I love seasonal and holiday books, although I’ve discovered that you generally have to sort through a lot of poorly-written or cheesily-illustrated reads to find the gems. These are six that I consider very well-done against any scale, not just for Halloween. Earlier this week Steph suggested reading stories at night by candlelight as part of MPMK’s 31 Ways to Start a Halloween Tradition. All of these picks would be excellent choices for doing so.
- Halloween Mice by Bethany Roberts and Doug Cushman – A small group of mice are out enjoying Halloween night, until a cat finds them at play. Fortunately, these mice are quick-thinkers and, with the help of a flashlight and a mask, scare the cat off with a spooky shadow. We read this little board book year-round at our house and my daughter loves shouting BOO! at the end.
- Pumpkin Heads! by Wendell Minor – This gorgeously illustrated and sparsely-worded book shows all the ways pumpkins can be used, from scarecrow heads to greeting trick-or-treaters. This book is perfect for Halloween and the autumn season in general.
- Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara– When a little witch moves into a haunted house, she catches all the ghosts, gives them a good scrubbing and then reuses them as curtains, tablecloths and bedspreads. The illustrations are all black and orange, with the ghosts done in a transparent white material. It is ridiculously cute.
- Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown – Jasper Rabbit stops by the carrot patch every day on his way to and from his house to grab a little snack. Which is fine, until he becomes convinced the carrots are following him. Are they really or is it just his over-active imagination? This book has elements of a horror film without actually being very scary. This is an ideal Halloween story.
- The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg – I love pretty much everything Chris Van Allsburg touches (he’s most famous for The Polar Express and Jumanji) and this is probably my very favorite of his. When a witch falls from the sky and is nursed back to health by a kindly widow, she leaves behind the broom, which the widow begins using as a regular cleaning tool. When she discovers that it can move of its own accord, she puts it to work, but the neighbors take a much more sinister view of the magical tool. This book has one of Allsburg’s signature surprise endings – I laugh every time.
- Mouse and Mole: A Perfect Halloween by Wong Herbert Yee – This easy reader chapter book features two friends with different attitudes toward the holiday. Mouse loves Halloween and everything that comes along with it, including the pumpkins, the costumes, and the spooky decorations. Mole, on the other hand, thinks it is all pretty scary and wants to hide in bed. Fortunately, Mouse is able to make the holiday fun for both of them in four little chapters.