Grabill and Okstad populate the familiar song “Over in the Meadow” with all manner of beasties and ghouls and things that go bump in the night.
“Yonder in the boneyard, / where the bats swoop and dive, / breathes an old granny zombie / with her peeling zombies five. / ‘Walk!’ seethes the granny. / ‘We’ll waltz,’ wheeze the five / as they lurch through the streets / crying ‘Ghouls, come alive!’ ” (Yes, the vocabulary is sometimes rather advanced.) From the lesser-known globster (a ghosty octopus), wood imps, and boggarts (not like at Hogwarts) to the more-common werewolves, mummies, and witches, readers will find all manner of Halloween characters in these pages. The scansion falls apart a bit in the last few spreads; one of each of the creatures surround a delighted young white girl in bed, disappointed that their plan to scare her has failed as they count from 10 back down to one, the girl collecting them up and transporting them back to the boneyard, where she tucks them in under a trompe l’oeil page corner. Okstad’s digital illustrations are creepy and use shadows to particularly good effect. But they don’t always match the text—the child “witchies” sport freckles rather than warts, and the zombies’ skin is not peeling.
A Halloween song that can break up the ghostly tales at storytime. (Picture book. 4-8)