Should readers tag along with an amiable bear into a haunted house? Absolutely!
Closely following the sing-along structure of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” bear narrates his journey from one place in the house to another. “Through the first haunted doorway / I peeked right in to see… / A bat hanging from a bare tree.” Young ones will immediately respond to the challenge, hunting for the image(s) and counting to make sure they have found what the bear has spied. The usual Halloween characters are here: witches, black cats, skeletons, jack-o’-lanterns, ghosts and so on. Even though the illustrations do little to break new ground, Pamintuan knows his preschool and learning-to-read audience. As bear goes to each part of the house, all the creatures come with him, so readers need to sing and find them all again and again. The cumulative repetition creates a scavenger-hunt experience that engages children and their grown-ups alike. The hunt grows more challenging as the number of spooky critters increases, and the humorously detailed scenes become busier all the way to the final gatefold. For those who do not want the fun to end, turn the last page to discover even more hidden items “throughout the haunted house.”
This peek-and-find story is sure to please. (Picture book. 3-6)