Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Picture Books for Halloween

Trick or Treat, Marley!
While I absolutely loved Grogan's original novel, I have felt so-so about the picture book series. The things that happen in the stories are just as funny as those in the novel, but they are just too wordy and stiff for preschoolers. In this one, Marley's family is trying to host a Halloween party, with Marley 'helping' along the way. I would use it as a one-on-one read-aloud, when you have plenty of time to just talk about the pictures and what Marley is doing, in between reading the text.
What Was That? (Splat the Cat Series)
Lift-the-flap books are usually popular with the younger set, but this was a bit disappointing. Rather than the inside of each flap answering a question or in some way relating to the outside, the publishers just seem to have taken a regular picture book and alternated the pages that way. I think it would have worked better as a plain old picture book, as the story is still cute. Seymour disappears into a haunted house, and Splat and Spike must go in and find him. Again, I think this would work best as a one-on-one.
Monsters on the Loose!: A Seek and Solve Mystery!
Here's one I can recommend! C., in second grade now, has recently discovered seek-and-find books, so this one was right up his alley. The second in a series by Bruce Hale and Dave Garbot, the illustrations are not quite as tiny and detailed as Where's Waldo or Marzollo's I Spy books, but still busy enough to keep him searching for a bit. In the Seek and Solve series, readers are given pictures of suspects for some sort of crime, and follow a detective-type character as he searched for clues. These are summed up on a final page before the answer is revealed. A great start for those who might be frustrated by the other series we mentioned.
Halloween Night
Saving the best for last, this title by Marjorie Daniels Murray will be working its way into our read-aloud list. Silly and just a little bit creepy, an easy cadence loosely following the pattern of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Brandon Dorman's illustrations are wonderful, managing to be both colorful and dark atthe same time. Kids will enjoy picking out all the gory details (my favorite is the happy little rat peeking out of the soup du jour.)
Thank-you to HarperCollins for these Halloween treats!

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