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From the Trail Tales series

A haunted journey worth taking.

Two friends and their pup trek through a dark wood toward a haunted house.

Spooky but not-too-scary moments abound in this lift-the-flap board book. Each turn of the page or flip of the fold reveals the friends moving closer to the house in the distance; the opening spread looks like a map displaying the path to the house. During their journey, they cross a rickety bridge (complete with a troll), trudge across a dismal swamp, and tromp through a graveyard. When they arrive at the house, expecting a scare, they discover a raucous Halloween party. The rich vocabulary includes words like dismal, deserted, and rotting. There is plenty for eager eyes to observe and linger over on each page. Cutouts allow for animal faces to peek through pages that have been turned, and even the dog has its own experiences with critters and slightly frightening moments. All of the creatures of the night are nonthreatening—even adorable—which makes for age-appropriate scares. The illustrations are eye-catching, and the gatefolds allow for a playful approach to vertical space and height. One child has pale skin and red hair; the other, light-brown skin and dark hair. The suspense inherent in the journey, coupled with the positive relief of tension at the end, makes this a fun Halloween tale.

A haunted journey worth taking. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5019-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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