I've received several new Halloween-themed picture books this year, and wanted to share them.
1. Fright Club, written and illustrated by Ethan Long. From Bloomsbury USA Children's Books. In this title, which reminds me visually of Creepy Carrots, a group of traditionally scary creatures (vampire, mummy, witch, etc.) is practicing for Halloween when a cute bunny tries to join their Fright Club. Upon being rebuffed, the bunny returns with a lawyer, and some cute friends like butterflies. It turns out that the Fright Club has something to learn from their conventionally cute, but surprisingly scary, colleagues. This one has lots of fun sound effects, making it a good (and not actually very scary) choice for new readers.
2. Fancy Nancy: Candy Bonanza, written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. From HarperCollins. In this pictureback installment of the Fancy Nancy series, Nancy goes trick-or-teating with best friend Bree and little sister Jojo. Although Nancy's mother warns her not to eat too much candy, Nancy finds herself repeatedly tempted. She ends up at home on the couch with a stomach-ache. There's no "I hope she learned her lesson" feel, though, as Nancy is sure she'll be ready to eat candy again tomorrow. Vocabulary words include: "exaggerating", "scrumptious", and "indigestion". There are also stickers.
3. Happy Halloween, Witch's Cat, written and illustrated by Harriet Muncaster. From HarperCollins. In this simple story, a girl routinely dresses as a black cat to accompany her mother, who she thinks is a witch. With Halloween coming, the girl tries out a variety of different costumes. In the end, she comes up with a paired costume with her mother that feels just right. This story doesn't completely make sense if you don't read the dust jacket explanation (or the earlier book, I Am A Witch's Cat). But it doesn't matter. The real reason to read this book is to view the very cool illustrations, for which the author created and photographed miniature scenes.
4. Otter Loves Halloween, written and illustrated by Sam Garton. From HarperCollins. In this sequel to I Am Otter, Otter and Teddy are getting ready for Halloween, with a bit of help from their grown-up, Otter Keeper. They select a pumpkin, decorate the house, and make costumes (including a goofy fairy costume for the stuffed giraffe). The only problem is that when the trick-or-treaters arrive, Otter finds them a bit too scary. But the understanding Otter Keeper helps to save Halloween. Otter is basically a really troublesome, but adorable, preschool, in Otter form, and his Halloween adventures are funny and charming.
5. Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins, written and illustrated by James Dean. From HarperCollins. Five Little Pumpkins is kind of a surreal addition to the Pete the Cat series. There are five pumpkins sitting a gate, each decorated/costumed (pirate, Frankenstein, etc.). They say things like "There are witches in the air... But we don't care." The illustrations show things like a frog with a witch's hat riding a motorized brook, accompanied by a yellow bird. I don't understand it. But Pete the Cat fans will likely find this right up their alley. At the end of the book, Pete (in a robot costume) and the pumpkins roll away on skateboards.
6. Scaredy-Cat, Splat!, written and illustrated by Rob Scotton. From HarperCollins. In Scaredy-Cat, Splat!, Splat strives to be the scariest one at his cat school Halloween party. However, he finds that his costume, and his jack-o-lantern, are more funny than scary. Thanks to a convenient mishap, though, Splat ends up scaring the day. This one does have some nice language, like "wobbled with worry" and "wayward." There's also a ghost story (related by Splat's teacher) that, read aloud properly, is sure to make young listeners jump.
Wishing you all a book-filled, treat-filled, decoration-filled Halloween season.