Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Best Books about Halloween (Fiction)

Halloween Day (ages 3-9) by Anne Rockwell (realistic fiction)
The focus of this book is imagination, pretend play, and dressing up.  A little girl is excited about going to school because everyone will be wearing Halloween costumes.  Several of the children from class are highlighted with their costumes and a picture showing where their inspiration for it came from, such as book, a field trip, a painting, a rodeo, and so forth.  After a costume procession, the children celebrate with Halloween goodies like jack-o-lantern cupcakes and apple cider.  You can invite your children to imagine what they could be from various books you have read and activities you have participated in together.  It is also an opportunity to discuss how people (artists, inventors, writers, and engineers) are inspired.  The pictures are friendly and colorful. 

And Then Comes Halloween (ages 4-10) by Tom Brenner (realistic fiction)
The pictures are a noteworthy and creative mix of cut out layered paper for the characters and setting along with paints for texture which offers a unique two dimensional look to many of the figures on the page.  Both characters and setting are benign and friendly.  The story itself, written in free verse poetic form, describes fall, the making of Halloween decorations, and going trick or treating.  There are numerous sound devices to identify and discuss together, such as alliteration (“creeps closer”), assonance (“seep into green leaves”), and consonance (“still in husks all crinkly”). It is a great read out loud book with the focus on celebrating the holiday with fun, family activities and seasonal traditions.  This narrative superbly captures the build up and excitement of trick-or-treating on Halloween night.  I love how the story ends with the little girl imagining what she will be next year.   I, too, remember beginning to think about what I would be for the next Halloween before all my candy was even eaten! 

Jeoffry’s Halloween (ages 6-11) by Mary Bryant Bailey (fantasy fiction)
Jeoffry (a cat) along with his dog companion follow a pair of costumed trick or treaters through a rural area.  Told through the cat’s perspective, the book is written in lively poetic form.   The illustrations are in soft autumn hues that portray a dream-life tone.  Jeoffry’s Halloween is in large part an imaginative one.  For instance, he hears “ghostly wings beat[ing] in the mist” but from the text and pictures it is clear he is really seeing huddled geese in the pond.  There are wonderful sound devices like alliteration (“bristly bandits in a brawl”) as well as rhyme.  This book is a magical and mesmerizing tale to be enjoyed by all ages. 

* The books above have children dressed as witches, ghosts, and other mythical figures, but all the pictures are playful (not at all malevolent or fiendish). 

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