Halloween Books Part II

More Spooky Reads!
I think any holiday especially one as awesome as Halloween ( that’s my sweet tooth talking) is a fantastic catalyst for reading. Use your child’s excitement to get some learning in ! Here are three more fun Halloween Books.

“Dem Bones” by Bob Barner is sort of two books in one. The superficial layer uses the words of the ever popular old time spiritual with fun Halloween inspired skelleton illustrations. There is also a second layer that has longer text for older children that goes into the anatomy of the bones the song sings about. Great way to keep a Halloween theme strong while teaching about the human body!

” Maisy’s Halloween “ is a cute board book for toddlers that follows Maisy’s search for the right Halloween costume. There is something about this little mouse that children just love, it’s also a cute introduction about the fun we have dressing up for Halloween.

” Big Pumpkin” by Erica Silverman is a staple in most preschool classrooms. It’s a cute story about a witch who is desperate for pumpkin pie but her giant pumpkin is too big for her to pick up! Luckily she enlists the help of a ghost, vampire, mummy and bat and with a little teamwork they save the night! The rhyming text is almost like a song and kids love it!

Halloween Books!

Scary Good Books !

I am posting this now so there is some hope that my readers will be able to find these books in their local library before they are all snatched up!

” Monster Math” by Anne Miranda is a fun math lesson turned into a fun and entertaining storybook. You can simply read the book or you can have your little mathematician help you guess how many new monsters arrive and leave on each page. The illustrations are adorable and even if the math skills are above your toddler or preschoolers heads they will still enjoy the book.
” Inside a House That Is Haunted” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli was the hands down favorite Halloween book for my 3 year old class in 2005. I must have read this 200 times and even after Christmas had come and gone it was still requested all the time. The story is a rebus read along, so it is repetitive and it builds upon itself. This is great for children who are eager to “read along” before they are able to read words. The repetitiveness allows them to anticipate what is next and feel included. Very cute even after reading it hundreds of times.

” 10 Trick – or Treaters by Janet Schulman was the book I bought to try and eclipse ” Inside a House That Is Haunted” and while my class loved this one two my plan didn’t quite work out. This book has the most adorable pictures and in every page there is an owl hidden somewhere, which is a great trick to keep reluctant readers involved. The story counts down from 10 to no trick or treaters with fun rhyming text and a fun array of trick or treaters in cute costumes.

Alphabet Book List

animalia by Greame Base

Align Center

Animalia by Graeme Base is iconic in teaching circles, you can loose yourself for hours in the detailed illustrations. The book is an alphabet book on steroids! Each page had a wonderful paragraph in each letter such as for the letter L ” Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.” The pages are filled to the gills with pictures of things that start with that letter as well. Parents and kids a like will fall in love!


Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming is a wonderful example of what an alphabet book should be. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers learning their first letters, the text is short , the letters are front and center and the illustrations are fun and interesting. My son loves this book, I grabbed it at the library after remembering how much my Pre K class loved it too! Many alphabet books are too long to read entirety at circle time or in one shot with a toddler but this my 19 month old will sit through Z every time!


The Racecar Alphabet by Brian Floca did not live up to my expectations. My main complaint it that the letters aren’t showcased at all. Yes each page starts with the appropriate letter but I really feel like in an alphabet book the letter needs to be obvious , and easy for young children to pick out. The text was centered around each letter but there wasn’t very good flow from one page to the next. I was disappointed in this pick.

What Pete Ate
What Pete Ate from A to Z by Marie Kalman had my Pre-K class in stitches begging for more. It really is a funny book about a dog and his alphabetical list of things he’s eaten. I like it because it’s funny and simple and the alliterative text isn’t forced. The sarcastic bits will keep parents giggling too!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is one of my absolute favorite books ever. Many alphabet books are great tools but this one not only entertains it never gets old. It’s text is musical , it’s premise is brilliant in it’s simplicity and kids love it. My favorite line is ” Skit skat scoodle doot. Flip flop flee. ” I hope I am conveying how much fun this book is to read out loud. I have never had a class who didn’t like it and if you don’t have it, you should!
Chicka Chicka ABC is a fantastic board book and shorter version of the longer book. My son loves this book and it’s the perfect amount of text for a toddler, the illustrations by Lois Ehlert are so bright and bold that even very young babies will respond to it! A must have for all bookshelves.

Baby's Alphabet by Jean Marzollo
Baby’s Alphabetby Jean Marzollo will appeal to your baby and toddler, we were given it as a gift and my son has loved it since about 9 months on. The photographs of other babies will keep your little one interested and you will be surprised how soon they will anticipate the next page, I know I was. Sadly our copy is now flying the friendly skies , we took it on a flight with us last week and forgot it. Hopefully someone with a baby finds it !

The Ocean Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta is a good book, not a page turner but it is filled with fun facts about sea creatures. The book is geared towards older children but because it has letters prominently displayed on each page, with great illustrations your toddler will enjoy it too. The text really is too long to read from A-Z for a circle time or a toddler but it was very easy for me to simply read each letter and label the ocean animal for my son who then sat through the whole alphabet. If your child is into all things that swim this is a good book to foster that love and learn a little about letters at the same time!


