-posted by Ruth
The 13 Days of Halloween by Carol Greene, illustrated by Tim Raglin
Looking for a fun and off-beat book in anticipation of Halloween? I recommend this highly original, whimsical, and yes, a bit creepy tale. You can even sing to it, to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s definitely patterned on this traditional carol, but instead of “my true love,” it is “my good friend” (a dashing ghoul) who gives his ghostly heart throb a slew of hysterical—and pretty ghastly—gifts, like cooked worms, fat toads, and a vulture in a dead tree. On the 13th day, readers are invited to guess what she gives to her good friend when she invites him to tea.
The growing lists are lots of fun—and it’s great to have a Halloween sing-along. But it is the illustrations that make this book such a hit with children. The drawings are intricate and detailed with tons of funny twists. The characters change costumes and turn up in new situations as the book progresses. For example, the 6 screeching owls might be balancing on the ghoul’s arms on one page spread, yet you’ll find them sipping through straws as they perch on the lip of a bubbling cauldron on another page. I like the slimy toads in their baby bonnets looking quite dejected in every picture.
This book appeals to a wide age range- the rhymes make it fun for the very young to hear, and the silliness appeals to older readers. But first-graders may be the perfect age to enjoy this book- one first-grade teacher I know suggests buying a hardcover edition; her paperback copy became quickly dog-eared and tattered. Start a new fall tradition with The 13 Days of Halloween.