Board Book Roundup: Fall 2015 Edition: Halloween

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, now published every season. 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.

albee_halloween abcHalloween ABC
by Sarah Albee; illus. by Julia Woolf
Random     26 pp.
7/15     978-0-553-52422-2     $7.99

In this board book version of the Little Golden Book (published in 1993, re-illustrated in 2009), each letter of the alphabet features a cheery child dressed up in a Halloween costume beginning with that letter, along with brief alliterative text. The children start out all bright-eyed at A, but by R they’re beginning to wind down: “The rumpled rabbit is ready to rest. The spooky skeleton is sleepy.” At Z, of course, everyone’s asleep: “Zzzzz.”

henkes_kitten's first full  moonKitten’s First Full Moon
by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow     36 pp.
9/15     978-0-06-241710-7      $8.99

Why didn’t they think of this sooner? The board book version of Henkes's 2005 Caldecott winner is pure perfection for its pre-reader audience (then again, the picture book version was pretty perfect, too). Kitten’s small adventures are well contained on the sturdy pages, with the black-and-white illustrations — a mix of panels, full pages, spots, and spreads — a beautiful complement to Henkes’s spare, straightforward text.

jones_fall is hereFall Is Here!
by Frankie Jones; illus. by Fhiona Galloway
Little Bee     16 pp.
7/15     978-1-4998-0110-1     $5.99




jones_where's the pumpkinWhere’s the Pumpkin?
by Frankie Jones; illus. by Fhiona Galloway
Little Bee     16 pp.
7/15     978-1-4998-0097-5     $5.99

In Pumpkin, cat Spook wants to find a pumpkin but doesn’t know exactly what one is, mistaking an apple, some eggs, a tractor wheel, even a baby deer for the desired fruit before stumbling into the pumpkin patch (“Pumpkins everywhere!”) Fall finds a dog and cat pair enjoying the season: “It’s time for friendly scarecrows…crunchy acorns…bright, orange pumpkins…spooky costumes…We love fall!” Both books, with their wide-eyed creatures, are very simple and mildly engaging.

santoro_it's hauntedIt’s Haunted!
by Christopher Santoro
Random     12 pp.
7/15     978-0-553-52370-6     $7.99

Enter a house where little hands can find “35 Spooky Flaps to Lift!” throughout the haunted dwelling. Each spread is a different, crowded room, littered with silly-creepy — and some actual-creepy — items: a skull floor lamp in the study, squid tentacles and eyeballs in the kitchen… It’s a good mix of Halloween horror and giggle-worthy search-and-find for very young trick-or-treaters.

savage_seven orange pumpkinsSeven Orange Pumpkins
by Stephen Savage
Dial     30 pp.
8/15     978-0803741386     $6.99

This board book version of Savage’s Ten Orange Pumpkins counts down from seven (instead of from ten; fewer pages in the board book): “Seven orange pumpkins, / ripe for treats and tricks. / Tonight will be a spooky night. // Yikes! There are 6.” The story ends with a black cat (who’s been an observer all along) discovering the last pumpkin, now a jack-o’-lantern: “Here it is, / all aglow. / Happy Halloween!” Flat black silhouettes stand out beautifully against the bright, richly hued backgrounds that lighten the mysterious mood.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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