Board Book Roundup: Baby Horn BOO! 2022 Edition

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, published seasonally. You can find the previous installments here. Don’t miss Viki Ash’s primer “What Makes a Good Board Book?” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine.

Familiar songs, finger puppets and holes, counting, and flaps galore make these eleven new Halloween board books extra-entertaining for their toddler and preschooler audience. See also our annual “Horn BOO!” roundup of picture books from the September/October Horn Book Magazine, plus last week’s Guide/Reviews Database Book Bundle, “More Horn BOO! for Youuuuu.” Happy Halloween!

Vampire Baby!: A Hazy Dell Flap Book
by Elias Barks; illus. by Zoe Persico
Preschool    Hazy Dell    14 pp.    g
11/22    978-1-948931-35-9    $8.95

What kinds of creatures are hiding in Vampire Baby’s castle on Halloween night? Wander the property with this little fanged friend to find out! Each page poses a question about who is hidden from view; it’s then answered with verse when little fingers pry open the flap. A mix of creepy images (e.g., a rat crawling through a skull) and humorous ones (a handwritten sign on Vampire Baby’s door that reads “NO GARLIK”) provide the perfect balance of spooky and playful to make this an entertaining Halloween read-aloud for both young listeners and their caregivers.

Little Ghostie: Finger Puppet Book
illus. by Emily Dove
Preschool    Chronicle    14 pp.    g
9/22    978-1-7972-1288-3    $7.99

Prep those fingers for this interactive board book that takes young viewers and listeners on a tour of traditional Halloween sights with a fuzzy finger-puppet ghost as guide. Little Ghostie “flies” to a pumpkin patch, meets up with a group of witches and their cats, soars past haunted houses, and spots the glowing moon reflecting in water in the digital illustrations before arriving at a doorstep littered with candy, where it then wishes a Happy Halloween. Very young children will be enthralled by the movement of the finger puppet, while those with enough dexterity will enjoy controlling Little Ghostie while listening to the rhyming story, which also reinforces basic counting skills.

Monsters Play…Counting!
by Flavia Z. Drago; illus. by the author
Preschool    Candlewick    24 pp.    g
6/22    978-1-5362-2052-0    $8.99

Practice counting from one to ten with a motley crew of monsters! Simone uses her one long tongue to lick an ice cream cone. Brooke uses all three of her eyes to read a spooky book. What does Pete do with his seven feet? You’ll have to read this clever board book to find out! Bright illustrations of friendly-looking, happy monsters will delight readers of all ages, while also reinforcing number sense. Count on this book to be an enjoyable treat any time of year.

Monsters Play…Peekaboo!
by Flavia Z. Drago; illus. by the author
Preschool    Candlewick    24 pp.    g
6/22    978-1-5362-2053-7    $8.99

“Eek-a-peek-a”…who’s that hiding behind the flap? Can you figure out what goes arr-wooo, clackety-clack, swishy swoosh, and more? Seven creatures, a few of whom (e.g. Gorgon, banshee) aren’t typically included in children’s books, are dressed as ghosts, waiting to introduce themselves when readers open the sturdy flaps. Those familiar with Drago’s debut picture book, Gustavo, the Shy Ghost (rev. 9/20), will be tickled to see a familiar face revealed last. With alliterative language, onomatopoeia, and eye-catching illustrations, this monster-themed board book is sure to be a favorite October — and year-round — read.

Truck or Treat: A Spooky Book with Flaps
by Hannah Eliot; illus. by Jen Taylor
Preschool    Little Simon    18 pp.    g
9/22    978-1-6659-1597-7    $7.99

It’s Halloween night at the construction site and the hard-working trucks can’t wait to show off their costumes. Can you guess the true identity of each vehicle before lifting the flap for the big reveal? Preschoolers will love the creative costuming of a dinosaur dump truck, a recycling truck robot, a crane masquerading as a giraffe, plus three more, with the final appearance of a “monster” that normally isn’t spotted at a construction site (i.e., a monster truck). The large-eyed, anthropomorphized trucks are a treat to look at, while the rhyming clues about each machine trick young readers into practicing critical thinking skills.

