Halloween night brings an epic battle between hordes of “SKUL-A-MUG-MUGS” (skeletons) and the “tyke-tots” (children) who want to go out trick-or-treating.
Heidbreder crafts his tale in rhyming nonsensical text, while Martz illustrates in a cartoon style with a strict palette of black, grays, white, yellow, orange and reds. Set against the dark night, the menacing skeletons boast how they will “brain-frizz tall-bigs. / Halloween they’ll deep nix. / They’ll shup-clup inside / nasty Noras and Nicks!” But the costumed kids rally—they are not “splooked-out” like their parents. On a vibrantly red double-page spread, the two forces splendidly clash on a neighborhood street: “The scare-fest crish-crashed, / up-over-round under… // …but strong-sure tyke-tots / out movvered SKUL thunder.” Soon the skeletons disappear, adults shake off their fears, and the children resume their Halloween quest for candy. All ends well on a high fueled by the exciting victory and the profusion of “sweet-treats.” Some readers will enjoy puzzling out the meanings of the many made-up words or simply relish how the language sounds when read aloud. But others may not be up to the task of so much decoding, even if the impeccably detailed pictures help provide much-needed clues to the action.
This Dylan Thomas–Dr. Seuss–Lewis Carroll love child has the power to enrapture, with lots of practice. (Picture book. 5-8)