Saturday, October 15, 2005

For Younger Readers

Hooray! Elizabeth Ward has another "For Younger Readers" article in Sunday's Washington Post. (Isn't today Saturday? It seems newspapers are headed the direction magazines took long ago.) This week her theme is Halloween, which is coming up faster than expected this year.

Ward lists this season's best Halloween books and in her opinion they are:

Dave Horowitz's The Ugly Pumpkin. This title is everywhere in the bigbox bookstores, so it must have done well this season. Ward writes that it is the "rhyming, vegetable version of Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling" and that "this book's festive ending and wryly comic art outweigh the darkness of the theme."

Debby Atwell's The Warthog's Tail. In this picture book, a young witch encounters a sleeping warthog blocking her path. That's already a promising opening! The young girl tries magic, which doesn't work and she's unsuccessful until, "an old man chances by to explain the subtler magic of persuasion."

Mo Willems' Leonardo the Terrible Monster. I've seen this one about everywhere and I think I'll pick it up today because of this recommendation: "Willems, ever his own man, eschews a Halloween palette for this pitch-perfect yarn about a small monster with an identity crisis."

Ward also recommends another in Paula Danziger's Amber Brown series, Orange You Glad It's Halloween, Amber Brown? and a middle-grade novel by Catherine Badgley, Pippa's First Summer. Ward writes that, "Badgley, a research scientist, tracks a female bat from the summer day she is born 'as lightning struck the barn and rattled the old beams' to the night months later when 'snowflakes swirled over the forest [and] Pippa hung between her mother and her friend, deep in sleep.'"

I've just got to get those costumes going...