In the cold gray tomb
There was a gravestone
And a black lagoon
And a picture of-
And so begins Goodnight Goon, A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, may have gotten on my mommy nerves as I read it for the umpteenth time, however since we only break out our Halloween books but once a year, this has become one of our favorite holiday reads. No holiday is complete in our house without picture story books, and here are a few of our favorite classic and not-so-classic Halloween tales:
- Iris Van Rynbach’s retell of the classic story song Five Little Pumpkins, is my #1’s favorite Halloween tale and one of mine too. I remember fondly learning the hand movements to the Five Little Pumpkin’s song and teaching my babies when they were too young to sit still for reading time but loved the song and all the movements. It’s a classic that never goes out of style.
- Carl Reiner’s Tell Me a Scary Story…But Not TOO Scary! is my #1’s second favorite spooky tale. He enjoys the build-up as the story becomes spookier and spookier and the surprise ending. As the story continues on, Reiner pauses to ask the reader, “Shall we turn the page – or is it too scary?” It’s up to you to decide!
- Both my boys agree on Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom, as one of their very favorites. This not so Halloween tale tells the story of a witch with a cat, a hat that was black, and a long ginger braid down her back. It is a story of friendship found in unlikely ways told in rhyme and rhythmic cadence. A great tale for learning sight words, as kids can anticipate the next word often, yet the story is not too juvenile or simplistic and full of a couple of surprises. As an added bonus, a side of fries might never sound the same to you after reading this.
- My #2 picked Brooms are for Flying also by Michael Rex, as his favorite Halloween tale. I asked, why and he stated emphatically that he “loves the dance that goes with the story”. As we’ve read over the years, we have always acted out the pages; marching to “Legs are for marching.” The energetic movements you can perform throughout are really preschooler perfect, and even though my boys are 7 and 8 years old they still delight in getting to their feet and joining in.
- Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane was also one of my #2’s picks. This familiar “Over in the meadow” like story that starts, “Over in the forest, where the trees hide the sun, lived a big mommy monster and her little monster one…” is fun to read and fun to anticipate what might happen next.
- Lastly but not least for today’s Halloween list is There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat!, because I am a sucker for Lucille Colandro’s There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed books, I buy each one I come across. The rhyming cadence is great for young readers to build their sight words and reading confidence as they predict what’s going to happen next in the familiar tale. My boys may roll their eyes at me, but they still are always eager to read these books to me. These are the very first books my boys started “reading with expression” to me – so precious, no matter what they may think now.
This list is certainly not the extent of our Halloween reading. Zen Ghosts by Jon J Muth, Haunted House, Haunted Mouse by Judy Cox, and Pumpkin Heads by Wendell Minor, are included with many others in our holiday tradition because you are never too old or too big to enjoy a good storybook. Happy Halloween and happy reading to all!
Disclaimer: This post reflects only the opinion of the writer. No one was solicited or compensated in any way for this expression of opinion on these books.