Fun reads for fall

HALLOWEEN—WHAT A TREAT! by Lisa Ann Marsoli, illustrated by Lucy Barnard, Robin Corey Books/Random House, $6.99; ages 2-5.

Five children set out to trick-or-treat. As they progress on their route, readers turn the wheel of the board book to match the five colors and textures of their costumes. Feel fur, bumps, felt, leather and shiny materials.

I'M LOOKING FOR A MONSTER! by Timothy Young, Random House Books for Young Readers, $9.99; ages 2-5.

The little boy in this story is looking for a very specific monster. The monster has to be just the right size, sort of scary, with horns on his head and covered with scales or feathers or fur. As you read, lift the flap, pull the tab and turn the wheel. Various choices appear in another enjoyable board book for the little readers.

LEAVES, by David Ezra Stein, Putnam Juvenile, $15.99; ages 3-6.

One autumn day baby bear watches as the colorful leaves fall. Baby bear gathers the leaves and takes them to a hole where he goes to sleep. In spring, after the snow melts, he wakes up to find new tiny leaves growing on the trees again. This easy book will not only help explain seasons to children but help them learn about hibernation.

PUMPKIN TOWN! OR, NOTHING IS BETTER AND WORSE THAN PUMPKINS, by Katie McKy, illustrated by Pablo Bernasconi, Sandpiper, $6.99 (paperback); ages 4-7.

José and his family grow pumpkins. Each fall they take the pumpkins to faraway cities to sell. They save the biggest and best pumpkins for the seeds. One fall day the brothers take the smaller seeds to the edge of their field and toss them away. The wind carries the seeds to the next town. After the first rain in spring all the seeds start to grow. Soon there are pumpkins everywhere. José and his brothers realize what has happened and help the townspeople get their pumpkins ready for market. They are rewarded with a wagon full of watermelons. The watermelon seeds are saved in a bowl and you can imagine what happens next.

WHERE'S MY MUMMY? by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by John Manders, Candlewick, $15.99; ages 4-7.

Children find many ways to avoid going to bed. Little Baby Mummy is no different. He wants to play just one more game of"Hide and Shriek.” Off he runs to hide in the cemetery and wait for his mummy to come and find him. He meets up with many interesting characters all getting ready for bed. First he meets Bones brushing his teeth, next comes Glob washing his face, followed by Drac cleaning his ears. When Little Baby Mummy sees a mouse he becomes frightened and runs right into Big Mama Mummy’s arms. Off to home they go and get ready for bed following the same routine as the cemetery characters.

QUEEN OF HALLOWEEN, by Mary Engelbreit, HarperCollins, $16.99; ages 4-7.

Ann Estelle in her fairy queen costume and Michael as a pirate are all ready for trick-or-treat time. The night is dark and there are many ghosts and witches running all around. When their bags get full, father says it is time to go home. Of course the children plead for just one more house. Father lets them, but says they can do this one alone. The last house is scary looking—a dog barks and the steps creak. The door is opened by a white-haired woman who suggests the two children take the candy that is left because they are her last trick-or-treaters for the night. Ann Estelle announces they did it alone because queens and pirates are brave. The book includes an Ann Estelle paper doll for a Halloween treat.

THE WITCH WHO WANTED TO BE A PRINCESS, by Lois G. Grambling, illustrated by Judy Love, Charlesbridge, $6.95 (paperback); ages 4-7.

More than anything else, Bella the witch wants to become a princess. No matter how many spells she tries, nothing works. After Bella checks her computer she learns that because witches have become an endangered species, they can’t change themselves into anything else. After weeks of checking the Sunday personal ads she finds one that looks promising. The Prince of Styne is looking for a beautiful damsel to wed. She hops on her jet-powered broom stick and off she goes to the Kingdom of Styne where she meets Prince Franklyn. Well, you know the rest.

BEASTLY RHYMES TO READ AFTER DARK, written by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Brian Biggs, Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12.99; ages 5-8.

If you have children who enjoy bizarre poetry, this is a book for them. The furry green and white cover is definitely an attention-getter. I am sure you have heard about people flushing baby crocodiles down the toilet?"The Lavatory Crocodile” gives new meaning to what might happen to them. In another poem, you learn that animals at the zoo like to trick-or-treat, too. Young William learns one should"Never Bully A Bug” because they all have giant-sized cousins who will come back to pick on you.

Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher with four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6.

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