Thursday, October 6, 2022

Five New Halloween Board Books

My twins, who are my youngest, are two-and-a-half now, so our board book days are dwindling, but I couldn't resist requesting these festive fall titles before our family leaves this stage of reading behind us. These are five brand-new board books perfect for celebrating Halloween with little ones under three. 

I'm a Little Pumpkin, written by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Anna Daviscourt, is a pumpkin-themed take on the classic children's song, I'm a Little Teapot. Following the rhythm of that song, a series of cartoonish pumpkins in different shapes and colors introduce themselves and show how they greet the autumn season. The illustrations use vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red, and green to depict foliage, vines, and a barnyard setting. The text uses a couple of slanted rhymes ("am" and stem;" "striped" and "types") but it can be sung to the original tune without difficulty, which is a big plus for anyone wanting to share this book with a group.  This book doesn't directly reference Halloween, so it can be read all fall long, and it's also suitable for families who choose not to celebrate Halloween.

The text of The Monsters on the Broom, written by Annemarie Riley Guertin and illustrated by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn, is another piggyback song, this time based on The Wheels on the Bus. A group of little monsters travels down the street on Halloween night, and each one makes a signature soumd as they try out the witch's broom. This is a fun one to do in a group setting, too, because of the opportunities to make lots of fun noises. The pictures use lots of black and purple to suggest a nighttime setting, and hints of orange and gold, as well as blue, give the book just a hint of spooky Halloween flavor.  I like this one because it makes some of the spooky characters associated with Halloween look a bit silly, which helps dispel any fears little ones might have. 

Truck or Treat written by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Jen Taylor, is a lift-the-flap book as well as a guessing game. Each truck at a construction site is dressed in costume. Using visual and textual clues, readers are invited to guess the identity of each one. The writing in some sections of this book feels a little clunky because there are too many syllables in some of the lines, but the concept is great, and even the costume ideas for the different trucks are appealing to little guys who love vehicles. Reading this book is also a fun way to introduce the names of some of the diggers kids love if they don't know them already.

Monsters Play... Peekaboo, written and illustrated by Flavia Z. Drago, is another lift-the-flap book with a guessing game format. In this one, every character, from a werewolf to a banshee, is dressed as a ghost, and readers are invited to guess, again using textual clues as well as some visual hints, who is hidden beneath each white sheet.  The refrain of "eek-a-peek-a-peekaboo" is really fun to say, and kids will enjoy repeating it. Some of the monsters have fairly common children's first names as their names, too, which means reading this in a group setting might make some fun personal connections. My daughters were tickled that my son's name in appears in the book.  The ending also has a hint of a humorous surprise which I really enjoyed.

Flavia Z. Drago is also the author and illustrator of Monsters Play... Counting. In this one, readers are invited to act like various monsters,  eating, swinging, reading, fluttering, and even brushing teeth as they do. These monsters also have ordinary first names. The rhyming text is very well done, and it's pretty obvious from each illustration which number is the focus of each spread. These monsters also aren't scary, which is great for timid little ones. 

Thanks to Candlewick for review copies of the Monsters Play... books and to Little Simon for review copies of the other titles mentioned in this post. 

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