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This review is from: Halloween Night (Library Binding)
ISBN 0061351873 - Manufactured in China. Library Binding, 29 pages. Published by Greenwillow Books in 2008. By Marjorie Dennis Murray, illustrated by Brandon Dorman. Marked for ages 5 to 9.
I'm always a happy reader when it's time for a new round of holiday-themed kids' books and starting this Halloween-reading-season with this particular book makes me extra happy!
Told in smooth-as-silk rhyming text, a witch and various friends prepare for a party on Halloween night, readying their haunted house for the trick-or-treaters who, once they get a glimpse, flee in fright!
First off, shame on me for missing this book for several years! There are so very many so-so Halloween books out there and those I find by the hundreds, but somehow the best of them allude me at first, and Halloween Night is among the best so far. The story, like many others, is clearly modeled on the "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" style. Others, however, fail where Murray succeeds. The rhyme actually flows so well that there's almost no way to avoid the built-in cadence when you read, aloud or to yourself: there's nothing clunky or trying-too-hard here! The story has a little creepy/scary edge to it, but not enough to genuinely frighten young kids, and the almost comedic running-away-in-fear reaction of the kids in the story breaks the tension nicely.
Add in the absolutely flawless and positively immense illustrations by Dorman and I'm in love. Each image takes up a full two-page spread, and every inch is used to capture the moment. From the looming brightly lit mansion on the first pages to the look of stunned fright on the faces of the trick-or-treaters and all the way to the morning sunrise on the last pages, there's so much to see that it's almost impossible to decide whether to focus on the words or the pictures. That indecision will keep readers coming back again and again to flip through the pages and see what they missed last time. I've always thought of Halloween as the total childrens' holiday - silly and spooky and full of games, candy and fun and none of the obligations of sharing time with religious services or family meals that drag on to keep you from opening gifts - and I greatly appreciate the few books I find that understand and embrace that. Halloween Night is definitely one of those books.