A rhyming Halloween seek-and-find book gives readers some practice counting from one to 13 (natch).
“There’s a party at Mr. Pumpkin’s tonight, / a banquet with friends in autumn twilight. / And at this soirée we’ll see and we’ll find / ghoulish delights of every kind.” The host himself contributes a beautifully decorated cake, and each of the seven guests brings increasing numbers of treats to the table, from Sir Bones’ two jugs of cider to Baron Laguna’s 12 balloons. Bats, cups of tea, and singing frogs round out the counting, which ends with the clock striking 13 and the end of the party. Barker’s illustrations are a delight, the spooky details softened by a cartoonish treatment and soft color palette; nothing here is threatening or too scary. But the text doesn’t live up to the artwork. The clever character names are sure to go over the heads of readers still interested in finding and counting items in the pictures, and scansion and meaning sometimes take a back seat to the rhythm and rhyme. As a result, the word order can be confusing for young children: “Follow six lamps— / to the house they will lead.”
Visually sparkling—but with a text that doesn’t always suit the audience. (Picture book. 3-6)