Ward and Gray exchange the little old lady for an old mummy, and the book gets pleasantly goofy from there.
Cartoon illustrations with Technicolor clarity follow a round-eyed mummy as he traipses from the cemetery to a haunted house. Along the way he swallows a spider, rat, crow, bone, brew, witch, and a ghost. Obviously the narrator doesn’t “know why he swallowed the spider,” but the rhyme always ends with an odd “Open wider!” Even though the transitions from item to consumed item seem a bit arbitrary, young readers will focus on the comic details and opportunity to chime in with the familiar song. Fortunately for sensitive children, all the live creatures that end up in the mummy’s tummy appear to be getting along well enough. Just remember: “There was an old mummy— / this story is true. / You’d better look out, / or he’ll swallow… // YOU, too! / BOO!”
For preschoolers who want a Halloween book that is more silly than scary. (Picture book. 4-6)