Halloween 2022


Stories from the Past to Read,
Share, and Treasure

Halloween Notables


written by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), 16p, Ages 3-6

It’s Halloween and Little Blue Truck and his friend Toad are on their way to a costume party. Along the way, they are joined by several costumed friends. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes?”

Little ones lift the flap and discover a ballerina duck. Sheep is a clown, cow is a queen, pig is a witch, hen and her chick are pirates, and horse is a dragon. Little Blue Truck is in costume, too. “Off comes the sheet / It’s you-know-who! / Little Blue Truck says, / ‘Beep! Beep! BOO!’” With apple bobbing, jack-o-lanterns, and a lively band, Little Blue Truck’s safe Halloween is filled with fun.

Themes: Adventure, Animals Holidays, Machines, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: Little Blue Truck Leads the Way | Little Blue Truck’s Christmas | Good Night Little Blue Truck | Time for School, Little Blue Truck


written by Judith Ross Enderle/Stephanie Gordon Tessler, illus. by John O’Brien, (Boyds Mills Press, 1992), 24p, Ages 3-6

In this sweet and simple counting book, six sheep dressed as ghosts meet trick-or-treaters disguised as pirates, goblins and witches and one by one are frightened. All ends well when they are reunited at a Halloween party.

Themes: Animals, Concept, Holidays, Series
Other Books in the Series: Six Snowy Sheep | Six Sandy Sheep


Ages 4 - 7

written/illus. by Helen Cooper, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007), 32p, Ages 4-8

“Deep in the woods it was lunchtime, / munchtime, / should have been cooking time, / down at the old white cabin.” It should have been pumpkin soup time, but there were no ripe pumpkins anywhere.

Cat, Duck, and Squirrel decide to cook something different, but Duck refuses to eat fish soup, mushroom soup, or beet soup. Cat and Squirrel persevere and finally create a soup that meets Duck’s approval. Small beetle observers make pithy comments on Duck’s obstinate behavior. Families that have picky eaters can relate to this story. A recipe for Pink Soup is included on the jacket flap.

Themes: Animals, Food, Holidays


written by Megan McDonald, Illus. by Ted Lewin, (Scholastic Press, 1992), 32p, Ages 4-8

A grandfather relates the time when, as a boy, he and his friend accidentally smash the pumpkin that his sister Rosie was growing. Feeding the remains to Mrs. Hadley’s pig next door, they bought a substitute pumpkin from Mr. Agenlos’ wagon and tied it to the vine. They had second thoughts about their cleverness, when Rosie saw her precious pumpkin. “She let out a scream I’m sure they could have heard all the way down the river in Aliquippa and went running into the house.” As always, Ted Lewin’s illustrations are marvelous.

Themes: Adventure, Families, Holidays


written by Stephen Wunderli, illus. by Tim Zeltner, (Henry Holt & Co., 2014), 32p, Ages 4-7

When the wind blows and the leaves begin to fall, a little pumpkin seed wishes to grow up quickly and yearns for the day when his “boo” will frighten everyone. “The little plant kept growing, and sometimes tried to scare the bucket and the bees and a grasshopper…But none of them were even the least bit afraid.” The wind encourages him to be patient, and through the seasons he grows into a flower, a pumpkin, and finally is picked to become a mighty jack-o-lantern, who loves to say “Boo!”

Themes: Fantasy, Holidays, Humor, Seasons


written by Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by David Diaz, (HarperCollins HC 1998, HarperTrophy, 2005 paper), 40p, Ages 4-7

A little boy, on the brink of growing up, tries to be the fiercest scarecrow in all the fields, just like his dad. He uses one ferocious face after another, but nothing frightens the crows. Suddenly they fly off, and he is so pleased. Little does he realize that dad is standing behind him.

Themes: Families, Holidays, Humor


written by Rick Walton, illus. by Delana Bettoli, (Harper Festival, 2004), 32p, Ages 4-8

Four days before Halloween Mrs. McMurphy finds a pumpkin by her front door. Threatening to eat her, Mrs. McMurphy quietly places the pumpkin outside. Day by day, the pumpkin returns with a warning and the woman responds by sending it farther away. By Halloween Mrs. McMurphy decides to make a lovely pie for trick-or-treaters.

