Award-winning storyteller Harley serves up hilarious high jinks squirming with Halloween trouble.
Charlie Bumpers is back on the scene, scaring himself into another life lesson with his fourth-grade friends. Tommy and Charlie always take their pesky little sisters trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. This year, though, the boys make big plans to wangle an invitation to their friend Alex’s party. Every kid dreams of snatching up full-sized candy bars in those upscale neighborhoods. But when Charlie discovers that the scariest movie ever will be shown at the sleepover, panic ensues. In an effort to prepare Charlie for the movie, older brother Matt gleefully shares the story of Simon Purslip, the long-fingered man who snatched people off the streets. The emotions shown in Gustavson’s ink-and-wash illustrations propel the storytelling further. Harley deftly covers the territory of unintended consequences, as a boy with good intentions ends up with a stolen costume idea, scary stories every day of the week and even less candy than before. Readers will empathize with the fear of being the most frightened kid in the room. Charlie’s thoughts and feelings are universal, making his realistic situation a learning experience for more than just the main character.
Life is the best teacher, and if Charlie can survive all the troubles that come his way, maybe others can too. (Fiction. 7-10)