Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Great Picture Books for Halloween Reading

Heebie-Jeebie Jamboree
Written & illustrated by Mary Ann Fraser
Boyds Mills Press, 2011

On Halloween night,
Under a butterscotch moon,
Sam and Daphne pull two tickets
Out of thin air…

The two tickets are for the Heebie-Jeebie Jamboree. When Sam and Daphne reach the site of the jamboree, they present their tickets to the ticket taker…and the spooky fun begins. The children head off to see the sights—warlocks riding on broomsticks, a witches’ brew-off, a fun crypt, a goblin pie contest. Along the way, Daphne loses sight of her younger brother. She sets off to find Sam. She asks a fortune teller for help. She looks for her brother in a haunted house. She calls out to him at a Rolling Bones concert at the mausoleum. No luck. Just as the jamboree begins fading away, Daphne finds Sam in the “Lost and Found” coffin. The tale ends happily as the two siblings reach home safely.

Fraser’s colorful acrylic illustrations are a delight. They show readers all the sights Daphne and Sam encounter at the Heebie-Jeebie Jamboree. The illustrations, I should add, have touches of humor and aren’t very frightening. Heebie-Jeebie Jamboree would be an excellent picture book to read aloud to a little listener who is sitting on your lap. I am sure young children would enjoy this lost-and-found Halloween tale and the age-appropriate “spooky” pictures.

Click here to look inside this book.

Heebie Jeebie Jamboree Book Trailer

Zombie in Love
Written by Kelly DiPucchio
Pictures by Scott Campbell
Atheneum, 2011

Mortimer is a zombie. He wants to take a date to Cupid’s Ball. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a sweetheart—and all his attempts to find one are met with failure.

Mortimer decides to place an ad in the newspaper. He's sure that will find him a date.


If you like taking walks in the
and falling down in the rain.
If you’re not into cooking,
if you have half a brain.
If you like waking up at midnight,
horror films, and voodoo
then I’m the guy who you’ve looked for
and I’m dying to meet you!

Saturday, Cupid’s Ball,
Punch Bowl, 7:00 p.m.

The night of Cupid’s Ball, Mortimer dresses up in his “new” suit, combs his hair, splashes on his best cologne, and seats himself next to the punch bowl at the dance. Then he waits and waits and waits and waits…until the room begins to empty. That’s when Mortimer realizes that no gal has been dying to meet him. Just as he begins to shuffle toward the exit, he hears a loud THUD…and then a louder CRASH! Mortimer looks down and sees a young lady sprawled out on the dance floor. Her name is Mildred. She’s “drop-dead” gorgeous—and she’s a zombie too!

All ends well for Mortimer. He and Mildred dance and hold hands. Then they dine out in the moonlight at a graveyard—and it’s love at first bite!
Zombie in Love is a hoot--and sure to get kids laughing! I know this book would have been a BIG hit with my second grade students. DiPucchio’s text and Campbell’s watercolor illustrations work together like the A-Team to tell this humorous zombie tale that’s perfect for Halloween reading.

And Then Comes Halloween
Written by Tom Brenner
Illustrated by Holly Meade
Candlewick, 2009

This is a little gem of a picture book about Halloween and the fall season. Brenner’s evocative text and Meade’s watercolor and collage illustrations beautifully capture the sights and sounds of autumn...and of that special holiday at the end of October that children get so excited about. Holly Meade’s art has an elegant simplicity that complements this book about children’s preparations for Halloween and their night out trick-or-treating.

The repetitive format of the book is reminiscent of Cynthia Rylant’s When I Was Young in the Mountains.

Here’s how the book begins:

WHEN nighttime creeps closer to suppertime,
And red and gold seep into green leaves,
And blackberries shrivel on the vine…

THEN hang dried corn,
Still in husks all crinkly and raspy,
Sounding like grasshoppers.

WHEN Papa stacks firewood under the eaves,
And a V of geese squawks its way south,
And chilly morning air turns noses pink…

THEN cut out paper witches on brooms
And dangle skeletons in doorways.

The book continues on in this same fashion. It touches on many of the things that children and adults typically do during the month of October—rake leaves, stack wood, carve pumpkins, decide what to dress up as on Halloween, make costumes.

When Halloween arrives, children set off into the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating with friends. Children...

Swirl from porch to porch…dart past bushes casting spooky shadows…sweep past clumps of moaning monsters...

They return home after plundering their block. They eat, count, trade, and share some of their candy. Then it’s time to get ready for bed…where they dream about what they’ll be next Halloween.

And Then Comes Halloween is a terrific seasonal book for reading aloud to young children. Brenner uses rich vocabulary in his text that transports one to a time of year when change is in the air and all around us.

Click here to look inside this book.


More Halloween Book Recommendations



Halloween Picture Books: Wherefore the Style? (School Library Journal)

Children's Picture Books for Halloween (HubPages)

Children’s Books: Once Upon a Broomstick (New York Times)

Halloween Picture Books: A Scary-Big Compilation (WIP)

From Wild Rose Reader
Picture Books & Poetry Books for Halloween

Great Halloween Read-Alouds for Little Listeners

Bone Soup: A Great Halloween Read-Aloud

The Tailypo: A Ghost Story

Picture Book Review: The Three Bears Halloween

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