Themes: Holidays, Humor


written by Denise Doyen, illus. by Barry Moser, (Random House, 2009), 32p, Ages 4-7

“Once upon a twice, / In the middle of the nice, / The moon was on the rice / And the Mice were scoutaprowl …”

On their nightly forage, elders warn young mice about the dangerous creatures in the woods and ponds. Young Jam Boy disregards the warnings and wanders off to watch a beetle and smell the flowers. He doesn’t hear a silent water snake approach, hiss, and strike.

Years later, and an older, whiskered Jam speaks to a new generation of mice, and lectures them against wandering off.

This cautionary tale of youthful arrogance and overconfidence will have many youngsters on the edge of their seats. With its glorious, nonsensical words (riskarascal, goofiddles, whispercroon) and wonderful illustrations of rice paddies, huge yellow moon, and wide-eyed mouslings, this tale is too good to wait for Halloween to enjoy.

Themes: Animals, Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme


written by Eve Bunting, illus. by Eileen Christelow, (Clarion Books, 1997, 2001), 32p, Ages 4-8

A little girl and her family attend a pumpkin fair, where she watches a pumpkin parade, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin basketball, tug-a-war games, a young man juggling pumpkins, the pumpkin spitting seed contest, and all the pumpkin treats one could eat.

Protective of her small pumpkin and saving it for the big best-loved pumpkin contest, she is thrilled when her ordinary and bumpy pumpkin wins an award. “‘The best-loved pumpkin at the fair. / The best-loved pumpkin anywhere!’ / I get a ribbon, red and blue. / My pumpkin gets a ribbon, too. / How did they know? / How did they see / The way I felt inside of me?”

Themes: Families, Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme


written/illus. by Arthur Geisert (Enchanted Lion Books, 2018), 40p, Ages 5-8

West of the Mississippi River in Northeast Iowa is Elkader City, a small quiet town, until one rainy day a small pumpkin is washed downstream to Elkader, where its seeds sprout, and vines grow into the town eventually causing a major pumpkin problem.

“People made pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie, and sweet pumpkin spice to serve with their coffee.” The townspeople converted pumpkins into boats and houses, had a pumpkin festival, and played games with them. As the pumpkins began taking over the town, people were forced to cart them away to a town quarry.

When Halloween came, the thousands of pumpkins were carved into Jack-o’-Lanterns throughout the streets, alleys, and rooftops. Afterward the vines were cut, and the pumpkins turned into mulch. Next spring the town was filled with flowers, however, it is widely known that vines rarely keep to themselves. Kids will enjoy trying to count the plethora of pumpkins from Arthur Geisert’s clever illustrations.

Themes: Food, Holidays, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: How the Big Bad Wolf Got His Comeuppance


PUMPKIN TOWN!: Or Nothing is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins
written by Katie McKy, illus. by Pablo Bernasconi, (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 32p, Ages 4-8

José and his family grow pumpkins of every size imaginable. There are Jack-B-Littles (small enough for pockets), sturdier Happy Jacks (just right for carrying), and Big Moons (only for rolling). After the harvest, José and his brothers toss the leftover seeds into a field.

However, they are blown into town, settling on houses, streets, and every nook and cranny. When spring comes, the town has a decidedly orange color from the explosion of pumpkins. Feeling responsible, the brothers work through the night to remove the pumpkins and vines and are rewarded with delicious watermelons (the ones with seeds).

Themes: Families, Holidays, Humor, Seasons


written by Kevin Lewis, illus. by S. D. Schindler, (Orchard Books, 2003), 32p, Ages 4-8

On Halloween Buck and Billy Baxter ignore sister Lil’s advice and cut a huge pumpkin loose. They watch in horror as it zooms down the hill toward the Baxter farm, crashing through the fence and coming to rest in a ditch. Granny saves the day by cooking up pumpkin holiday treats.

Themes: Holidays, Families


written by Caralyn Buehner, illus. by Mark Buehner, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99, Aug. 2019), 32p, Ages 3-7

When a surprise October snowfall arrives, children have fun building snowmen and dressing them with Halloween costumes. That night after trick-or treating one boy imagines the fun the snowmen might also have while everyone is asleep.

“It’s a dark and spooky night, but the snowmen aren’t afraid— / They’ll follow one another in a Halloween parade, / Gliding down the moonlit street into the village square, / Beckoned by the twinkling lights and lanterns hanging there.” At the festival they carve pumpkins, play games, face paint, bob for apples, enjoy caramel treats, wander through a maze, listen to ghost stories, trick-or-treat for candy on their way home, and leave a special message for the children to find in the morning. Kids will enjoy the humorous costumes, as well as finding hidden pictures on each page.

