The Monsters on the Broom (Annemarie Riley Guertin)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Monsters on the Broom, written by Annemarie Riley Guertin and illustrated by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn, a cute, melodic, Halloween-themed board book.

It’s Halloween night, and monsters are afoot! Metered to the classic rhythm of “Wheels on the Bus,” little readers can cackle, howl, and groan along with witches, werewolves, and mummies as they fly past on an enchanted broom.

Basic but fun. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here – simple lyrics twist a familiar nursery rhyme with spooky (but not scary) festive friends. There’s some cutouts on the top edge of the pages that give this board book a little personality, but no interactive elements, or really even a plot line. However, with some colorful and cute characters and a widely accessible concept, it’s not without its charms. The length is fine for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed it. As far as Halloween board book fare goes, this is a fine choice – perhaps not destined to be an annual classic, but certainly a quick and fun way to celebrate. Overall, Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to the Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

The Tinysaurs Trick-or-Treat (Patricia Hegarty)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Tinysaurs Trick-or-Treat, written by Patricia Hegarty and illustrated by Dean Gray, a festively sweet story of neighborly kindness.

It’s Halloween night, and the Tinysaurs – Spike, Roary, and Clawdie – are absolutely aflutter with anticipation. They’ve worked hard to get the house ready, and now they’re ready to greet trick-or-treaters… that is, until they discover that they are out of sweet treats! Clawdie cleverly comes up with a solution: they will go trick-or-treating themselves to get some candy for the revelers. Whipping up some homemade costumes, the trio head out to procure some candy – but will it be as easy as they think?

Sweet, sugary fun. This entry in the Tinysaurs series takes some classic trick-or-treating tropes and puts a slight spin on them, creating a family-friendly Halloween night journey of misadventures. Kids will enjoy the Tinysaurs’ costume malfunctions and brushes with overly interested dogs, parents will like how Hegarty manages to turn trick-or-treating into an altruistic endeavor. Gray’s illustrations are colorful and eye-catching, the length is great for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed it. This could be a fun read for younger bookworms, especially those who need a reminder that Halloween is a community affair (as opposed to a candy-grabbing free-for-all). Overall, we liked it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Creepy Crayon! (Aaron Reynolds)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Creepy Crayon!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown, third in the pair’s Creepy series starring Jasper Rabbit.

At the opening of this entry, the reader finds Jasper struggling at school; in fact, art class seems to be the only place he is excelling. That is, until the day that Jasper happens upon a purple crayon dangling over the storm drain, one that seems… oddly happy to see him. When using the purple crayon in class, Jasper finds that the correct answers write themselves! He no longer has to concern himself with studying, as the crayon does all the work for him, earning praise from his teachers and classmates. However, Jasper begins to grow uncomfortable with his accolades, especially when the crayon begins taking over his art projects and writing creepy messages around him. How will Jasper find his way out of this spooky situation?

Genuine creeps with a subtle lesson. Reynolds and Brown have a knack for creating spooky picture books that perfectly walk the line of unsettling yet not overly scary, and this might be their best effort yet. Not only was JJ “spooked out” by the purple crayon, even I was legitimately starting to get the willies from this disquieting art supply! Best of all, underneath the creeps lies an important lesson on academic effort, particularly that a mediocre improvement earned through one’s hard work will always be more satisfying (and less stressful) than cheating or taking the easy way out. Brown’s grayscale-and-purple visuals are wonderfully atmospheric and often cinematic, the length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both loved this one. A great title to check out during spooky season, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to the Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

If Your Babysitter is a Bruja (Ana Siqueira)

Hello, friends! Our book today is If Your Babysitter is a Bruja, written by Ana Siqueira and illustrated by Irena Freitas, a delightful multilingual Halloween tale.

Beware, kiddos: Halloween is approaching and magic is in the air. That’s one of the reasons that the unnamed child narrator of our story suspects that her new babysitter is not all that she appears to be. In fact, with a black sombrero, sus gatazos, and a decidedly witchy style, it’s almost certain: the new babysitter is a bruja! Fortunately, she appears to be a good witch, for while the child playfully “defends” herself against the bruja, it’s all in good fun – until the play crosses a line, and the child feels guilty that she may have offended her new spooky pal. Can she make amends for her behavior?

Wonderful! Siqueira and Freitas combine their talents to create an entertaining and unexpected Halloween tale. The tone of the story is light-hearted and humorous from the jump, with the illustrations presenting the bruja babysitter as a friendly figure that the child is enjoying her playtime with, even as the text teases a battle of wits between the babysitter and child. The text also nicely straddles the question of whether or not the bruja’s powers are real or the product of imaginative play, leaving young readers to draw their own conclusions. What makes the text truly special is the flawless use of Spanglish; while unitalicized Spanish words are given context by their surroundings for monolingual English speakers, for dual-language speakers, the flow between both languages is effortless and a joy to read aloud. Cheerful illustrations that utilize an autumnal/Día de los Muertos-inspired palette complete the experience. The length is perfect for a storytime, JJ and I both loved the silly and spooky theme. Overall, this is a fantastic addition to Halloween bookshelves that combines culture, comedy, and kindness, and we highly recommend it! Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Knock Knock, Trick or Treat!: A Spooky Halloween Lift-the-Flap Book (Amy E. Sklansky)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Knock Knock, Trick or Treat!: A Spooky Halloween Lift-the-Flap Book, written by Amy E. Sklansky and illustrated by Chiara Galletti, a fun board book for little ghouls and goblins.

Readers can enjoy a trick-or-treating adventure through a very spooky neighborhood in this Halloween-themed lift-the-flap monster mash. Each of ten front door flaps opens to the reveal a different creepy creature within: a werewolf, a zombie, a vampire, a cyclops, and more! At what appears to be a neighborhood gathering on the final page, readers are assured that these monstrous neighbors aren’t actually scary – after all, they love candy, just like you and me!

Festively cute. Monster fans will delight with the cast of beasties on display, especially lesser-used monsters like the cyclops (a word JJ really enjoyed learning). Galletti’s illustrations are marvelously detailed, adding tons of clever visual gags and Easter eggs that make each “home” and its occupant unique. The rhyming text is simple, has a great rhythm, and is fun to read aloud, even if the lines written on the instead of the flaps can be tricky to make out, especially if you open any of the double doors in the wrong order (plus, as any caregiver with lift-a-flap books knows, those rhymes will be long gone if the flap is torn off by a rambunctious young reader). Also, it was a strange choice that the book revolves around collecting candy through trick-or-treating, yet none of the monsters are offering candy when their doors are opened; its an odd choice that feels like a missed opportunity. Otherwise, the length is perfect for a quick storytime, and JJ enjoyed it. This was a fun and festive way to celebrate the spooky season – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)