As darkness arrives a little bit earlier each day and dusk lingers a bit longer, there's more time for imaginations to think of Halloween witches and their black cats. We decided this was the perfect time to revisit an old favorite, Wobble the Witch Cat by a favorite childhood author Mary Calhoun.
I originally fell in love with Mary Calhoun's books as a young reader following the adventures of Katie John. I imaginged visiting Katie John
in her big red brick house and having lots of adventures together. The books became even more special to me when I learned that Mary Calhoun's hometown was just a few miles down the road from where I grew up, and that big red brick house is still standing. It was as if Katie John became a favorite playmate! We hope you enjoy Wobble the Witch Cat and, if you don't know Mary Calhoun yet, she becomes one of your favorites as well.
Wobble the Witch Cat
by Mary Calhoun
illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
Wobble, the Witch Cat is a happy little black Halloween cat that
belongs to sweet-natured witch named Maggie. The two have always gotten along
famously and enjoyed many Halloween adventures together until Maggie ruined
their peaceful existence by getting a new broom. Something very unfortunate
occurs when Wobble goes out with Maggie on the new broom and has caused Wobble
to become very cross and dread the approach of the spooky night of Halloween.
The fun little Halloween tale, paired the vintage 1950s feeling illustrations
by Roger Duvoisin, is a perfect choice for young trick-or-treaters who prefer
Halloween stories that cause smiles and not scares.
Does it seem to you that Halloween gets more and more ghoulish every year? We enjoy a zombie-free Halloween zone: our pumpkins all smile, our ghosts are friendly, and our witches have neither green skin nor warts. The spine-tingling side of the holiday certainly has its place, but children can often find it a bit overwhelming and worry there really might be monsters in the closet once the lights are turned out.
So in keeping with this approach, here's our second spooky by not scary book to enjoy during the magical month of October.
Ghosts in the House
by Kazuno Kohara
Kid power is the theme of this wonderful, whimsical Halloween book. The young heroine of Ghosts in the House! is a confident little witch who knows just what to do with all the ghosts in the splendid house at the edge of town. With the help of her spunky little cat, she immediately takes charge of the situation and transforms the ghosts from haunting to helpful in a very clever way.
Full of stunningly simple illustrations with an almost tactile appearance to them, the book has a vintage look of children’s literature from the 195op0s when really the publication date is 2008. The colors are limited to black and orange and gauzy white, making the ghosts looks as if they could float right off the page. This is a book to be placed on the must read list and one that will be pulled from the shelf year after year to celebrate the Halloween season.
A delicious twist on a classic favorite, Gingerbread Baby is a story within a story about a fun-filled romp through a tiny Swiss village and into the forest. Matti makes the mistake of peeking into the oven just a bit too soon as Gingerbread Baby is baking and our mischievous little cookie takes advantage of the open oven door to make a quick escape.
A varied cast of characters joins in the chase to catch the puckish little treat, but it is Matti who stays home and bakes up a sweet plan in the borders on each page that entices Gingerbread Baby back home.
Jan Brett’s beautifully detailed paintings and a fun lift-the-flap feature bring the story to life so much that you will practically smell the gingerbread baking. Each page is so richly illustrated that readers will find themselves discovering something new and wonderful each time the book is opened. This is certain to become a must read holiday classic!
Moonlight: The Halloween Cat
is a warm and cozy Halloween book that tells
the story of a gentle black cat on her favorite night of the year. Smiling
pumpkins, trick-or-treaters and shining stars are just a few of sights
Moonlight sees as she explores the dark night before making her way inside her
own front door.
Artist Melissa Sweet illustrated the book with luminous
paintings that seem to glow and come to life as each page is turned. The text
is eloquent and lyrical, mimicking the softly padding movements of Moonlight as
she makes her way from one favorite spot to the next.
Told in a way that is
gentle, yet conveying the excitement of the holiday, Moonlight The Halloween
Cat is a perfect book for Halloween readers of every age.
With limited text and lots of repetition, young readers will love to join in and help read the refrain with enthusiastic sound effects. Participating in the reading process is an important early literacy skill that encourages a love of books and reading and sparks creativity and imagination.
The little old lady set out through a dark, autumn forest to gather herbs and spices, nuts and seeds. (Perhaps she is planning to prepare trail mix?) On her way home she encounters many mysterious items who try their spooky best to frighten her. Because the little old lady is not afraid of anything she bravely continues on her way until….!
Illustrations by Megan Lloyd are warm and folksy, filled with autumn colors and fun details. Enjoy the book with your young reader to find out how the little old lady outwits the scary things and makes a happy ending to the book.
Don't you love Lois Ehlert's books? Her use of collage is so inventive, especially when transforming the images of everyday objects into something completely re-imagined. Who else would think to make a cat's teeth out of pumpkin seeds? So often as adults we become very strict in the way things should be perceived and done; things are very black and white. A child's imagination allows them to color their world however they want, with cranberry eyes and corncob ears, of course adapting to suit the occasion!
While a lot of her books simply use different types of paper to depict the subject, what I love about Boo to You! is the addition of photographed and Xeroxed images of some of her "favorite fall objects". Children naturally have the tendency to collect little things, and a walk around the block or an outing to the park can result in a treasure trove of art supplies. Put this scavenger trait to good use in creating these adorable little mice puppets for a Harvest Party Puppet Show.
Imagination is such a powerful tool and allows children to “see” how a simple seed or twig can be transformed into a multitude of fascinating items. When you let go and give your young reader the opportunity to express this ability, you will build their confidence in their choices, their creative process, and the validity of their thoughts. Besides all that, it’s just plain fun!
Boo to You!
by Lois Ehlert
In author/illustrator Lois Ehlert's Boo to You!, adorable, fuzzy mice figure out a plan to outsmart the
scary cat and keep him from ruining their Harvest Party. Throughout the book
the mice build their plan, and by the end are ready to meet their nemesis head
on and turn him from a scary cat to a scaredy cat.
Ehlert used fall time crops
such as pumpkins, corn, and gourds to create her signature mixed media collage
illustrations, add scavenger hunt feel to reading the book. Prompt yur young reader to try and identify all the things he or she recognizes on each page. A pictorial list of the
items used to create the collages is featured at the end of the book.
This is the absolutely perfect book for the time between Halloween and Thanksgiving, when the trees are bare, and the smell of pumpkin wafts through the house.
Big Pumpkin tells the story of three friends who have a disagreement, and the antics that ensue because no one wants to compromise. Even the youngest of readers will most likely have of memories of their own about being in a similar situation as presented in the book, and are sure to sympathize with the characters. The plot is highly entertaining, full of fun and enhanced by the detailed illustrations that seem to present something new each time the book is read.
A delightful, cumulative story with text that is rhythmic and repetitive, your young reader will eagerly chime in as Big Pumpkin is enjoyed many times during the Halloween season. A group of fun, not-so-scary Halloween characters learn how to cooperate, share and listen to each other before celebrating the haunting holiday with delicious pumpkin pie. Illustrations by S.D. Schindler give the book just enough spookiness to be fun but not at all scary for even the youngest reader.