Themes: Adventure, Holidays, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Other Books in the Series: The Donkey Egg


written by Katherine Egen, illus. by Brandon Dorman, (HarperCollins, 2010), 32p, Ages 5-8

One Halloween night, a nasty, greedy, and hungry man named Jack meets a strange being, rumored to be the devil, who offers him a free dinner in exchange for repayment upon his death. Starving for a good meal, Jack agrees without worrying about the debt. On another Halloween night years later, as Jack carves a stolen pumpkin, the devil comes to collect on the debt. As a hot flaming coal streaks toward Jack, he avoids death by catching in it the pumpkin, where it “glowed with the beginnings of a smile.” Having cheated the devil of his payment, Jack is condemned to wander the earth eternally in search of a home. “It is said that you can still see him searching for a place to rest. He is called ‘Jack of the lantern’ because he carries a pumpkin that glows to light his way.” The Afterword explains the origin of the Irish folktale, in which a stingy man tricks the devil.

Themes: Folk Literature, Holidays


written by Mark Kimball Moulton, illus. by Karen Hillard Good, (Simon & Schuster, 2010), 32p, Ages 4-8

“Down a winding country lane and over a rolling hill, you’ll find Pumpkin Hollow Farm, where a young boy named Peter lives with his grandparents, Mimi and Papa.” One summer Peter discovers a pumpkin growing far beyond the fields and carefully nurtures it. He clears weeds, loosens soil, gives it plenty of water, and the little pumpkin soon becomes his favorite one.

When a shy, book-loving girl moves in next door, she watches Peter care for her favorite pumpkin. As the days grow shorter and autumn arrives, the farm becomes a busy place filled with customers. As Meg searches for her pumpkin, Peter decides to share his special one and gains a friend in return.

This warm and gentle story of sharing and friendship, combined with warm comfortable artwork, will appeal to all who love a softer holiday season. End papers feature “Peter’s Guide to Growing Your Own Very Best Pumpkin.”

Themes: Friendship, Holidays, Values


written by Linda Williams, illus. by Megan Lloyd, (HarperCollins Publishers, 1986), 32p, Ages 3-7

A fearless little old lady hears noises behind her while walking home through the wood one day. Confronted by a pair of clomping shoes, wiggly pants, shaky shirt, two white gloves, a tall black hat, and a pumpkin head, the little old lady hurries to reach the safety of her home. She arrives at last and comes up with the perfect solution of what to do with the lively items that are chasing her.

Themes: Holidays


written by Beth Ferry, illus by The Fan Brothers, (HarperCollins, 2019), 40p, Ages 4-7

A lonely, old scarecrow is the feared guardian of the fields. ”Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / and mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.”

No one dares to come near, until one day a baby crow drops from a tree nearby and lies helplessly on the ground. Moved by kindness, the old scarecrow breaks his pole, bends down and keeps him warm in the bib of his overalls, singing a lullaby.

Over the seasons they become inseparable, until the fledgling learns to fly and Scarecrow realizes that someday he will leave. Watching his friend fly off, Scarecrow now lacks both his pole and his friend to keep him upright.

All through fall, winter, and spring, Scarecrow wallows in loneliness, until a familiar face returns to make another nest for babies in Scarecrow’s bib. “And he will love them from the start, / and they will grow up in his heart. / And they will peep and perch and play / and make him happy every day. And as the seasons come and go, / they will love their dear Scarecrow”

Readers and listeners will love this simple tale of love, kindness, friendship, and generosity.

Themes: Animals, Friendship, Heroes, Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme


For more information on great children's literature for reading to children and by children, visit us at:


Bringing you
books that:

Touch the Heart,
Color the Imagination, and
Delight the Mind

Welcome to The Storytellers, a monthly newsletter of outstanding children’s literature to read and read aloud from preschoolers to teens.

The best children's books and filled with imagination and fun. Stories that take children into a world of delight and adventure present storytelling at its best. Children need stories for pleasure, laughter and fun; imaginative and nonsensical stories that may not have a scrap of useful information or lesson, but cheerful and delightful lunacy. Give as many as possible to your children, because imagination and fund are essential to life.

Fall is here, the leaves are turning, the pumpkins are ripe, and it’s a great time for storytelling. The books featured represent some of the best of imagination and fun in children's literature and are presented for the reading and listening enjoyment of all.

