Good friends Petal and Poppy alternate fears during Halloween night in their third series adventure.
Costumed as a horned, red, furry monster, rhino Poppy sneaks up on unsuspecting Petal to scare her. The incident leaves elephant Petal spooked and resistant to wearing a scary costume like her buddy. Poppy coaxes her into joining in, and Petal decides to dress up like a butterfly. Sharing a bicycle while on their way to a Halloween party, Petal is easily frightened by the costumed characters they encounter. Brave Poppy reminds Petal, “Do not be a scaredy-cat. They are only costumes.” A sudden crash leaves the pair stranded in front of a spooky house. Poppy is sure someone inside can help, but upon entering, Poppy’s nerve begins to weaken. (Petal remains outside.) While Poppy wanders inside, becoming increasingly frightened, a real ghost floats out to greet Petal. Thinking it is just a costume, Petal asks the creature for help fixing their bike. Clough’s use of repeated phrases will help build confidence in emergent readers, while Briant’s paneled cartoon illustrations ably show the swift and slightly comic role reversal. All ends well as creatures in costumes along with the real ghost gather at the Halloween party.
Although this husband and wife team put forth a good effort, the characters have only mild appeal when compared to the likes of Elephant and Piggie or Frog and Toad. (Graphic early reader. 4-8)