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Trick-or-Treat: A Happy Haunter's Halloween Hardcover – August 6, 2013
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Fifteen spooky poems, each with its own spread, celebrate Halloween as youngsters in costume share the night with a variety of ghosts, goblins, and unknown fiends. Bright neon colors contrast smartly with dark, brooding backgrounds as skeletons enjoy a cookout in the graveyard and Frankenstein goes trick-or-treating. A sliver of moon and a sprinkling of stars light the dark as, "Witches on broomsticks/fly over treetops./Except when it rains,/then they use mops." One verse extols the pleasures of a mummy mommy: "She reads my favorite horror story/and makes up extra parts-real gory." Another lists reasons that a vampire makes a wonderful daddy: "You can fly with him in the full moonlight./When someone picks on you, he'll bite!" Young readers will identify with the children searching for monsters under the bed and the source of strange noises at bedtime. They will also be reassured by the final verse, "Happy Haunter," featuring a smiling girl tucked into bed, safe from the creatures carousing outside on the rooftops. This collection of funny-scary verses is sure to delight even the faint of heart.-Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TNα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Plenty of spooky rhyming books about the pumpkin season already exist, but Leppanen can sling around Halloween iconography with the best of them. Fifteen double-page spreads employ a variety of settings—including trick-or-treating scenarios, Halloween parties, and, especially, bedtime scenes—and toss in everything from ping-ponging skeletons to mop-riding witches, tentacled closet monsters, and bathing ghosts. Though some poems stretch out for several stanzas, the best are the short, blunt ones: “I raffled my hat. / Whoever did win it / got something extra— / my head was still in it.” Carpenter’s angular digital art has a Molly Bang–style boldness and uses bright primary colors to contrast the various ghoulies against (mostly) dark and brooding backgrounds. The ominous undertones of some of the poems are lightened by the art’s humorous details. Got an event involving a huddle of nervously giggling kids and a flashlight beneath the reader’s chin? Here’s your book. Grades K-2. --Daniel Kraus