This is Halloween, this is Halloween/Pumpkins scream in the dead of night
Okay, these four books are on the other side of Halloween. They are not spooky (or at least not to the level of The Nightmare Before Christmas) but they are fun, can acutely be an autumn read (or even anytime read) and can be absolutely perfect for the right audience.
We’re Going on a Pumpkin Hunt by Mary Hogan Wilcox is probably my least favorite of the group. That’s not to say it is bad, it was just not what I was looking for. I was confused, why would you go to the pumpkin patch during the night? I mean, yes, if you want a spooky adventure, but not to pick out a pumpkin. Also, the implied ending was more than just spooky for me. But it is Lynn Munsinger’s adorable illustrations that tie it altogether (one character in particular is fun to follow). But the story feels flat. However, the younger crowd will like the rhythm of the book, watching our friends head off to a pumpkin adventure and the colors and details will keep their attention. (Rating 3)
My second book is my favorite of the bunch, She Wanted to Be Haunted by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by Susie Ghahremani. I was expecting this to go one of two ways: It is okay to be yourself even if that is a cute, pink house. Or she would find a way to become haunted. It went a third: By combining the two in a clever way. I liked that the house is the main character. It adds a little something different to the usual affair. I like the details and colors of the art. They are “cartoony” without being “cartoonish.” They allow the story to be adapted to most ages. I love how things do not “go right” but seem to be “even better” without being cliched. This is for the kid (be it in age or in spirit) that is not exactly “like the others.” The ending is perfect as it keeps with the quirky feel of everything. (Rating 5)
Onto the third and another for the younger crowd, The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen. Which is a cute story but one that did not knock my socks off. Our character loves to play with her cat. She loves going out and jumping in leaves. But when she finds a new friend, she forgets her old one. But lucky for her, that cat friend was able to help in the end. This book would make for an adorable board book but might be a bit larger than usual. There is a lot going on illustration wise. I had a feeling the book was going to go one way (our heroine will have two cat friends) but when you find out that the little kitten is a missing pet, I (and most adults) will see where it is going. Just make sure you watch the art to make sure you are right! The illustrations are not the usual bright, autumn/Halloween colors but fall to the somber almost black and white world. (Rating 4)
And last but not least is the one I surprisingly liked, A Unicorn Named Sparkle and the Pumpkin Monster by Amy Young. I might have read others in the series, but do not remember. But this is about Halloween/pumpkins, so I had to give it a shot. I was surprised as Sparkle is about all the fun things that happen. It is an interesting idea about having fun (and it not working out as hoped) but also about scaring people and that maybe it is not always fun to be scared. Adults will enjoy the adventures of Sparkle as much (if not more) as kids. The illustrations have always been the reason I do not gravitate to these books. Yet, this time that “offbeat” look is just what the ghosts ordered. It helps the scary be a bit less as they are bright and needed detail appropriate. (Rating 4)