Halloween is quickly approaching. Below are some books to get you into the holiday mood. All synopses are provided by the publishers.
AGES 0 AND UP
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, CORDUROY!, by Don Freeman and Jody Wheeler, Viking Books for Young Readers, Aug. 31, 2021, Board Book, $6.99 (ages 0-3)
Corduroy is excited to celebrate Halloween. Join him as he carves pumpkins, makes candy apples, and dresses in his Halloween costume!
Happy Halloween, Corduroy! is a sweet board book that celebrates the season in a warm and welcoming way. The text is simpler than the original Corduroy books but stays true to the source material. Little ones will enjoy the bright colors and friendly characters.
AGES 1 AND UP
WEB OPPOSITES, by Rob Hodgson, Rise x Penguin Workshop, Aug. 24, 2021, Hardcover, $9.99 (ages 1-3)
Sixteens pairs of opposite words are presented with wit, whimsy, and webs. Familiar opposites like day and night are presented alongside more unexpected pairs like visible and invisible, proving that there’s no web these silly spiders can’t spin!
Though not specifically a Halloween book, Web Opposites is a great holiday option that you won’t mind having around year-round. There’s nothing scary about these stylized arachnids. They’re as charming as could be. And the book introduces some opposite words I’ve not seen in similar board books (expected and unexpected; attached and detached; simple and complex; clockwise and counterclockwise).
AGES 3 AND UP
TEN SPOOKY PUMPKINS, by Gris Grimly, Orchard Books; Illustrated edition, Sept. 21, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 3-6)
10 little pumpkins, sitting in a line, looking for a cat and they found nine. The wind said SWOOSH and the gate went CREAK. The owl cried WHOOOO, we all screamed EEK. Join goblins, ghosts, witches, and more in this rhythmic countdown, traveling through the countryside and discovering more Halloween creatures along the way. Finally, the story culminates with them all joining together in a joyful celebration under the full harvest moon, dancing until it’s time for bed.
Many parents of preschool kids know this Halloween rhyme. It’s lots of fun for parents and kiddos to say out loud. What makes this version stand out is Gris Grimly’s gothic-style illustrations, which are just a touch spooky while still feeling friendly.
AGES 4 AND UP
TWITCHY WITCHY ITCH, by Priscilla Tey, Candlewick, June 24, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)
Tick, tock! Three cups.
Tick, tock! Three saucers.
With nine minutes left, everything was ready.
Or was it?
Itch the witch is having company over for tea. As the clock counts down to tea o’clock, Itch’s mind is in a tizzy: is her house too twitchy? Is her home too itchy? Zipping and zooming, dusting and brooming, Itch sweeps and bewitches the mess away (just in the nick of time). But as soon as her two guests walk in, Itch’s housekeeping comes unraveled. How will Itch tame such an itchy, glitchy, fidgety mess?
The Twitchy Witchy Itch is another non-Halloween specific read easily enjoyed year-round. Kids will get a kick out of Priscilla Tey’s computer-glitch-esque illustrations that almost feel as if you’ve got a twitch. And the overall message of staying true to yourself is gentle and seamlessly tied in.
POULTRYGEIST, by Eric Geron and Pete Oswald, Candlewick, Aug. 10, 2021, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 4-8)
It’s punny. It’s spooky. It’s a meta picture book that puts a fresh spin on an old joke and elevates chicken comedy to ghastly new levels. A little spring chicken crosses the road but quickly gets flattened under a semitruck. The barnyard beasts who’ve gone before break the news: now that Chicken’s fried — dispatched to the Other Side — Chicken has a job, an unwanted job, as a noisy troublemaking ghost. This fowl may be weak in the beak, but Chicken knows that scaring people isn’t nice. There is such a thing as a friendly ghost, after all — isn’t there?
If you can only buy one book this season and you’ve got kids of varying ages, Poultrygeist is the book you should buy. This laugh-out-loud book is bold and colorful. It’s simple enough for little ones to join in with some of the reading and older readers to put on a show. This one’s fun for the entire family.
AGES 5 AND UP
THE GHOULS’ GUIDE TO GOOD GRAMMAR, by Leslie Kimmelman and Mary Sullivan, Sleeping Bear Press, Aug. 15, 2021, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 5-8)
Grammar can be confusing, no matter if you’re an adult, a child, or well . . . even a ghoul. And its rules can be hard to remember or keep straight. Ghastly things can happen when a comma or even a simple period is misplaced. But never fear! We have the perfect book to help you keep your head and your cool. In The Ghouls’ Guide to Good Grammar basic rules of grammar such as correct punctuation and appropriate word choices are explained from a monster’s point of view. For example, see how a simple comma clears up any misunderstanding between Vanessa and her parents. “Vanessa Vampire loves cooking, her parents, and her baby sister” versus “Vanessa Vampire loves cooking her parents and baby sister.” For anyone needing a refresher course on how to use a hyphen or an apostrophe, or is confused by pesky contractions, The Ghouls’ Guide to Good Grammar is for you. After all, choosing the right word and the right punctuation to use is as important as picking the right human being to eat for dinner. Back matter includes a short grammar quiz.
This fun look at the rules behind the English language will have kids laughing all while reinforcing the rules they’re learning in school. It’s a great way to learn without knowing you’re learning.