The Halloween Costume Ball

Clavis. Aug. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781605378220.
PreS-Gr 1–Skeletons, werewolves, and bats. Spiders, goblins, and cats. On Hallo-ween night, a full moon glows in a purple, starry sky when three young children hear a “tap, tap, tap,” at the door. Peering outside, they see three large, unblinking eyes stare back at them. Who could they belong to? Suddenly, a horde of spooky characters parades past: skeletons “clickity-crack!,” aliens “Bzzzzt!,” and mad scientists “blub, blub!” The creepy crowd halts as the front door opens wide. Are they bringing the eerie party inside? Sawan’s cheerfully rhyming text, paired with Abbot’s friendly colorful illustrations, refrain from any true Halloween spookiness. Young readers feeling anxious about Halloween costumes will discover the creepy characters seen marching through the story slowly morph into children pretending to be pirates, vampires, wizards, and the like. The story attempts to delicately reveal to children that costumes are worn by real people; however, the transition is subtle enough that children may miss the connection. Sawan’s vocabulary invites readers to imitate the mysterious sounds they hear, and the composition of costumed friends on each page is conducive for counting, making this Halloween romp a candidate for not-so-spooky story times.
VERDICT A simple, good-natured story to share with young readers for a sweet Halloween treat.

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