For more information on reading to children and great books to read and read aloud, log on to our web site at www.tchliteracy.com. Always remember.

Read to your children before they’re too old
to listen and love the stories you hold.
But after they’re grown, keep reading, no worries,
they’ll never grow tired of hearing great stories.
The Children’s Hour ©2022.

Halloween Storykeepers

written by Hannah Eliot, illus. by Anna Daviscourt, (Simon & Schuster, $6.99, 2022, ISBN 978-1-6659-1593-9), 14p, Ages 3+

Little ones will love this colorful board book featuring different sizes and colors of pumpkins, and their descriptions may be sung to the nursery rhyme “I’m a Little Teapot.” One little orange pumpkin has green leaves and a long stem, a little green pumpkin grows up next to the beans, and another pumpkin shows its green stripes. Surrounded by squirrels, ducks, birds, and frogs, all are excited that autumn is here. “We are little pumpkins, / green, round, striped. / All of us pumpkins, / just different types / When it’s harvesttime, / we will call, / ‘HAPPY FALL TO ONE AND ALL!’ “
        Themes: Themes: Animals, Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme, Seasons


CONSTRUCTION SITE GETS A FRIGHT!: A Halloween Lift-the-Flap Book
written by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by A.G. Ford, (Chronicle Books, $12.99, 2022,
ISBN 978-1-7972-0432-1), 16p, Ages 3+

After a busy day of work, the construction crew, from the Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site series, experience a different dark and windy Halloween night. When Crane Truck, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, Skid Steer, and Cement Mixer think they see spooky images of monsters, witches, giants, shrieks, and ghosts, the flap on each page reveals silly wiggling branches, a cat, mounds of dirt, rusty gates, and a white tarp.

It’s a night of fun and laughter for all little ones as they lift the flaps and discover that the trucks are safe and sound. “All the trucks can’t wait to share / stories of how they got a scare. / With laughter, love, and good friends near, / they know that there’s NOTHING to fear!”
        Themes: Adventure, Holidays, Humor, Rhythm & Rhyme, Vehicles, Series
Other books in the Series: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, Construction Site: Merry and Bright, Construction Site: You’re Just Right, Construction Site: Spring Delight


written/illus. by Sandra Boynton,
(Little Simon, 2021,
ISBN 978-1-5344-5283-1), 16p, Ages 1-3

Now in board book format, little ones will enjoy the adventures of a silly cow on one moonlit night in Autumn. “On Halloween, the cow says BOO. / She likes that word. It’s something new.” When she hears the answer of “BAA!” she wonders who it could be and calls out again, only to hear more voices answering “BAA!” with a quack, meow, cluck, bow wow, and neigh. As she climbs to the top of the highest mountain, imagine her surprise at the number of friends wishing her a “Happy Halloween to YOOOU!” Little ones will love this gentle, non-scary, sweet story for the holidays.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Holidays, Series
Other books in the series: Eek Halloween | Spooky Pookie


written/illus. by Karel Hayes, (Down East Books, 2015), 32p, Ages 3-7

One fall New Hampshire weekend, a family drives to their cottage in the mountains where they ride bikes to the county fair, play boardwalk games, pet barnyard animals, ride the Ferris wheel, and enjoy cotton candy. Unbeknownst to them, a bear family follows and sneaks into the closed midway at night to enjoy hot dogs, free pumpkins, and ride the Ferris wheel.

“It’s only a weekend and soon time to leave, but the cottage by the water will not be empty for long.” The bears move in with their pumpkins, make costumes, and enjoy trick-or-treating. At Thanksgiving they catch turkeys and cook dinner for everyone to enjoy (turkeys included). Kids will love the humorous illustrations of two families enjoying a special New England autumn.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Holidays, Humor, Seasons, Series
Other Books in the Series: The Christmas Visitors | The Winter Visitors | The Spring Visitors | The Summer Visitors


written/illus. by Tad Hills, (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2009 Board), 22p, Ages 3+

Duck and Goose admire their friend Thistle’s pumpkin and decide to look for one. They search in a hollow log, a pile of autumn leaves, an apple tree, a pond, and a tree stump, but to no avail, until Thistle recommends the pumpkin patch. As they carry their perfect pumpkin home Goose comments, “We sure know how to find a pumpkin, Duck.” Little ones will enjoy the cute expressions.

