I happen to have three little monsters of my own, and when we flip the calendar to October each year, the Halloween excitement begins to build. The bookshelves are raided for the collection of Halloween books that we’ve accumulated over the years, and the talk of all things spooky begins. Even the almost-two year old is getting into the fun this year, especially when we walk by the ‘Spooky House’ in our neighborhood all decked out in spider webs and orange glowing lights. It’s fun to find books that can reach a wide variety of children’s ages, and Jennifer and I both have had some fun looking at a few new titles that fit the Halloween bill.
Cathy MacLennan’s Spooky, Spooky, Spooky features adorable images of all sorts of spooky creatures from the “velvety velvety bats” to the “horrible howling cats” that are fall fare, using rhyme and alliteration in a simple story that’s quite fun to read aloud. When a Halloween twist comes in the last few pages, my own youngest children giggle with delight. I have found this to be a perfect book to introduce the concept of Halloween dressing up to the little ones a fun, and truly not scary way.
For a little more sophisticated story, there is a lot of humor to be found in Amanda Noll’s I Need My Monster. While not specifically tied to Halloween, this book still will be grouped with our own Halloween collection simply for the monster presence. A clever premise is found here- when young Ethan climbs into bed for the night he notices a note from his resident under-the-bed-monster, Gabe, who has decided to go fishing for a week. Ethan immediately begins to worry that he will never be able to go to sleep with a monster under there, for as he says, “The whole point of having a monster, after all, was to keep me in bed, imagining all the scary stuff that could happen if I got out.” As new monsters show up on the scene to fill in for Gabe, Ethan dismisses them time and time again for their lack of Gabe’s scare factor. Like I said, a bit more sophisticated and best shared, perhaps, with my own youngest children in a few years, when they will be more able to understand the humor and appreciate the details in the elaborate monster illustrations.
The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme is not quite what I (Jennifer) expected. I’m not sure what I expected, but this oversized 50-page book begins with a poem from the monsterologist assuring the reader “if monsters are what interest you, the how and why of what they do, I know the facts: What’s false, what’s true, since I’m a monsterologist.” The subsequent pages feature the monster’s reports (in verse of course) about various monsters he’s encountered: trolls, golems, Cyclops, ghosts, the yeti, and even the suds-surfing sock-eater. It’s a book that is sure to captivate the school-age child’s interested in monsters, and perhaps expose him (or her) to some poetry that he might not usually read.