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Halloween Tales To Slightly Spook

Lee Littlewood on

All kids love Halloween season. These new books will give them spooks and shivers, and most definitely happy thrills.

"Creepy Pair of Underwear" by Aaron Reynolds; pictures by Peter Brown; Simon & Schuster; 42 pages; $17.99.

At first I thought the title of this black and white and glowing green book was a bit odd, but upon perusing it fully, I realized it's a genius tot-friendly tale of overcoming fears. Rabbit boy Jasper is not happy with his new underwear, which glows in the dark with a slightly Frankenstein-like sneer. He tries to get rid of them, even mailing them to China, (they come back with chopsticks). He chops them up with scissors, and still, they return. Finally he pedals to a remote location and buries them. That seems to do the trick, but when he gets home, the complete darkness seems unnerving, so Jasper goes back to dig them up, and even buys more pairs to light up his room.

A super wacky premise that's really about facing your own fears, Aaron Reynold's funny tale depicts the true struggle of most kids, a little scared and a little brave at the same time. Peter Brown's cartoon illustrations, especially the underwear's faces, is splendid.

"Boo Who?" by Ben Clanton; Candlewick Press; 32 pages; $15.99.

Boo, the new kid ghost on block, has trouble fitting in. He can't bounce a ball, or play tag, (he's got no arms), and seems to feel as if he doesn't matter. But when a game of hide-and-seek ensues, the others, a robot, little dinosaur, bunny unicorn and furry monster, can't see him easily, which evokes lots of laughs when he reveals himself.

Very young children just beginning to know about Halloween and monsters and ghosts will enjoy this gentle depiction of creatures. It's also a fun story about feeling invisible and finding a way to be seen and appreciated. Shy kids, especially, will relate.

Ben Clanton's muted colors and adorable characters are easy on the eyes and story hours.

"Halloween ABC" by Jannie Ho; Nosy Crow/Candlewick; 26 pages; $8.99.

Jannie Ho's zesty Halloween alphabet board book is the perfect introduction to a holiday that can scare some babies and tots. There's nothing scary about these pages, that start with Aa and apple bobbing. Friendly, wide-eyed baby bats star on the Bb page; other highlights are a ghost who's obviously a child underneath and a quirky purple-faced elf who's had a "Nn nightmare."

Funny and quirky and colorful, "Halloween ABC" is a treat.

"This Book is Full of Monsters" by Guido Van Genechten; Clavis Books; 28 pages; $17.95.

Kids ages four and up who are a little more scary-savvy will enjoy Guido Van Genechten's latest, full of "small, disgusting, shrieking, super scary monsters!" With names like Eddy and Mr. Creep and Ga-ga-goo-goo, even Sticky Steve, the creatures in these pages are uniquely weird and smelly. In fact, the first page encourages these items are needed - clothes pin, earplugs, rubber boots, gloves, courage (lots), guts (tons) and nerves (of steel). A purple pop-up surprise ends the slightly gross, wacky collection, with a yellow-eyed monster oozing from the mouth. Never fear, if the book is closed quickly, the monster disappears.

Did you get through this creepy journey? Good! A "Diploma of Bravery" awaits readers because "No monster was too dirty, too loud, too ugly or too scary for him/her."

"Hedgehugs: Autumn Hide-and-Seek" by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper; Henry Holt; 32 pages; $16.99.

Horace and Hattie Hedgehogs are the very best of friends who star in this adorable picture book series. As autumn approaches, they follow slimy snail trails, search for spiderwebs, watch leaves fall, and are surprised by an adorable purple bat who becomes their new best pal.

The ensuing fall game of hide-and-seek with the best friends and cute flying bat is sweet, especially when they convince him to fly the leaves back onto the bare tree.

Part of a truly lovely series, this "Hedgehugs" tale makes perfect autumn bedtime reading.

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To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

 

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