        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Friendship, Holidays, Humor Series
Other Books in the Series: Duck & Goose | Duck, Duck, Goose | Duck & Goose 1 2 3 | Duck & Goose: Goose Needs a Hug | Duck & Goose Go to the Beach |Duck & Goose, Honk! Quack! Boo! | Duck & Goose, How Are You Feeling? | Duck & Goose, It’s Time for Christmas! | What’s Up Duck?: A Book of Opposites | Duck & Goose Colors | Duck & Goose, Let’s Dance | Duck & Goose, A Gift for Goose |Duck & Goose, Here Comes the Easter Bunny


written/illus. by Olivier Dunrea, (Houghton Mifflin Books, HC 2010, Board 2013), 32p, Ages 3-6

“It’s Halloween night. / A night to beware. / A night to scare. / Goslings are on the prowl!” As the sky darkens and the leaves swirl, Ollie the mummy, Gossie the wizard, Gertie the chicken, Peedie the dragon, and BooBoo, the bunny, creep through the bogs, hoot like owls, howl like wolves, bob for apples, and poke through the pumpkins. The adventures abruptly end as lightning streaks across the sky, and they run for the barn, where the last of the Halloween treats are devoured. With a hint of spookiness, the watercolors are a delight for young ones.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Holidays, Series
Other Books in the Series: The Christmas Visitors | The Winter Visitors | The Spring Visitors | The Summer Visitors


written/illus. by Salina Yoon, (Walker Books, $14.99, 2014,
ISBN 978-0-8027-3732-8), 40p, Ages 3-6

“It was fall, and very white on the ice, as always—which made Penguin curious.” Wondering what warmer climates are like in the fall, Penguin, Bootsy, and friends travel across the ocean on their slowly melting ice flow to a pumpkin farm and finish the trip by swimming to shore.

At the pumpkin patch, everyone finds their perfect pumpkin, except Penguin, who is fascinated with the multicolor leaves falling everywhere. They sail for home in a gigantic hollowed out pumpkin, towing another one filled with pumpkins, leaves, books, blankets, and treasures. Back home, Penguin gives his little brother a pumpkin, and a special surprise. Little ones will enjoy the penguins’ traveling attire, their solution to the problem of a dwindling ice flow, and the special treat for a little brother.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Holidays, Series
Other Books in the Series: Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story | Penguin on Vacation | Penguin’s Big Adventure

Halloween Storykeepers
Ages 4-8

CLICK, CLACK, BOO!: A Tricky Treat
written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Betsy Lewin, (Antheneum Books, 2013), 40p, Ages 4-7

On Halloween night, Farmer Brown dislikes Halloween, but places a bowl of candy on his porch, locks up his house, puts up a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on his front door, and goes to bed. “But in the barn the Halloween party has just begun.” When a mysterious caped someone crunches through his yard, creaks up the porch, swipes the candy, and hammers a poster on the front door, Farmer Brown knows just where to find the culprit.

Incensed, he marches to the barn in his footy pajamas, only to discover that he has won the “Best Costume” award at the barnyard Halloween party. Kids will love the costumes (pirate pigs, ghost chickens, fairy mice, bat-winged cats, and the skeleton-dressed cows), especially one mysterious vampire duck.
        Themes: Animals, Holidays, Humor, Series
Other Books in the Series: Click, Clack Moo Cows That Type | Click, Clack, Peep! | Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure | Click, Clack Surprise! | Click, Clack, Quack to School! | Dooby, Dooby, Moo | Giggle, Giggle, Quack | Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure | Duck for President | Click, Clack, Moo: I Love You | Click, Clack Ho Ho Ho


written by Sam McBratney, illus. by Ivan Bates, (Candlewick Press, 1996), 32p, Ages 4-8

Three small mice decide to see the monster at the top of the stairs. A wise old mouse warns them of the danger, but they are determined to go. On their journey up the cellar stairs, they begin to have second thoughts. One look at the monster’s shadow and a “meow” sends them scurrying home. A simple text and dramatic artwork demonstrate the hazards of venturing out into the unknown.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Holidays


written/illus. by John Bemelmans Marciano, (Viking, 2013), 48p, Ages 4-8

Madeline, the orphans, and Miss Clavel are unaware that a ghost resides in their Parisian home attic. When Lord Cucuface removes the ghost’s telescope, Madeline and neighbor Pepito devise a plan to return the ghost’s property. With the help of costumes and drama, find out how they give Lord Cucuface a fright and help the ghost, just in time to watch a rare comet pass by.
        Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Heroes, Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Others in the Series: Madeline | Madeline and the Cats of Rome | Madeline at the White House


written by John Kelly, illus. by Cathy Tincknell, (Candlewick Press, 2004), 32p, Ages 5-8

