill. John O’Brien
ISBN (pb only): 1563972425, Call no.: J PIC END
Sheep Trick or Treat, by Nancy Shaw, ill. Margot Apple
ISBN: 0395841682, Call no.: J PIC SHA
For some reason, I find sheep hilarious and love most any picture book that features them, so give me some slack on including two of these… They are fun and funny and a silly but quite good introduction to trick-or-treating. Great for kids young and not-quite-so-young. I hate putting on age limits because certainly some older kids can still enjoy younger stories, but roughly toddler or preschooler to grade 2 or 3 would seem like a good range. And have a giggle at the vampire sheep on me. (I’ve come to baaaa-ite your neck…hee hee)
Happy Hallowe'en, everybody!
Labels: literary kitten