Who needs candy? These four new treats will satisfy picture book fans hungry for Halloween fun.
While delivering invitations to his Halloween party, ghost Oliver, star of Leo Landry’s Trick or Treat, doesn’t notice when one slips away and floats down to two boys. When “a little cow and a little jack-o’-lantern” unexpectedly arrive at the party (along with real witches, skeletons, and bats), will Oliver be welcoming or scare the kids away? Jovial watercolor and pencil illustrations decorate this not-spooky ghost story. (Houghton, 3–6 years)
The star of Anne Marie Pace’s Vampirina Ballerina may look different from her ballet-school classmates (fangs, for one thing), but deep down she’s just like any other budding ballerina. Aside from a few vampire-student-specific tips, Pace’s text reads like an advice book for any young dancer, with the inspirational message that passion, dedication, and patience can have beautiful results. LeUyen Pham’s watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations offer plenty of visual jokes for both vampire fans and balletomanes. (Disney-Hyperion, 3–6 years)
Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta opens at midnight as a small, stealthy figure creeps through a house. The nimble ninja is gradually revealed to be an imaginative young boy on the prowl for a midnight snack. Illustrator Ed Young’s cut-paper and cloth illustrations imbue mystery, beauty, and emotion into the story as it moves from the boy’s imagination to reality. (Little, Brown, 3–6 years)
In Kate Duke’s Ready for Pumpkins, guinea pig Hercules, a first-grade classroom pet, learns from the students about Halloween, pumpkins, and growing plants. While spending summer vacation in the country, Herky, with help from his new rabbit friend, decides to plant pumpkin seeds—and learns about patience. He returns to school eager to share his new knowledge. Humorous and lively illustrations enhance the simple, relatable story. (Knopf, 3–6 years)
From the October 2012 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.