Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On the Bookshelf—Four Halloween Storybooks

Here are four storybooks to get you and your kids in the mood for Halloween.

Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian. This book from 1965 is about a witch who can't seem to do anything right—she can't cackle, or fly on a broom, or make magic potions.

Cute pictures and an amusing story with a surprise ending. The witch's giant head started to creep me out by the end of the story—she reminds me of a villain in a Studio Ghibli film.

Old Devil Wind by Bill Martin Jr, illustrated by Barry Root. One dark and stormy night, a ghost starts wailing, a candle starts flickering, and the wind begins to blow...and blow...and blow...

Dark ambient illustrations. Repetition in the text will make this a fun read-aloud with little kids. I love the logic of this book: "Stool, why do you thump?"..."It is a dark and stormy night. Ghost wails and so I thump."

Dorrie and the Haunted House by Patricia Coombs. This is actually part of a series, but I've been having a little trouble getting a hold of the others. Dorrie is a little witch with mismatched socks who lives in a house with a tall, tall tower. When the witch and wizard community gets in a pickle—the Blue Ruby is stolen by bandits—the Big Witch tells Dorrie she can't help and needs to stay out of the way of the grown-ups. But when Dorrie wanders into a ghost-filled house, a surprise is waiting for her that might just change the Big Witch's mind. Fun pictures, an endearing protagonist, and an imaginative world. I'd love to join Dorrie at the end of the book for ghost stories and pancakes with purple syrup.

Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Yuyi Morales. On el dĂ­a de los muertos, the monsters come out. Los gatos hiss, las brujas fly, las tumbas open. But by the end of the night the monsters will meet the scariest thing of all.

Fun rhyming text studded with Spanish is paired with gorgeous, lively pictures in rich colors.

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