A beautifully illustrated, energetic, imaginative tale that shows a side of Halloween monsters that readers rarely think...




With an array of party food and good friends, witches give thanks just like the rest of us—only with roast warthog instead of turkey—in Ezpeleta’s picture book.

We’ve all heard stories about witches’ dastardly activities on Halloween night, but how do they celebrate other holidays, such as Thanksgiving? According to Ezpeleta, they celebrate in much the same way as regular people—with feasting. But the witches’ feast is made from yucky ingredients such as “A batch of toadstools / Found deep in the wood, / Toenails of snails / Would surely taste good.” But Thanksgiving isn’t just about gorging on warthog with rat tail gravy; for witches, like everyone else, holidays are about friends and family. Though the witches may not share our menus, they do offer gratitude for the same things. “ 'But mostly for friends' / Goblets raised ov’r head / 'A toast to good friends,' / They drank wine, blood red.” These witches, while horrifying on Halloween night, may be mistaken for friendly grandmothers by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Grizelda the witch and her friends spare no effort to make their Thanksgiving feast memorable. Children will adore the gory images of disgusting ingredients making their way into the stew pot, while parents will appreciate the message of love embedded in the story. Ezpeleta, a children’s author with a master’s degree in teaching, offers rhymes that are funny, entertaining and easy to read out loud. A few of the lines are awkward, as if the rhyming word was forced into place instead of grown organically from the text, but overall the cadence is regular and word choice is appropriate. Romanian illustrator Budeanu livens up the text with bizarre, visually attractive pictures of witches gathering ingredients, cooking the feast, greeting friends and stuffing themselves. The pictures also feature a cast of characters—bats, cats and creepy crawlies—that make each reading feel fresh.

A beautifully illustrated, energetic, imaginative tale that shows a side of Halloween monsters that readers rarely think about—witches need friends, too.

Pub Date: June 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4611-4665-0

Page Count: 27

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 6, 2011

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.


From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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