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Happy Haunted Holidays!

By on October 8, 2017

Off we go, into autumn, with nearly everyone’s favorite dress-up holiday approaching. It’s time to explore different personalities, try on costumes, practice a new accent, and watch out for surprises as our friends and family members investigate their own possibilities. Inspect these smart but simple stories that want to stick in your mind even when you’re no longer reading them. Beware! Kids will want to re-read! (But, even better? So will you!)

by Meribeth C. Shank 

Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats

by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
tricksandtreatsThe fantastic friends are back for three more exploits as they prepare for the spookiest holiday. Bear and Dog’s adventures – choosing costumes, answering the front doorbell, and going out on their own trick or treat tour – show an eager, warmhearted accepting friendship between the two individuals.

Seeger’s merry stories demonstrate the bonding friendship the two share; even when they come to the same wrong conclusion looking in the mirror. The bright acrylic and India ink illustrations with uncomplicated white backgrounds lend immediacy to the stories by focusing attention on the actions, expressions, and body language of the characters.

This is a great read-aloud treat for the youngest set, who are just learning to understand simple tricks. Also, with its conversational dialog, it is exactly right for early readers as a much-sought after more fun/less fright Halloween choice.

Roaring Brook Press, $14.99 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2

(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Main Library, Edison, Lemon City. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Minnie and Moo and the Haunted Sweater 

by Denys Cazet
HauntedSweater_MIA10.17From the I-Can-Read series about two crazy cows, this time as they plan their gifts to the farmer for his birthday. Minnie decides to give him her last cream puff. Moo has a bright idea after the chickens and sheep crash into each other. She helps them untangle by using her knitting needles to knit the farmer a new wool sweater as a birthday present.

But, Elvis the rooster is missing! And, the sweater doesn’t look right – it has a big lump and one sleeve is longer than the other! What they do to try to shrink it will make readers laugh. Kids reading alone also will know that the sweater is not haunted, and why – making them giggle more as they realize they have figured out what the story never says.

Cazet’s cartoon-like ink and watercolor illustrations show the craziness of the story in a clever pairing with easy-to-read text.

HarperCollins, $16.99 • Interest Level: Grades 1 – 2

(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Main Library, Allapattah, Edison, Opa Locka. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything 

by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd

notafraidFor the youngest children who want to be scared at Halloween, but not too much, this is a perfect read-aloud book for even the most active to interact with. The little old lady of the title leaves home, walking in the forest “to collect herbs and spices, nuts and seeds.”
As it gets dark and she starts home, suddenly right in the middle of the path she meets up with a spooky pair of big shoes. “And the shoes went CLOMP, CLOMP.” Further along are a creepy pair of pants, a shirt, gloves, and a hat. Each makes a sound or a movement which children can join the reader in making.
The Little Old Lady warns each of them to “Get out of my way! . . . I’m not afraid of you!” However, she walks a bit faster, and still behind her she can hear . . . Finally, what she meets up with is scariest! and she runs! Once inside her cottage with the door locked, she rocks in her chair. Until . . . KNOCK, KNOCK!
The conclusion of the story is very satisfying and ends the next morning after she whistles her way to bedtime. This book has won many awards over the years and remains a delightfully shivery story to share.

HarperCollins, $6.99 (paperback) $16.99 (hardcover) • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2

(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Culmer Overtown, Main Branch. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, has taught classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web:

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