A Halloween anatomy lesson sure to tickle funny bones.

SKELLY'S HALLOWEEN

“Head and shoulders, knees and toes. / Trick-or-treating, here we goes!”

Skelly Bones Skeleton is excited for Halloween; after all, skeletons sleep the whole rest of the year, so he likes to really live it up on Halloween. But what should his costume be this year? Not a witch—he couldn’t stay on the broomstick. Not a monster—too scary. A ghost! In no time, he’s ready to go. Only he hadn’t planned on the wind, which catches his sheet and lofts him up and then drops him…in separate pieces. And in a twist that will remind readers of “Humpty Dumpty,” the other trick-or-treaters can’t put Skelly back together correctly—they make him look like them: a snake, an ant, and a chicken. Finally some human kids come by. They’re at first scared by the pile of bones (more so when it talks!), but Skelly convinces them he’s friendly and needs a hand, and once he’s back together, they all set off trick-or-treating together. Richmond’s illustrations, done with pen and ink, foam stamp, and Photoshop, use a palette heavy on purple, orange, and green. Skelly’s personality shines, his eyebrows and mouth doing much of the emoting. The skeleton is an unconnected group of bones, most long and skinny save for the pelvis, which resembles tighty whities, and the skull. The three children include a brown-skinned girl skeleton, a pale-skinned pirate with glasses, and a beige-skinned chef.

A Halloween anatomy lesson sure to tickle funny bones. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-12706-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A laugh-inducing Halloween read-along.

THE CRAYONS TRICK OR TREAT

The Crayons return in time for Halloween as vampire-costumed Purple coaches the dressed-up wax pack through its first trick-or-treating venture.

It takes five houses’ worth of door-knocks for this skeleton crew of seven to perfect the protocol, with enough outlandish flubs to generate giggles in Halloween-savvy preschoolers. At Door No. 1, Orange, dressed as a jack-o’-lantern, says, “Give us your candy, Lady.” At the next, the gang, encouraged by Purple to “think holiday,” responds with an impressive array of misguided greetings, including “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy American Cheese Month!” Later, White, levitating impressively in a ghost costume, overreacts to Halloween’s “scary” aspect by overwhelming residents with a “BOO!” Peach, unnamed here but recognizably wrapperless from the initial title, exuberantly (and inappropriately) repeats, “I’m naked!” Finally, the troupe perfects its treat-inducing line, though a certain ghost cannot resist an ad lib. This excursion, like many of the holiday-themed Crayon books, has a smaller trim size, a lower price point, and far less complexity than Daywalt and Jeffers’ first two Crayon titles. Still, the pair deftly let young children in on the jokes through funny, hand-lettered dialogue and the visually telegraphed, all-in haplessness of this well-branded band. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A laugh-inducing Halloween read-along. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-62102-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

HOW TO CATCH A WITCH

Another holiday title (How To Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Elkerton, 2017) sticks to the popular series’ formula.

Rhyming four-line verses describe seven intrepid trick-or-treaters’ efforts to capture the witch haunting their Halloween. Rhyming roadblocks with toolbox is an acceptable stretch, but too often too many words or syllables in the lines throw off the cadence. Children familiar with earlier titles will recognize the traps set by the costume-clad kids—a pulley and box snare, a “Tunnel of Tricks.” Eventually they accept her invitation to “floss, bump, and boogie,” concluding “the dance party had hit the finale at last, / each dancing monster started to cheer! / There’s no doubt about it, we have to admit: / This witch threw the party of the year!” The kids are diverse, and their costumes are fanciful rather than scary—a unicorn, a dragon, a scarecrow, a red-haired child in a lab coat and bow tie, a wizard, and two space creatures. The monsters, goblins, ghosts, and jack-o'-lanterns, backgrounded by a turquoise and purple night sky, are sufficiently eerie. Still, there isn’t enough originality here to entice any but the most ardent fans of Halloween or the series. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not enough tricks to make this a treat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72821-035-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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