Debut author Morning casts a cheery spell with this endearingly inventive children’s fantasy.
Preslean is thrilled to be one of the pumpkin fairies, a group of Halloween fairies led by her grandmother, Mother Pumpkin. Under Mother Pumpkin’s orders, the fairies plan to grant children’s Halloween wishes and exchange their candy for wholesome baskets of fruit. As Halloween approaches, though, Preslean’s mind is on more than healthy eating and smiling children—she yearns to outshine the other fairies and win Mother Pumpkin’s favor once and for all. But when a storm strikes on Halloween night, Preslean finds her assigned neighborhood filled with crying children and unlit jack-o’-lanterns. She thinks she knows how to make the evening brighter, but it just might mean breaking the rules in the pumpkin fairy handbook. Could it be worth it to give the crying children candy even if it might jeopardize her standing with Mother Pumpkin? Perfect for children who’ve found the rules at odd with their morality, this warmhearted fairy tale is a Halloween treat. Adults will welcome the surprisingly nuanced conclusion, and children will embrace the alluringly magical world in which Preslean’s predicament unfolds. The tooth fairy–meets-Halloween premise may be charming, but its execution can feel hasty. The prose is fairly short on dialogue and description, which tends to make the scenes feel narrated and explained rather than fully brought to life. The problem is complicated by the relative shortage of illustrations, yet the unusual plot and unexpected ending still manage to stand out amid the slew of ghosts and goblins that populate the bookshelves each October. Compassionate, competitive Preslean is a lovable heroine, but it’s the moral—following the rules and doing the right thing are not always synonymous—that makes this picture book worth reading.
A sweet, offbeat Halloween tale that enchants in spite of some stylistic shortcomings.