Happy Owl-oween!
by Laura Gehl; illus. by Lydia Nichols
Preschool    Abrams Appleseed/Abrams    32 pp.    g
7/22    978-1-4197-4312-2    $14.99

Whooo’s ready for Halloween? The four owlets in this sweet picture book are excited to pick pumpkins, sip apple cider, craft costumes, and so much more as they get ready for Halloween night. After trick-or-treating, they sort and trade their candy before going to bed, exhausted and happy from celebrating. Though not technically a board book, this picture book uses short phrases and simple vocabulary, making it a good fit for preschoolers. The playful digital illustrations and rhyming text will make this a holiday favorite. Back matter includes two pages about the history of Halloween, clearly intended for older readers.

The Monsters on the Broom
by Annemarie Riley Guertin; illus. by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn
Preschool    Little Simon    14 pp.    g
7/22    978-1-6659-1146-7    $8.99

Warm up those voices and get ready to sing about monsters taking flight on Halloween night! Written to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus,” this shaped board book with vibrant illustrations follows the adventures of a witch, mummy, werewolf, ghost, and vampire as they ride a broomstick all through the town. Readers will oww oww ooowww, voo ha ha, and more along with this creepy crew, and adults will undoubtedly have the song stuck in their heads for days after reading. This book would enthrall preschool crowds during library story time, especially in the hands of a creative librarian.

Halloween Is a Treat! [Hello!Lucky]
by Sabrina Moyle; illus. by Eunice Moyle
Preschool    Abrams Appleseed/Abrams    26 pp.    g
7/22    978-1-4197-5106-6    $7.99

What is Halloween? It’s tricks and treats and spooky sweets, of course, but it’s also ghoulish grins on jack-o’-lanterns, dancing monsters, and costume contests where everyone wins. This appealing board book shows many facets of Halloween through simple rhyming phrases and kid-friendly cartoon illustrations of animals and supernatural creatures, all of whom are having a blast celebrating the last day of October. A bright color palette and humorous touches ensure young readers will find nothing too scary about ghost-filled graveyards and night skies filled with bats.

The Ghosts Went Floating
by Kim Norman; illus. by Jay Fleck
Preschool    Farrar    32 pp.    g
7/22    978-0-374-39011-2    $8.99

Move over, “Monster Mash”; there’s a new Halloween song in town! Set to the tune of “The Ants Go Marching,” this story introduces a variety of supernatural creatures to help young readers count from one to ten. Mummies stumble, werewolves wander, and goblins gallop up a hill, “in the chill, by the light of the moon.” Where are they going? Turns out these characters are hoping to celebrate Halloween with you! This new edition of a 2020 picture book, with its catchy repetition and pleasing illustrations that encourage page-turns, is naturally geared toward the board book audience and will have youngsters shouting “BOO-rah!” and marching around the house in their costumes before it’s time to trick-or-treat.

Construction Site Gets a Fright!: A Halloween Lift-the-Flap Book
by Sherri Duskey Rinker; illus. by AG Ford
Preschool    Chronicle    16 pp.    g
8/22    978-1-7972-0432-1    $12.99

This latest addition to the Construction Site series, complete with Rinker’s verse and Ford’s familiar crayon illustrations, has a costumed crew facing their fears and investigating spooky happenings on Halloween night. Did a menacing monster wake Crane Truck? No, it’s just tree branches wiggling in the breeze! Watch out for that hairy, scary giant, Bulldozer! Never mind, it’s just a pile of dirt. In the end, all the vehicles join to share “stories of how they got a scare.” A perfect match for preschoolers who are fascinated by construction vehicles and can handle brief moments of eerie tension — they’ll be reassured that the characters are safe when they lift the flaps on nearly every spread.

The Goodnight Train Halloween
by June Sobel; illus. by Laura Huliska-Beith
Preschool    Clarion/HarperCollins    14 pp.    g
7/22    978-0-358-62607-7    $8.99

All aboard! With  kids tucked into beds that double as train cars, the Goodnight Train returns in this companion board book for a Halloween trip. Costumed passengers travel past smiling ghosts and spiders, race through a candy corn storm, spy costumed sheep playing catch with pumpkins, and load up on sweets at Black Cat Crossing before chugging off to Dreamland. Lyrical text and onomatopoeia alongside illustrations in a fall colors palette that include seek-and-find holes on every page make this an entertaining bedtime read aloud that reassures preschoolers, “Halloween’s more fun than fright.”

Sarah Threlkeld

Sarah Threlkeld is an editorial intern for The Horn Book, Inc., studying towards an MA in children’s literature and an MFA in writing for children at Simmons University. 

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