In just a couple of days, our homes will be filled with spooky ghosts, daring vampires, magic-wielding witches and maybe even a pooka or two. Don’t worry. Usually they are quite small and carrying bags demanding treats. And like last year, it’s quite likely that these hauntings will take place closer to home than normal. So why not calm and soothe little spooks with some fantastic picture books this Halloween? I’ve got a few new favourites here….
RITA WANTS A WITCH by Máire Zepf and Mr Ando (Graffeg Ltd) is positively perfect for all the little people with big ideas. Especially big Halloween ideas! Rita wants a witch for some magical mayhem and spooky fun. A witch could really help with all kinds of things; flying through the sky on a broomstick, creating enchantments and spells. Even cleaning up would be so, so easy with a witch by your side. But what if things don’t quite work out that way? What if the witch was a bit too scary? An absolutely adorable, spectacularly fun story with bright, colourful, joyous illustrations with huge appeal to even the youngest little goblins. (Previously published as gaeigle as Rita agus an Chailleach; 2018, An tSnáthaid Mhór)
Remember last years’ story, Have You Seen the Dublin Vampire? Well, he’s back in A SPOOKTACULAR PLACE TO BE by Úna Woods (The O’Brien Press)! While the Dublin Vampire loves his creepy old tree in his moon-shaped park, he sometimes wonders if there isn’t somewhere else that might be a little more….spooktacular. After a chat with his bat, the decision is made. It’s time to go exploring. He’s off on an all-Ireland Ghost bus tour to visit the creepiest places in Ireland! Meeting mummies in St Michans’ Church crypt; visiting the hair-raising Banshee at the Fastnet Lighthouse; dancing with the skeletons at Newgrange; hearing the Púcas’ song in the Hazelwood Forest…it’s all pretty spooktacular. But theres’ somewhere that suits the Dublin Vampire even more… Lively, vivid illustrations filled with expression and fun help make this story just perfect for the spookiest night of the year! (In fact, they both are!)
From the pair that brought us the wonderful Tooth Fairy in Training, look out for WITCH IN TRAINING by Michelle Robinson and Briony May Smith (Walker Books). Young witch Bettty id brewing her first ever potion! But first she needs to collect all the right ingredients before casting her spell over the bubbling cauldron. Fortunately, Mum is happy to help, so off they fly on their broomsticks. Dragonflies, vampire fangs, werewolf whiskers, mummy dust and so much more! They’ve got the all, the cauldron is bubbling hot, nothing can go wrong! Right? An absolute delight of a tale with vivid, detailed and atmospheric illustrations to set the mood…and bring a lot of giggles.
I’ve already talked about THE WITCHLINGS WISH by Lu Fraser (Bloomsbury Childrens Books) over on the Picture Book page, but it’s such a delight I have to mention it again. Living alone on her mountain top, Little Witchling wants nothing more than a friend. How will she find one? Maybe magic is the answer and her spell book has the perfect spell. Thee secret ingredient is fur from a little girls’ favourite teddy, so Witchling knows what she has to do. But the teddy belongs to Lily, who can’t bear to part with him. Could there be another way for Little Witchlings’ wish to come true? A beautiful, gentle witchy story about friendship.
And you’ll find a previous review of TEN DELICIOUS TEACHERS by Ross Montgomery and Sarah Warburton (Walker Books) on this blog. Not only is it a great book for starting back to school, but these fabulous monsters are a perfect adding to any haunting activities you have going on. Can’t forget the monsters this Halloween…they are hungry!
I’m going to finish up with one of my very favourites. POOKA PARTY by Shona Shirley MacDonald (The O’Brien Press) is just out in paperback! And it’s one you have got to get your hands on! The Pooka is a magical shapeshifter who lives alone in the mountains; fixing things, painting, dancing and singing. Suddenly, the Pooka realises that its lonely and hasn’t seen its friends in ages! So it’s time for a party…the Pooka Party of the century!A stunningly illustrated, madcap and magical tale of what to do if you feel sad and lonely, with some mischievous monsters, flying cakes and a guest appearance by the Moon. Trust me; you need this book for all your Halloween celebrations.
That’s just a few of the fabulous picture books that will entertain, delight and set the scene for Halloween. What? You don’t have them? Looks like it’s time for some Happy Haunting at the bookshop!