boo!…a list of five tricky treats for Halloween

Happy Halloween! May your costumes be warm and your treat bags plump. Today, I’ve got five charming books for the youngest holiday revelers…

click clack boo cover image lewinClick, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat, by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin

Poor Farmer Brown does not enjoy Halloween. All those shivery creatures and creaking, crunching noises make him want to crawl under the covers and hide!

Over in the barn, however, there’s a whole lot of Halloween hoopla going on. Mad costumes! Glowing jack-o-lanterns! Candy corn! Prizes!click clack boo illustration betsy lewin

While the animals are partying, and Farmer Brown is quaking, one shadowy, hulking figure begins crossing the yard towards the farmhouse. Eeep! What is it?! I’ll never tell…but there’s a big surprise in store for Farmer Brown before this evening is over!

This is a cute story featuring characters likely familiar to your kids. Never scary, since the kids are in on most of the secret before Farmer Brown catches on. Betsy Lewin’s fabulous artwork features bold colors, droll expressions, and some hilarious costumes. Even the most nervewracking moments lack any sinister quality. Jolly good fun for preschoolers through early elementary.

ollie's halloween cover image dunreaOllie’s Halloween, written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea

Here’s another familiar face — Olllie, the tiny but intrepid gosling.

This wee tale is about Ollie and his mates, Gossie, Gertie, Peedie, and BooBoo. They are dressed up in absolutely adorable costumes, and off to celebrate Halloween Ollie's Halloween illustration Olivier Dunreatogether. It’s “a night to beware. A night to scare. Goslings are on the prowl!”  

With just a few brief lines, the gosling pack scampers through fields and bogs, being as scary as possible. (Hint: not very) They find treats to gobble, apples to bob for, and then, with a storm brewing, make a beeline for the barn. There, Ollie discovers that a little independence goes a long way before he joins the others for a final treat-feast.

It’s a charming book featuring Dunrea’s darling watercolors, simply highlighting the classic childhood joys of costumes and treats.  Ages 18 months to 5.

jungle halloween cover image cocca lefflerJungle Halloween, written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

In the lush, green jungle, a host of animals are hiding. Look closely. Can you see them, peeking from ferns, hiding among palm fronds, peering from behind tree jungle halloween illustration maryann cocca lefflertrunks? They’re all getting ready to celebrate an enchanting Jungle Halloween!

Once they’re in costume, the colorful, snazzy bunch parades through the jungle gathering treats, dancing, singing, and feasting until they’re all tuckered out. Then, it’s home to bed.

Written in delightful rhyming patterns, the brief text for this book shimmies and swizzles along with great exuberance. It’s a tremendously happy story. The brilliant, tropical-fruit-punch colors of Cocca-Leffler’s paintings add to the joy, as do the frolicking postures, imaginative setting, and fanciful costumes,

Never mind that there are zebras and giraffes living in the jungle…these are all the favorite zoo animals, and every one of them is a charmer. Great little read for ages 2 to 7.

georgie cover image brightGeorgie, written and illustrated by Robert Bright

Here’s a goldie-oldie from 1944, with a nice retro flavor.

In a quaint New England village, old Mr. and Mrs. Whittaker live in their charming  house, while up in their attic lives a cute little ghost named Georgie.

Georgie plays an important role in the household because at the same time georgie illustration robert brightevery evening, he pops around making a stair creak here and a door squeak there. These gentle sounds remind the Whittakers to go to bed, the cat to prowl, and the owl to hoot.

But one day, Mr. Whittaker takes it into his head to fix those loose boards and rusty hinges, and now Georgie can’t make any noise. And oh my, do things ever fall apart! The Whittakers even forget to go to bed!

Poor Georgie. He’s out of a job. He tries to find another home to live in, but this does not work out well for him at all. Whatever will he do?

Robert Bright wrote a scad of stories about Georgie, a friendly, irresistable little ghost. Bright’s accompanying drawings in blue-black ink are handsome and winsome, and evoke a wonderful turn-of-the-century atmosphere. Ages 4 and up.

the three bears halloween cover imageThe Three Bears’ Halloween, by Kathy Duval, illustrated by Paul Meisel

The three bears are out and about again, but this time it’s not a porridge-cooling walk; it’s a trick-or-treating walk!

In their dapper costumes, they meander from one forest home to another, collecting yummy treats such as acorns and honey. When they knock on the door of the last house, though, it simply swings open, as a tee-hee-hee sounds from the bushes. Yikes! Quickly, they hurry in and shut the door.

Once inside, the bears happily gobble some food in the kitchen, but when they the three bears halloween illustration meiselhear the door creak open, they  hide in the living room (where Baby Bear accidentally breaks a chair), then race upstairs and climb into bed. Who is creeping about the house? And will the Bears manage to escape?!

This is a clever take-off on the Goldilocks story. Children will love knowing better than the bears, as well as noticing the similarities between the two visits. Paul Meisel’s acrylic and gouache paintings are friendly, colorful, and cozy. It’s great fun spotting all his clever fairy tale nods in the decor, as well as spying little glimpses of the costumed Goldilocks in many of the pictures.  Ages 4 and up.