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October 22, 2009 Edition

Big Pumpkin, by Erica Silverman, illustrated by S.D. Schindler


This oldie but goodie features a witch who wanted a pumpkin pie for Halloween, so she planted a pumpkin seed. She watered it and tended it carefully, and the pumpkin that grew there was the biggest pumpkin she’d ever seen. It was so big that she couldn’t move it! Neither could the ghost, or the vampire, or the mummy… Will there be no pumpkin pie? But wait! Here comes the bat!

Ghosts in the House! written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara


What do you do if your new house is haunted? If you’re the resourceful young girl in this Halloween-colored book, you’ll don your witch’s hat (while your cat puts on his witch-cat suit), and get to work capturing startled ghosts. And what do you do with ghosts once you’ve caught them? This young witch knows that, too! Crisply drawn in 3 colors (orange, black, and white), this is so cheery that even the ghosts are smiling by the end.

The Ghost Catcher, by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, illustrated by Kristen Balouch


Not exactly a Halloween story, this traditional Bengali folktale is still full of ghostly scariness. In a small village in Bengal lives a kindhearted barber who hates to ask his poor customers to pay him. His wife, though she loves him for his generous heart, is tired of not having enough to feed their family, and so she tells him to leave until he can promise they won’t go hungry again. When the barber gets to the next village, he goes to sleep under a tree with a ghost in it – and wakes up just before the ghost eats him up! But the barber is both brave and smart and he finds a way to save himself, provide for his family, and still have enough to share with others.

Bats at the Library, written and illustrated by Brian Lies


An ode to the power of books and the cute side of bats, this is another not-strictly Halloween book that will work well for kids unwilling to be scared but eager to participate in the theme. Someone has left a window ajar at the public library and joyful bats swoop in to enjoy a night with books. Some head to the “fine dining” section (insects) while others make paper airplanes out of photocopies of themselves, hold impromptu book group discussions, and play in the water fountain. But it’s storytime that draws everyone together: Peter Rab-bat, Little Red Riding Bat, Good-night Sun, and many more favorites are read to the little ones before the sky glows and it’s time to leave. Lies pictures are beautifully detailed and imagined, from the water wings on one young bat (from a previous bat book) to the games the bats play.

Do Not Build a Frankenstein! written and illustrated by Neil Numberman


There are many good reasons to build a Frankenstein: he can push you higher on the swings than anyone else and he never gets tired of giving piggy back rides. He’d love to be your best friend! But there are plenty of reasons NOT to build one, too: he’ll scare off all your old friends and your pets, break your toys, and NEVER get tired of being around you, even when you want to be alone. The new kid in the neighborhood knows all this from personal experience – and when his Frankenstein shows up at the playground, he fears the worst!

Vera’s Halloween, by Vera Rosenberry


Vera’s very excited to be finally old enough to go trick-or-treating with her big sisters after dark this Halloween. She’s dressed up as a mummy, her big sisters are a bat and a witch, and their dad is a devil with a red cape. Everything is going well until Vera’s mummy wrappings come undone and she stops to refasten them – then she realizes she’s not with her family any more. She spots a red cape going around a corner and follows it, but the guy wearing it isn’t her dad. It starts to rain and then the rain turns to snow, and soon Vera’s cold, wet, and lost! But when she knocks on the door of a house with lots of jack-o-lanterns on the porch, she finds a friend and ends up having a wonderful end to a scary Halloween.

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