“1 little witch on a long, speedy broom” rescues eight others who are threatened by Halloween creatures…or dreary chores.
Although the first witch’s issue is a few cobwebs on a tomb in a graveyard, the other witches are chased by a skeleton, surprised by a ghost, disgusted by the foul breath of a werewolf, stalked by a snake, buzzed by a flying bat, or having their wares stolen by a goblin or mummy. Each rescued witch climbs onto that first, ridiculously long broom as the pages turn…and that’s about it. It’s easy enough to count the witches on the long broomstick, but this book really could have used something more—hidden creatures to find, more things to count, colors to name—to make it stand out. The already-weak execution of a Halloween counting book is further hampered by poor scansion that makes reading aloud a stuttering process: “5 little witches slurping supper in the sky / saw a mummy snatch another witch’s pumpkin pie. / ‘Ride with us!’ they yelled. ‘It’s safer way up high.’ ” The 10th and final witch is met when the overloaded broom crashes in front of a witch who is obviously a child dressed for trick-or-treating (she’s wearing a stereotypical green mask). Each witch is dressed in a different, bright color, and their skin tones, hairstyles, and ages are satisfyingly diverse; two sport glasses.
A Halloween counting book that doesn’t add up to much. (Picture book. 2-5)