A gluttonous pig and goose are invited for a weekend of free food at the newly owned Eatum Hall by a mysterious host, Dr. A. Hunter. Upon arrival at the gloomy manor, they find a note from the absent host: “I am delighted to offer you the chance to play a part in the finest dining experience in culinary history, and I will meet you personally in the bandstand on Sunday morning for a final, mouthwatering surprise.” In a humorous ode to gluttony, find out how the two overindulgent animals enjoy the food and avoid their destiny.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Food, Humor, Mysteries


written/illus. by Loren Long, (Philomel Books, 2014), 40p, Ages 4-7

“It was summer when the scarecrow first came to the farm where the friendly little tractor named Otis lived, back when the corn was tall and ripe.” Otis is overjoyed to meet the new arrival, but the scarecrow, with its sour-looking face, stares at the cornfield and is far from friendly.

As the seasons change, Otis helps with the harvest, pulls wagonloads of kids seeking pumpkins, and plays games with his farm friends. Happy to be around family and friends, Otis is always mindful of the silent and stern scarecrow up on the hill. How Otis brings friendship to the lonely scarecrow, and maybe receives a smile in return, is a great lesson to children on friendship and compassion.
        Themes: Animals, Friendship, Holidays, Machines, Rhythm & Rhyme, Series
Others in the Series: Otis | Otis and the Tornado | Otis and the Puppy | Otis and the Scarecrow | An Otis Christmas | Otis and the Kittens


written/illus. by Helen Cooper, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005), 32p, Ages 4-8

While making pumpkin soup, Duck, Cat, and Squirrel discover they are missing the key ingredient — salt. On their shopping trip to the big city, Duck becomes lost when he stops at the Pepper Shop. All ends well with the help of six Police Dogs, four Fire Dogs, and two Foxes.
        Themes: Animals, Food, Holidays, Humor


written/illus. by Ken Brown, (Peachtree Publishers, 2001), 32p, Ages 4-7

A resourceful chicken admires a scarecrow’s hat as a potential nest and is overjoyed that Scarecrow is willing to give up his hat in exchange for a walking stick. “Now Chicken didn’t have a walking stick, but she knew someone who did.”

Thus begins a series of trades, in which Badger’s stick is swapped for a ribbon to tie his door open, Crow’s blue ribbon is traded for warm, soft wool for his nest, Sheep’s wool is given for glasses to help her look out for wolves, Owl’s glasses are traded for a blanket to sleep under, and Donkey’s blanket is swapped for feathers to shoo away the pesky flies, which Chicken happily supplies.

After obtaining her hat, Chicken uses it for a cozy nest. “And I wouldn’t swap it for anything!” Kids will enjoy Ken Brown’s captivating and delightful watercolor illustrations, while adults will approve of chicken’s resourcefulness.
        Themes: Animals, Concept, Heroes, Humor


written by Jane Yolen, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline, (Simon & Schuster, 2009), 32p, Ages 4-8

On a spooky, windy autumn evening, a lonely scarecrow blows off his perch in a cornfield. He leaps and dances happily across the fields, past the tractor, barn, silent cows, and sleeping pigs, until he reaches the farmhouse where a window light catches his attention.

Peeking in the window, he watches a young boy pray beside his bed, “And bless tonight / Our old scarecrow / Who guards the fields / And each corn row / So that tomorrow, / When we reap, / There will be lots / Of corn to keep.” Reflecting on the child’s prayer, the scarecrow realizes he alone has the responsibility of guarding the crops and keeping the fields from danger. Children will enjoy the delightful language and beautiful artwork, while parents will approve of the duty and responsibility message.
        Themes: Fantasy, Heroes, Holidays


written/illus. by Lucy Ruth Cummins, (Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018), 56p, Ages 4-7

What’s a pumpkin to do when he’s a beautiful color of orange and perfectly round as a basketball, but no one will choose him for their Halloween jack o’lantern? Due to his missing stem buyers overlook him, as Stumpkin sits expectantly on the shopkeeper’s shelf while other pumpkins are purchased and displayed in windows across the street.

