2 Halloween Picture Books Starring Grumpy Monkey and Dr. Seuss’s Horton | Holiday Spotlight

The iconic Dr. Seuss’s Horton and Grumpy Monkey star in stories that reminder readers scary situations become slightly less ominous when there are good friends around to help you face your fears.

Scary sounds in the jungle after dark become slightly less ominous when there are good friends around to help you face your fears.

Bradford, Wade. Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Boo! illus. by Tom Brannon. 32p. Random. Aug. 2023. Tr $10.99. ISBN 9780593643532.
PreS-Gr 1–One quiet October night, Horton the elephant is out counting stars by the light of the moon when suddenly he hears a loud “Boo!” echoing from a nearby cave. The sound frightens Horton and his friends, especially the monkeys who swear to have seen an enormous shadow in the cave as well. Unwilling to spend the night in a tree, Horton bravely leads his companions into the unknown to discover the source of the sound in order to determine whether they really need to be afraid, after all. This charming story is just right for fans of Horton Hears a Who, especially in anticipation of the Halloween holiday. Dr. Seuss’s iconic illustrative style adorns the pages of this book, and there are just enough nighttime hues to enhance the spookiness of the setting. Accompanying the illustrations are rhyming couplets of text in Seussian style. Though there are not as many unusual words in this book as others within the Seuss canon, the vocabulary is wide and varied, which enhances young readers’ own understanding of language. The story keeps readers engaged as the characters investigate the source of the mysterious noise, and the ending teaches a lesson about bravery and open-mindedness in a way only a Dr. Seuss book can. VERDICT Nostalgic and enjoyable, this is a delightful addition to Halloween storybook collections for young readers.–Mary Lanni

Lang, Suzanne. Grumpy Monkey Don’t Be Scared. illus. by Max Lang. 32p. (Grumpy Monkey). Random House Studio. Jul. 2023. Tr $10.99. ISBN 9780593486955.
PreS-Gr 2–Jim Panzee, the chimpanzee, and his friends hear a distant, eerie knocking sound in the jungle as they set out for treats on Halloween night. The moonlit prowl is less inviting than their daytime jaunts, offering more tricks than treats as creeping, crawling creatures spy from the shadowy undergrowth. Jim denies his obvious fear of the unfamiliar sights and sounds with his repeated phrase, “I’m not scared.” As they walk, the gang discovers that most of the unsettling noises they hear are actually their nocturnal friends scurrying around in the dark. However, as they press on, the distant knocking sound grows louder and more imminent. Suddenly, the knocking becomes screaming, “Aye! Aye! Aye! Aye!,” and the friends are face-to-face with scraggly hair, bulging red eyes, and sharp fangs. Too frightening for Jim, he admits his fear and cries out, “I’m really, really scared!” This dialogue-driven romp through the nighttime jungle works in unison with expressive, cartoon-style pen and watercolor sketches to produce a spookier tone than the rest of the “Grumpy Monkey” series. This jungle escapade could momentarily remind readers of Jonathan Allen’s I’m Not Scared!, but the memory will swiftly fade as the goosebumps creep in. The initial illustration of the red-eyed, screaming creature is particularly frightening, and coupled with some light fart humor between the friends, this book will likely be most entertaining for early elementary readers. VERDICT Libraries that purchase this Halloween edition in the “Grumpy Monkey” series will see it quickly flee the shelves.–Emily Brush

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