It’s that time of year when the world gets a little bit scary - skeletons in windows, tombstones on lawns, pictures of monsters everywhere. For those older pre-school kids there might be a bit of a struggle to understand what’s going on. Their caregivers might struggle to introduce the kids to Halloween customs without spooking them (pun intended). Here are some titles that are more giggles than gross, more fun than fear.
Monster Trucks by Anika Denise with illustrations by Nate Wragg
Your little reader is probably past the phase where the roar of an engine scares them and into a phase when they think that big cars and trucks are super cool – the louder, the better. If so, this is the Halloween book for them. Frankenstein Truck, Vampire Truck, Zombie Truck…they’re all here, roaring and rumbling at their best. This is a perfect road to fun holiday reading.
Mary McScary by R. L. Stine with illustrations by Marc Brown
Mary McScary ain’t afraid of nothin’. In fact, she likes to make sure that she can scare everyone. Everything’s fine in Mary’s world until her cousin Harry shows up. Harry’s out to put some scare into Mary but nothing seems to work. Kids will love the antics of both Mary and Harry.
Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler with illustrations by Will Terry
Bonaparte is one troubled skeleton. No bones about it, he seems to be constantly loosing body parts. His friends, Franky Stein, Mummicula and Black Widow all have solutions to the problem. Franky’s solution seems to be a little too sticky, Black Widow’s gets Bonaparte all strung up and Mummicula’s gets Bonaparte all wrapped up in trouble. In other words, all their solutions fail. What is to be done? Kids will love the solution that Bonaparte and his friends finally find. It’s a doggone good one!
How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace with illustrations by Andy Elkerton
A young ninja warrior is determined to finally catch and tame that nasty monster who inhabits his closet. It doesn’t seem to be working until the young warrior begins to look at the situation in a new light. This is a book about unexpected friendship and it just might calm some closet-monster fears. Readers who enjoy this book will appreciate the others in the series which tell how to catch leprechauns, elves, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
Día de los Muertos by Roseanne Greenfield Thong with illustrations by Carles Ballesteros
Besides it being Halloween time, it’s also time for Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a holiday that’s celebrated in Mexico, parts of Latin America and in many communities in the United States. It’s a day that takes note of ghosts and skeletons. Rather than to be feared, these spirits are recognized and honored as those of deceased relatives and friends. Thong explains this in an afterword and also includes a glossary of terms. Children and adults will find this a fun introduction to Día de los Muertos.
Mr. Strawn is Director of the Allendale-Hampton-Jasper Regional Library.