As Halloween draws near, the shopkeeper’s black cat tries to help by squatting on top of Stumpkin to hide the missing stem but is frightened away by a dog. Even the gourd goes home with someone. Find out how Stumpkin’s home might just be under his yet-to-be carved out nose in this delightful, charming book about differences and acceptance.
        Themes: Holidays, Seasons


written by Wendi Silvano, illus. by Lee Harper, (Two Lions, 2015), 40p, Ages 4-7

It’s Halloween and the barnyard animals are longing for candy. Realizing that a costume is needed, they look to Turkey for a solution. He does his best to cobble together a ghost costume but, “Farmer Ben’s son looked at Turkey. ‘I can see through this trick. Halloween treats aren’t for turkeys. I’m BOO-ting you out!’” The animals then suggest a ballerina, a pirate, and a superhero costume, but every time another farmer sees through the disguise and turns him away. Time was running out, until he learns that being himself works just fine.

When Mable Mayberry, blind as a bat, thinks his costume is marvelous, she gives him all her candy. The animals agree, “It was the BEST Halloween ever!” Kids will love the facial expressions of the animals and Turkey’s inventive costumes.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Food, Holidays, Humor, Series
Others in the Series: Turkey Claus

Halloween Storykeepers
Ages 7-10

written by Angela Shelf Medearis, illus. by Jacqueline Rogers, (Scholastic Press, 1997), 40p, Ages 7+

“Deep down in the East Texas woods, there stands a beautiful old house that folks in those parts say is haunted by the ghost of Sifty Sifty Sam.” When a realtor, unsuccessful in selling the house, offers a $5,000 reward to anyone who can spend one night in the house, a chef named Dan decides to try. Armed with pots, pans, and food, he encounters a very hungry spirit. Scared witless, Dan soon realizes that delicious food is the way to Sifty’s heart and prepares a banquet for the ghost who hasn’t eaten in 20 years. Dan wins the reward, opens a café, and Sifty agrees to wash the dishes in exchange for food and board.
         Themes: Food, Holidays, Humor


written by Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Chris Van Dusen, (Candlewick Press, 2007), 80p, Ages 6-9

It’s Halloween on Deckaroo Drive, and Mercy Watson returns in a hilarious holiday adventure. Not sure about the princess costume that Mrs. Watson wants her to wear for Halloween, Mercy has a change of heart when she hears “trick or treating”, which might mean buttered toast.

Who knew that trick or treating could lead to such an adventurous night, including chasing their neighbors’ cat up a tree, calling the local fire department, (who seems to respond to emergencies on Deckawood Drive fairly regularly), sniffing for buttered candy, and back home safe and sound celebrating with a stack of buttered toast. Kids will enjoy the hijinks in this chapter book, while adults will laugh at the reference to an old movie, A Streetcar Named Desire“ - Stelllllllllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
         Themes: Adventure, Animals, Chapter Books, Families, Holidays, Humor, Series
Others in the Series: Mercy Watson to the Rescue (2005) | Mercy Watson Fights Crime (2006) | Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride (2006) | (Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig (2008) | Mercy Watson Something Wonky Goes This Way (2009)


written by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, illus. by Brian Ajhar, (Dial Books, 1994), 32p, Ages 6-9

When the only daughter of wealthy parents is kidnapped by the family chauffeur, who demands a large ransom, money isn’t the problem. “’We must have her home before dark. She—she—she has to take her medicine before then—that’s it, her medicine’ stammered the distraught Mr. Wolverton-Manning.” Agreeing to meet at the Sweet Rest Graveyard, Ralph realizes that he has made a mistake when the full moon begins to rise and the family turns into werewolves.
         Themes: Families, Holidays


written by Mary Howitt, illus. by Tony DiTerlizzi, (Simon & Schuster, 2002), 40p, Ages 6-8

“Will you walk into my parlor?’ / said the Spider to the Fly, / ‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy; / The Way into my parlor is up a winding stair, / And I have many curious things to show you when you are there.“ Based on Mary Howitt’s 1829 cautionary poem, a well-dressed spider uses food and flattery to entice his guest, a petite dragonfly, into staying for an untimely demise. An endnote from the spider cautions children about those with “not-so-sweet intentions.” Marvelous illustrations await those who venture into this clever tale.
         Themes: Classics, Holidays, Insects, Rhythm & Rhyme

Halloween Storykeepers
Ages 8-12

written by Robert D. San Souci, illus. by Daniel San Souci, (Doubleday Books, 1992), 32p, Ages 8-11

This adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorn’s original tale tells of a scarecrow that was created out of sticks, tree limbs, and a pumpkin by an 18-century New England witch. Thinking to play a joke on the unfriendly Judge Gookin, Mother Rigby transforms her creation into a handsome man and sends Feathertop to woo the Judge’s daughter, Polly.

