Top critical review
Humorous book of Trick or Treating
on May 12, 2013
It's Halloween, and Arthur the aardvark reluctantly participates. His house is decorated with black cats, bats, skeletons, and Jack o' Lanterns. His mother sews him a superhero costume (to give him some courage, maybe). D.W., his little sister, dresses appropriately as a little red devil: horns, cape, tail and all. She is the epitome of energy unleashed, and she wants candy!!
Everyone at school is very enthusiastic. Even his teacher, Mr. Marco, dresses up as a robot. They pass out goofy treats like vampire blood (fruit punch) and put on blindfolds to feel eyeballs (grapes). Arthur feels queasy about it all.
Arthur goes trick or treating with his friends, but D.W. has to tag along, and inevitably, they get further and further behind the others. D.W. decides to visit a house where a "witch" is rumored to live. Arthur must chase after her. He imagines all sorts of disasters, but in the end, finds that the witch is Mrs. Tibble, a kindly neighbor who gives them doughnuts. The illustration shows many, many cats in the room. We had some fun counting up all the cats (including the ones who are hiding).
Even though I agree with the message that we should not judge people before we meet them, I do think that having Arthur and D.W. go into a stranger's house is not a good way to deliver this message. It is important to stress to young children (ages 3-7, who are the target audience for this book) that anytime they go into someone's house, they must be accompanied by their parents or a guardian--- especially at holidays or times of celebration, where there are crowds and unfamiliar faces roaming one's neighborhood.