Overall, Leppanen’s collection of 15 poems—some clever, some funny, some creepy and some ho-hum—should get kids in a Halloween frame of mind.
On October 31st, just about anything can happen, as these selections prove. Readers can consider what they would do if their shadows stopped following them or how they would cope with a wickedly grinning monster that they notice only when brushing their teeth before bed (it’s perched on this child’s head). Some poems allow kids to ponder how different life might be if it was always populated with such creepy creatures. If their mothers were mummies, would they serve “worms on toast” for breakfast or pack “spider eggs for lunch”? Do pingpong-playing skeletons get the shivers, since they are nothing but bones? Is it ever a good idea to invite a ravenously hungry ghoul into the house? Does it make sense that witches ride mops instead of broomsticks when it rains? Carpenter digitally illustrates each poem with a double-page spread saturated with bright colors against the relatively darker backgrounds of nighttime. His cartoon characters comically display the slight frights they experience.
But nothing is new or truly exciting here, leaving this average effort lacking in tricks or treats. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)