The joke backfires when the two fall in love, and Feathertop discovers that he is not human. “Feathertop chanced to look in the full-length mirror on the landing. To his horror, he didn’t see his human form reflected; instead, he saw Mother Rigby’s patchwork of sticks and witchcraft.” When returned to his original form, Feathertop longs for his lost love and Polly for her handsome stranger. With a change of heart, Mother Rigby decides to correct the situation, the two are reunited, and a lesson is learned about dabbling in magic.
         Themes: Folk Literature, Holidays


written/illus. By Jill Murphy, (Candlewick Press, 2015), 280p, Ages 8-12

Mildred Hubble returns to Miss Cackle's Academy, takes more responsibility (lighting the lantern and candelabras in the East Wing), rescues a lovable stray dog, and participates in a talent contest to win a swimming pool for the school. Trouble is never far away, especially when Ethel Hallow is around.
         Themes: Adventure, Holidays, Series
Other Book in the Series: The Worst Witch | First Prize for the Worst Witch | The Worst Witch at Sea | Bad Spell for the Worst Witch | The Worst Witch Strikes Again | The Worst Witch Saves the Day | The Worst Witch to the Rescue

Halloween Storykeepers
Ages 10-13

written by Sheila Turnage, (Kathy Dawson Books, $16.99, 2014,
ISBN 978-0-8037-3671-9), 368p, Ages 11+

This charming Southern-flavored sequel to Three Times Lucky (2012) finds Mo LoBeau’s foster mother, Miss Lana, accidentally bidding on the old historic Tupelo Inn and winning not only the inn, but its resident ghost. Six graders Mo and her partner in the Desperado Detective Agency, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, are determined to interview the young ghost for a class project. In the process, they discover buried treasure, a moonshine still, strange happenings in the inn and surrounding woods, and discover that others in town also have haunted pasts.

Intrepid, plucky, and persistent, Mo finds the answers she seeks as the story confronts issues of abusive and absent parents, illegal activities, guilt, and greed. Humor, colorful characters, family dynamics, Miss Lana’s pithy sayings (“All the world’s a stage, sugar, so hop on up there.”), and Mo’s letters to her missing upstream mother, work together to make this mystery worth uncovering.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Friendship, Holidays, Mysteries, Series
Other Book in the Series: Three Times Lucky #1 | The Odds of Getting Even #3 | The Law of Finders Keepers #4


The Nightmares That Ghosts Have

written by Louise Arnold, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2006), 192p, Ages 10+

Tom Golden would have been a normal eleven-year-old, except that his best friend is a ghost. Grey Arthur’s job, as an invisible friend, is to supply Tom with forgotten lunches and pens for class, and to keep bullies away.

In this sequel to “Golden & Grey: An Unremarkable Boy and a Rather Remarkable Ghost”, Grey starts a school for ghosts who are looking to begin new careers as companions to human children. Along with an assorted group of endearing and quirky ghosts, Tom and Grey must solve the mystery of why ghosts all over the world are disappearing at the hand of the Collector.

         Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Holidays, Mysteries, Series
Other Books in Series: An Unremarkable Boy and a Rather Remarkable Ghost #1 | A Good Day for Haunting #3


written by Clete Barrett Smith, (Disney-Hyperion, 2014), 288p, Ages 10+

Part businessman, part con artist, Nick earns money by supplying test answers and hacking computers to help his single mom pay the bills. When Nick and his buddy, Burger, accidentally cause a delivery truck (driven by a bear) to crash, they discover Halloween costumes with strange abilities. After rescuing the driver, Nick helps with the bizarre deliveries, rescues stolen costumes, saves a Halloween party gone amok, deals with one difficult witch, and solves his family’s financial problems. Zaniness and hilarity abound in this holiday treat surrounding a good-hearted hustler, his crazy sidekick, wormholes, witches, and magical costumes.
         Themes: Adventure, Holidays, Humor


Over the years, we have researched thousands of children's books, and can recommend some of the best in outstanding children's literature for parents to read aloud and children to read.

Our recommendations must meet certain criteria: fun, creative and imaginative stories, delightful illustrations, and excellent for age appropriate listening and reading. We hope that you enjoyed our recommendations. If you desire further information some of the best in children's literature, please visit our website, www.tchliteracy.com.

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