Alphabeep!: A Zipping, Zooming ABC by Debora Pearson is a great book for older toddlers and preschoolers. The transportation themed book uses rhymes and colorful illustrations to go from A to Z. The text was a bit long for my young toddler but I shortened it and he was able to enjoy the book , children 2 and up will love it just the way it is! This is on my must buy list.


Get Your Library Card Ready…

Brand Spanking New !
( well to me)

These books and are too cute to miss, so put away the classics ( just for today) and run to your library and crack open something new!

” The Bus For Us” by Suzanne Bloom is a insanely simple but totally engaging book. My son loved it because each page brings a new vehicle to the bus stop, and I loved it because of the children represented were diverse. There is a good repetitive rhyme as well.



Sink or Swim “
by Valerie Coulman is my new favorite book, it’s about a cow who is determined to learn how to swim. He seeks out advice, gets all the equipment and never gives up! The story is a wonderful lesson about tenacity in the face of adversity . The cow just keeps trying!

“The List” by Hazel Hutchins is a really sweet story about a generous queen eager to shower a neighboring kingdom’s new prince with all the best gifts, and her little daughter who in the end provides the best and simplest of them all. Very cute and a good lesson about the bestthings being free, simple and from the heart.

But Can They Write?

Celebrity Authors
Here are my reviews of a few books written by authors you may know and love ( or hate) from their other lives as celebrities. I am eager to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment about celebrity authors, the featured books or leave a recommendation for a “celebrity” book I didn’t mention .

“Is There Really A Human Race?” by Jamie Lee Curtis made me cry. My husband would say that’s not exactly hard , but it is when it’s a book not many bring me to tears. I really like this book and so did my son which surprised me because I thought it would be too long and sophisticated for a 2 year old. The rhyming text was so well written that it along with the adorable illustrations by Laura Cornell kept him happily interested as I read it to him before nap. I thought that the message was going to be about race relations, but instead it was about the rat race, and how it’s more important to try your best, help others and to be bold. The line ” And for those who can’t speak for themselves use bold voices” was when I lost it. I hope that lesson is one I can teach my son, to stand up for others. Okay so maybe I am a softy but this book is great!


“Where Do Balloons Go?: An Uplifting Mystery” by Jamie Lee Curtis is a cute book. After being so happily surprised with the previous book I grabbed this one and started reading it to my son. This was too sophisticated for a 2 year old and probably too much after a few other books. It’s a funny book that fantasizes about the life of a balloon after it slips from your hands. I wish I could have read it to a 4 or 5 year old to see their reaction. I liked it but the message that stood out for me was most definitely one for the parent reading it more than for the child. Not that kids wouldn’t be entertained, I am sure they would. The overall message is about letting go, and what parent can’t relate to the anxiety of letting go.


“I Got Two Dogs” by John Lithgow will delight you. The book comes with a CD and I urge you to play it, hearing a book by the author is always amazing, but this song was thoroughly entertaining. As a dog lover who fondly remembers my childhood dog eating all the lasagnas at my first boy girl dinner party , I can relate to the naughty but lovable dogs. The message is about devotion and unconditional love and you don’t have to be a dog lover to get that.


“Carnival of the Animals” by John Lithgow is a book about a little boy who falls asleep on a school trip to the natural history museum. He has wild dreams where people in his life turn into the animals from the museum. This is the perfect example of why I should preview books before handing them to my son. This book isn’t for toddlers, some may like it but the text is long and the illustrations while beautiful and can be scary. They freaked my son out so we closed it and I read it later. The book is written in prose and the vocabulary is advanced , which I love! How are children suppose to expand their vocabularies if we don’t challenge them? That said I would probably not expect a child under 5 to sit through the whole book, although I am sure some eager 3 or 4 year olds would be just fine. I should also note that the book also comes with a CD although mine was missing from my library copy, I will update this post after I have found a copy and listened to it.

“Mr. Peabody’s Apples” by Madonna is a preachy but worth a look. As an adult reading it I couldn’t help but think it was a “poor me” story about how celebrities are faced with rumors but really that must be hard. I was being unfair so I put my preexisting knowledge about the author away and started to like the story. It’s about a teacher who is the center of a small town’s gossip mill after a boy thinks he sees the teacher steal. The moral tone is heavy but the Rockwellesque illustrations by Loren Long make reading it feel like you are in a time warp and the heavy tone is not so overbearing. The book is far too long for young preschoolers but appropriate for the 5 and up crowd.


“The English Roses” by Madonna is a pretty book, filled with pretty girls with pretty hair and pretty clothes. I’m not sure I like the rest of it. I don’t hate it but I am a little concerned about a few messages that stood out for me. Now as a teacher I have had to defend some books to parents over the years and I think that most books can be spun by the questions the teacher or parent asks and how the discussion after reading goes. This book can be useful with that for sure, and I think many young girls especially would like this book. Here are my reservations though, the plot is about a clique of girls who don’t like a classmate. They don’t like her because she is “perfect” and they are jealous of that. After a rude awakening by a fairy godmother they see she has no mom and does many chores. So they pity her and decide to start being nice to her, in return people start talking about them and they become popular. I guess I was hoping that in the long book that there would be more substance to the lesson. Like people for who they are not because you feel sorry for them, judge people when you know them not by their outsides and I think Madonna trying for that but just missed the mark.