Rhyming call-and-response text propels this light trick-or-treating adventure to its pleasant end, where even the youngest child learns how to say “boo!”
Hood establishes a predictable, interactive rhythm from the get-go: “If the ghosts in the trees / wibble-wobble your knees, / what do you say? // BOO!” After this pattern is repeated a few times, the answers begin to vary, presumably in an attempt to further engage young readers. When wet leaves tug on sleeves, the children say, “Eww!” Or when an adult dressed as a skeleton offers candy to the costumed characters, they say, “Thank you!” Henry’s rather pedestrian illustrations, many of which have a washed-out sepia effect with muted oranges, yellows and browns, lack the vibrancy reflected in the text. The main trio of children—a vampire bat, witch and shark—are cute enough, though, particularly the pudgy little shark.
This wholesome, well-intentioned effort may result in an enthusiastic response even if the plot is a bit thin and the pictures fail to truly inspire. (Picture book. 2-5)