Reviews for Trick-or-Treat : A Happy Haunter's Halloween

Booklist Reviews 2013 August #1
Plenty of spooky rhyming books about the pumpkin season already exist, but Leppanen can sling around Halloween iconography with the best of them. Fifteen double-page spreads employ a variety of settings--including trick-or-treating scenarios, Halloween parties, and, especially, bedtime scenes--and toss in everything from ping-ponging skeletons to mop-riding witches, tentacled closet monsters, and bathing ghosts. Though some poems stretch out for several stanzas, the best are the short, blunt ones: "I raffled my hat. / Whoever did win it / got something extra-- / my head was still in it." Carpenter's angular digital art has a Molly Bang-style boldness and uses bright primary colors to contrast the various ghoulies against (mostly) dark and brooding backgrounds. The ominous undertones of some of the poems are lightened by the art's humorous details. Got an event involving a huddle of nervously giggling kids and a flashlight beneath the reader's chin? Here's your book. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
These Halloween-y poems told from shifting perspectives--the scared trick-or-treating youngsters' and the creepy monsters'--are great for both their expert cadence and the balance of tone. Some are mildly chilling, others are humorous. The digital illustrations embody this mix, too: children wide-eyed with fear are greeted by benign-looking creatures just having a good time.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #5
These Halloween-y poems told from shifting perspectives -- the scared trick-or-treating youngsters' and the creepy monsters' -- are great for both the expert cadence (they sound smashing aloud) and also the balance of tone. Some are mildly chilling: "I'm a ghoul, / that's what I do. / Don't ask me home / or I'll eat you!" Others are humorous: "Can anybody tell me / (if anybody knows) / why skeletons aren't freezing / when they don't wear any clothes?" The digital illustrations embody this mix, too: children wide-eyed with fear are greeted by benign-looking creatures just having a good time. A fun-filled, jaunty Halloween treat. katrina hedeen Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 August #1
Overall, Leppanen's collection of 15 poems--some clever, some funny, some creepy and some ho-hum--should get kids in a Halloween frame of mind. On October 31st, just about anything can happen, as these selections prove. Readers can consider what they would do if their shadows stopped following them or how they would cope with a wickedly grinning monster that they notice only when brushing their teeth before bed (it's perched on this child's head). Some poems allow kids to ponder how different life might be if it was always populated with such creepy creatures. If their mothers were mummies, would they serve "worms on toast" for breakfast or pack "spider eggs for lunch"? Do pingpong-playing skeletons get the shivers, since they are nothing but bones? Is it ever a good idea to invite a ravenously hungry ghoul into the house? Does it make sense that witches ride mops instead of broomsticks when it rains? Carpenter digitally illustrates each poem with a double-page spread saturated with bright colors against the relatively darker backgrounds of nighttime. His cartoon characters comically display the slight frights they experience. But nothing is new or truly exciting here, leaving this average effort lacking in tricks or treats. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #4

Fifteen short and often silly poems introduce Halloween monsters and spooks that ham it up in Carpenter's in-your-face digital cartoons. An enormous pink monster devours everything in sight, including the words of its poem, which appear inside his gaping mouth: "I eat spiders./ I eat slugs./ I eat any/ kind of bugs./ I eat cats/ and doggies too./ I eat rats/ (they're fun to chew)." A creepier entry portrays a girl's dark night of the soul after reading the names on tombstones: "I've read them all and now I'm done./ I've seen my name on every one." A gently ghoulish collection of Halloween poems to provoke both giggles and chills. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

K-Gr 3--Fifteen spooky poems, each with its own spread, celebrate Halloween as youngsters in costume share the night with a variety of ghosts, goblins, and unknown fiends. Bright neon colors contrast smartly with dark, brooding backgrounds as skeletons enjoy a cookout in the graveyard and Frankenstein goes trick-or-treating. A sliver of moon and a sprinkling of stars light the dark as, "Witches on broomsticks/fly over treetops./Except when it rains,/then they use mops." One verse extols the pleasures of a mummy mommy: "She reads my favorite horror story/and makes up extra parts-real gory." Another lists reasons that a vampire makes a wonderful daddy: "You can fly with him in the full moonlight./When someone picks on you, he'll bite!" Young readers will identify with the children searching for monsters under the bed and the source of strange noises at bedtime. They will also be reassured by the final verse, "Happy Haunter," featuring a smiling girl tucked into bed, safe from the creatures carousing outside on the rooftops. This collection of funny-scary verses is sure to delight even the faint of heart.--Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

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