It’s that time of year that children of all ages love to celebrate. Kids look forward to dressing up in costumes and, of course, receiving candy. Here are some great books to help with this celebration during the month of October. All of these books, with the exception of the first and last books, are picture books and are good for ages four through eight.
Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil (The Creation* The Inspiration* The Fascination), compiled and annotated by Jen Darcy, is a beautifully bound and oversized book featuring the main bad characters from Disney and Pixar movies. Some of the characters included are the evil queen from Snow White, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, the wolf from Peter and the Wolf and Syndrome from The Incredibles. There are eleven chapters, each following a theme, and each chapter features the main villains from nine to eleven movies. Each chapter has a colored edge highlighting that chapter making it an easy access to locate movies. There are also quick fun facts about most of these movies as well as drawings from drawing boards and actor fill-in shots. Each movie lists the actors who voiced the villain as well as the animator. This would be the perfect book to be lying on a living room table for all to enjoy.
Enzo’s Very Scary Halloween, by Garth Stein, and beautifully and uniquely illustrated capturing the essence of fall with pen, ink, pencil, watercolor, gouache, acrylics and coffee spills on paper by R. W. Alley, showcases adorable Enzo, Danny and Zoe’s dog. Enzo sees his entire neighborhood being transformed into a different place when everyone decorates their yards and front doors for Halloween. When Halloween finally arrives, Enzo is also transformed into a dragon. He begins to think all of the ghosts and goblins are real. This fun story is perfect for bedtime reading.
Mitchell and the Moon, by R. W. Alley, is a Halloween adventure with four siblings heading out for trick-or treat. The youngest, Gretchen, is concerned that the moon has gone missing. What takes place with Gretchen and her oldest brother is exciting and takes them beyond the moon. The pictures are, once again, wonderful where Mr. Alley used ink, pencils, watercolors, gouache and acrylic, creating the hues of pale oranges, browns and greens. You can almost hear the crisp leaves rustling on the ground.
The Big Monster Snorey Book, by Leigh Hodgkinson, is the perfect monster book for little ones who are afraid of those large and small beasts. There are monsters who snore and monsters who jibber-jabber; monsters who tippy-tap and some who scritch and scratch. The plethora of alliterations infiltrate throughout the book. The clever illustrations, digitally done, are created with a plethora of thick and thin lines, multicolored hues and a variety of vividly colored behemoths. This book is just what the doctor ordered to bring smiles and giggles – instead of fright and fear.
Go To Sleep, Monster!, by Kevin Cornell, is another book to lighten the monster idea. George can’t sleep because he thinks there’s a monster under his bed. But that monster can’t sleep because there’s a monster under the floor. It continues as each monster below is having difficulty sleeping due to another monster. The final page will surely help youngsters feel safe throughout their sleep. The illustrations are full page and full of expression.
Frankencrayon, by Michael Hall, has several crayons ready to tell a tale. But first they let the reader know that this book has been cancelled so “close the book and find something else to read.” The story takes on a plot similar to Frankenstein where a scribble suddenly appears. The townspeople (actually different colors of crayons) are alarmed and look for help to erase the scribble. But more colors of scribble appear. The unique illustrations (much like Hall’s well received “Red: A Crayon’s Story) were digitally created and combined with colored crayon drawings as well as cut paper. I’m becoming a huge fan of this author!
The Mystery of the Haunted Farm, by Elys Dolan, is a silly, funny story that will be a fun story to read out loud. There are some strange goings-on on Farmer Greg’s farm. And can you guess who he ends up calling to locate the apparitions coming out of the barn? Ghost-Hunters! These specialists are pork-aline pigs that have just the equipment to solve the problem. Speech bubbles and hilarious innuendoes are found throughout this delightfully illustrated, mixed media, picture book.
Nibbles: The Book Monster, by Emma Yarlett, has this monster actually taking bites and nibbles out of the book. Before long, Nibbles has chewed his way out of the original book and into a fairy tale. Nibbles continues into Little Red Riding Hood where he saves the day. There are smaller books found within this book which includes the aforementioned as well as Goldilocks and Jack and the Beanstalk. As he continues to nibble his way through this book, parts of the book go missing. This is a very ingenious book and the cutouts where Nibbles nibbles throughout make it great fun.
This is Not a Werewolf Story, by Sandra Evans, is a beautifully written story that will be hard to put down. Raul is a boy who doesn’t want to talk to the other kids at his private school. When he does talk, everyone listens partly because it’s so rare. But it’s also because there is something very commanding and unusual about his presence. He has a secret and it lies in the woods. There is a mystery there and you will be reading to the end to discover what Raul already knows. Better read this book on nights you have time because you won’t want to stop! This book is good for ages nine and up.