Sinclair’s (The Three Little Pigs, 2014) charmingly child-friendly rhyming ode hails spooky (but never scary) monsters.
In the fall, after the sun goes down, that’s when the spooky things have their fun. Under the light of a full moon, early independent readers and lap readers see a scarecrow, ghosts, and a mummy in a local graveyard. The mummy and ghosts travel to the home of the local mad scientist, working to raise his monster, while a hungry spider and a skeleton join the throng. After leaving the mad scientist’s house, the wandering monsters meet a werewolf, a witch, and a sea monster in a mud bath. In the illustrations, the poor skeleton nearly loses his head in the mud, giving readers an opportunity to invent fun stories of their own about the monsters. Finally, they all arrive at the castle of a “dapper” vampire, who’s waiting for them to arrive at his big Halloween party. Sinclair’s rhymes are easy and consistent (she offers an afterword following the story to introduce concepts of iambic tetrameter to both beginning readers and their parents). While these don’t offer much in the way of plot, there are plenty of great visuals and new vocabulary words for the young audience: “These playful ghosts cannot resist— / They frolic in the graveyard mist!” Several of the illustrations feature hidden details—at the party, there are giant flies in the punch, for example—so that, while the images are in a brightly colored, cartoonish style, there’s definitely enough detail to keep lap readers going over them again and again for future readings.
There are plenty of Halloween titles out there, but for families looking to read a no-scare celebration of the season, Sinclair’s comfortable rhymes and kooky pictures are an excellent choice.