Book Bites: Spooktacular Halloween Tales

Halloween is just around the corner and although observations celebrating this time of remembering the dead vary from country to country, the traditions associated with it have made it one of the most notable celebrations of the year. This wee collection of children's picture books embrace the essence of spook but also fun and friendship.

1, 2, Boo! A Spooky Counting Book
I love a bright colourful board book, able to withstand years of love and wear. 1, 2, Boo! is a counting book that clusters all of your favourite Halloween images and themes into a chillingly colourful countdown from 1 – 10.  Crammed with ghosts, goblins, bats, dangling skeletons and even warty toads, this fun rhyming romp harnesses the fun of the trick-or-treating tradition, neatly entertaining even the wee non-verbal youngsters in your life, never mind the bigger ones whose sole aim is to fill their lolly bags.

Title: 1, 2, Boo! A Spooky Counting Book
Author: Paul Howard
Illustrator: Paul Howard
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books, $14.99
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781526612052
For ages: 0 – 4
Type: Board Book

Buy the Book: Bloomsbury Books

Midnight Ninja
Lovers of a rollicking rhyming story that oozes with boisterous bravado, brilliant characters and a lot of silly spook will be fans of author illustrator, Sam Lloyd’s riotous picture books. Midnight Ninja is about a little boy and his pussycat, Ginger who despite their unassuming striped appearance, harbour a fantastic secret. They are consummate naughty-baddy-catchers – aka Midnight Ninjas!

Throughout the black of night they live a life of subterfuge and daring, utilising all the usual superhero tricks and instruments to solve improbable dilemmas like…stolen socks! This is not as pedestrian as it sounds for the thief of said missing socks is no other than the Big Bad Spider King and he’s not going to relinquish his smelly stash without a fight.

Midnight Ninja bristles with high-paced fun, silly scary moments, and a crazy assortment of action-based doing words that satisfyingly snags your full attention. A truly happy Halloween tale.

Title: Midnight Ninja
Author: Sam Lloyd
Illustrator: Sam Lloyd
Publisher: Bloomsbury, $14.99
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781408884836
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Bloomsbury Books

This gorgeous batty tale about a wee furry flying mammal keen to strike out against the norm and explore her alternative world of light and day reminded me a lot of another brave bold little picture book character, my very own Pippa!

Like Pippa, Bitsy is daring and impatient, a real risk-taker who defies all warnings and predictions of doom and heads out into the light on her own. She discovers a glittering utopia of colours and textures, dazzling sounds and sights that fill her heart with wondrous joy, until the day-monsters strike.

Pummled with hurtful insults and hard gumnuts (because they are just as fearful of night-creatures like her), Bitsy scampers away in fright until she meets, Mitzi, a Numbat whose intentions blossom from kindness rather than a need to eat Bitsy. Together they revel in their newfound friendship, playing until nightfall much to the disbelief of the day creatures.

Greenberg’s lavish palettes of colour depict the bushland landscapes of Mitzi and Bitsy’s habitats in lush detail. Native fauna hide among bellowing native flora. Exuberant play is shown in sweeping brushstrokes and with playful typography and text placement; a true feast for the senses.

Bitsy is a story about meeting and facing your monsters be they imagined or real and displacing them with the magic of friendship.

Title: Bitsy
Author: Nicki Greenberg
Illustrator: Nicki Greenberg
Publisher: Affirm Press, $24.99
Publication Date: June 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781925870381
For ages: 5 – 8
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Booktopia, Boomerang Books

Bat vs Poss
On the subject of bats, fitting in and finding friendship, Alexa Moses’ Bat vs Poss is a beguiling tale featuring an antagonist (bat) whom you can’t help but end up loving. Bats don’t always get the best rap especially around this time of year when they procure an overdramatised sense of fear and dread. Yet our Aussie version, the humble fruit bat or flying fox, is an example of fundamental environmental necessity and bio diversity. And are downright cute to boot.

Anil Tortop’s visual representation of Squabbles the ostentatious, argumentative fruit bad at odds with Meek the brushtail possum and her extended family is one hundred per cent adorable and arguably one of the elements that helps personify these bushland creatures so realistically. The other is Moses’ jolly rhyming text and humorous word play that tells a story of territorial conflict, urban survival, forging unlikely friendships and learning to share.

Bat vs Poss is a bright and bouncy story to colour your Halloween (or any day) with.

Title: Bat vs Poss
Author: Alexa Moses
Illustrator: Anil Tortop
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books, $26.99
Publication Date: February 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780734418388
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Boomerang Books


Norah Colvin said…
Thanks for sharing this collection of delightful books for Halloween, Dimity. Enjoy the celebration!
DimbutNice said…
I sure will, Norah! And you. :-) Bwah ha ha ha!

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