The traditional fairy tale gets a Halloween update and an adoption twist.
Readers paying attention will notice the setup at the start of the tale: The haunted house the Scares live in is big enough for four but houses only three: Papa Scare (Frankenstein’s monster), Mama Scare (a green-skinned mummy with Bride-of-Frankenstein hair), and Baby Scare (a tiny, redheaded, pale-skinned vampire tot). Papa’s recipe makes four servings of Alpha-Bat Soup; Mama wishes for an assistant to help her in the lab; and Baby wants a playmate. On this night, the soup is too hot to eat, so the three take ghost-dog Plasma out for a walk. Meanwhile, Moldilocks, a green-skinned, black-haired zombie girl, is sleepwalking, her nose drawing her toward the smell of soup…and home. The rest unspools as the familiar tale does, albeit with some interesting décor in the house and a fly that may be Moldilocks’ pet. The dark and spooky spread in which Moldilocks awakens to find the Scares’ shadows looming over her (“How dare you…”) resolves on the next page with a warm welcome into the family: “…eat without us!” “And they lived hauntingly ever after.” Lorenzo’s acrylic-and–colored-pencil illustrations feature rich and vivid colors; lots of bones, skulls, and spiderwebs make up most of the home’s ambience.
How this unusual family finds exactly what they were missing makes for a satisfying tale. (Picture book. 4-8)