Halloween Storytime! Now with annotations!
In my ABC Storytime series, this is my break for Halloween. These are books I’ve read in the classroom and for preschool programs, so they are on the upper end of the picture book age range. Songs and fingerplays are all over the Internet, so I’m not putting them here. Personally, I tend to use “Spider on the Floor,” “Five Fat Pumpkins,” and “Ten Little Witches.”
Boris and Bella, by Carolyn Crimi, takes us into the land of vampires, mummies, and monsters. But just because they’re spooky or undead doesn’t mean that they don’t have problems too. Bella Lagrossi is very messy, and Boris Kleanitoff is too neat. They are neighbors, but don’t get along. When they both try to have competing parties for Halloween, everyone goes to the house of a more congenial host instead. As Bella and Boris go to yell at Henry Beastie, they find all the flaws in the party like maggot muffins with too much muffin and not enough maggot and refuse to have fun. When the dancing starts, they do come together and have a good time. Of course, they learn to accept each other, and also each to make little changes for the other. It’s a funny story with great wordplay, phrasing, and puns. Kids love all the gross-out references in the text and illustrations. Great fun.
The Scariest Monster in the Whole Wide World, by Pamela Mayer, is not a monster story, despite the title. Instead, it’s about finding the right costume when kid and parents disagree. Thea Dewlicky had won second prize last year at her costume parade with her fairy costume. This year, her parents are planning the costume that is sure to win, but Thea has other ideas. She wants to be the scariest monster in the whole wide world, with scales and claws and an ax in her head. Her parents are horrified, and take her shopping to find a suitable outfit, but Thea cannot be swayed. Along comes Grandma, who lets the kid be a kid, but finds a way to make the parents happy too. Along with being a fun Halloween story, it’s a good message for over-involved parents. Who will probably totally miss the point.
This one is always a winner: The Hallo-wiener, by Dav Pilkey. It’s the story of a dachshund who is always teased by his doggie classmates, but especially after his well-meaning mother gives him a hot-dog costume for Halloween. But when his doggie friends are spooked by a ghoul, it’s the little dog who saves the day. It’s a funny book, but you can add a little spooky suspense when the ghoul comes into the picture.
The Ugly Pumpkin, by Dave Horowitz, is about a pumpkin that isn’t picked for Halloween because he looks so strange. As he travels through November, he comes upon more like him and realizes that he’s not a pumpkin at all. He’s a squash! And he’s just in time for Thanksgiving! Cute twist on the ugly duckling story with a nice transition to the next holiday on the calendar.