Monthly Archives: September 2020

2020 Autumn/Halloween Picture Book Round Up

I was already organizing our bookshelves at home when I was a young boy, and there was a special chunk of books on the shelves for Halloween/Autumn. Some of my favorite books throughout childhood were in the Halloween/Autumn collection. I fondly remember one of them about a haunted house that had special ink lines drawn and it would grown in the dark. Those were the days!

And I’d be remiss not to share the crop of Autumn/Halloween books that have come out in the last few months. Most have not gotten the spotlight they deserve due to all else that’s going on in the world right now. So take some time to find these at a local bookseller or library near you.

I grew up in Iowa, so by the time October 31 rolled around and it was time to trick or treat, we were facing temperatures that required a thick winter coat. Seriously, Mom?! … Sometimes Mom had so many layers covering us, nobody could guess what our costume was. Finally, John Loren has put the very real struggle into this clever book. A boy is very worked up that he must not only dress up, but also must bundle up.

Another all-too-common childhood experience (sometimes seemingly traumatic) is that of losing a first tooth. Is Young Vampire ready to lose his first fang? And, is he really a vampire once it’s gone? Anxieties, troubles, and charming resolution make this book a winner.

Speaking of Vampires, what happens when one is just too sweet and can’t muster up what it takes to pass a scare (zcare) test? An import that’s certain to delight with a surprise ending.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the treacherous, repetitive song of The Ants Go Marching… Maybe it’s the minor key? Maybe it’s the sense of doom – as they all go marching down- to the ground- to get out- of the rain—- Nevertheless, Kim Norman and Jay Fleck have won me over with these fresh lyrics (Can you imagine a group of children shouting Boo-Rah! Boo-Rah!? Clever!)- A fun parade of ghouls and ghosts and everything in between, I’ve a new appreciation for the tune.

This happy accident and spill over of pumpkins fresh from the patch is no match for this group of children’s resourcefulness and resilience. When a field trip goes wrong, a smart and determined group of children make it right. Stephanie Fizer Coleman’s illustrations add an extra layer of joy to the story.

Contraire to The Ants Go Marching, I’m quite fond of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. So you pair Lynn Munsinger’s delightful illustrations with a text about finding the perfect pumpkin, and you’ve got a winner. Bonus points if you can be creative and do the actions along with it.

This one isn’t new, but it’s been newly released in board book format, and after a test run on my toddler twin nieces, it’s perfectly suitable for that format. Michael’s art has always charmed me, and this book is no exception. Sheer Halloween fun, now condensed down for the littlest and most curious hands.

Poor Christopher- everyone wants – and expects him to be scary like all the other pumpkins. But Christopher isn’t having it. So it’s amazing that he finds his own way to stand out and pave a path to be different- much to everyone else’s ultimate delight.

Foil, die cut, limited palette- and a very soothing and calm story about a girl and a little kitten on Halloween night. Forget the frights and the funnies, this one is here to warm up your heart (and who doesn’t need that these days?) You add in a rescue plot of a cute kitten and you’ve got yourself something irresistible.

Halloween? In the Arctic? Pumpkins only get there by flying- and while the window is very small and we’re left yearning to learn and know and see more (maybe that’ll be up to us), we see how Halloween is celebrated (yes, celebrated) in the Arctic Inuit community. A bit of Inuit folklore is included.