Toddler Reads: Halloween

Halloween is sneaking up on us! Here are few suggestions of seasonally appropriate, non-scary reads for toddlers.

My First Halloween written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola (1992).
This was in heavy rotation last year, when I secretly thought of it as “My Second Halloween”. That’s because it does a great job of introducing the basic concepts of Halloween to a kid who is old enough to notice that something different is going on. Costumes, pumpkins, trick-or-treating, Tomie dePaola has got you covered.

A Very Brave Witch written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Harry Bliss (2006).
Did you know that witches are scared of people? This is the tale of one very brave little witch who befriends a witch-costumed human girl on Halloween. Halloween fun and a lesson in not being scared of those who are different than you in one.

Bats at the Library written and illustrated by Brian Lies (2008).
Only Halloween themed, in the sense that bats are associated with Halloween, but still great fun. When a window at the library is left open one night, the bats enjoy a Night at the Library, complete with book chat, story times, photocopier shenanigans and all the fun that the library has to offer.

Room on the Broom written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (2001).
A fun rhyming tale about a witch’s flight. She loses her hat, then her bow, then her wand, each found by a helpful animal who asks if there is room on her broom for them. When the overloaded broom breaks, with a dragon on the hunt, it looks like all hope is lost, but luckily her new animal friends come to the rescue.

One Halloween Night written and illustrated by Mark Teague (1999).
Three friends set off trick-or-treating, but everything goes wrong. Wendell’s scientist costume has been died pink, Mona has to dress up as a fairy princess, Floyd has to bring his little sister along. When a gaggle of witches start to tease the four trick-or-treaters, they find that they have special powers on this special night. Mark Teague’s great illustrations have made this a hit in our house since Frances’ first Halloween!

Toddler Reads are aimed at children 0-3. All of these books have been Frances-approved.

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Toddler Reads: Halloween

What I Read: September

I read 3 books in September. 2 fiction, 1 non-fiction, 1 on Kindle, 2 in print.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (2014).
I wasn’t sure about this book at first, the writing still isn’t the norm – I guess, it stream of conciousness – and it took me a few (short) chapters to feel like I knew what was going on. In the end, I really liked the book – a look at marriage, parenting, infidelity, life from the perspective of the narrator/wife. Worth reading. And it’s quick (which seems to make all books more appealing to me lately – has the internet shortened my attention span?)

The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (2006).
This is the third (and I think last) Sorcery & Cecilia book, and it picks up, as the title suggests, 10 years after the last (which featured cousins Kate and Cecilia on their Grand European wedding tour). Each has children now, and when Kate and her husband James are called upon to investigate the disappearance of a German magician/railway surveyor, Kate’s two boys are sent to stay with Cecy and her brood. The mystery unfolds in letters between the cousins and their husbands. I didn’t love the second book in this trilogy, but I’m glad I kept with it, because this one was just as enjoyable (to me) as the first.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (1970).
A short (100 page or so) volume of letters between the author (Hanff) and the employees of a London bookstore from which she ordered books by mail. I picked this up on the statement that folks who like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, would probably also enjoy this, and it did not disappoint. Delightful and charming, I read it in less than a day. True confession: I thought this book was fiction, until 3/4 of the way through I noticed that the woman signing the letters had the same name as the author on the book cover. So clearly, it read like fiction, but with the added delight that it is true!

What I Read: September