I know, I know, we’re barely even into autumn yet, but I love Halloween so much, and there’s a fabulous crop of spooky kids books this year! All these books were sent to me free of charge, but all opinions are my own.
Five Spooky Friends by Danielle McLean and Rosalind Maroney, from Little Tiger
This cute counting book is super sweet, and makes great use of sliders – you can help a witch fly on her broom, light up pumpkins, and more! I love the adorable round artwork, which is just perfect for making Halloween fun but not too scary, and the rhyming text is simple and sweet. I do find that the sliders are a little bit stiff, perhaps due to the texture of the paper used, so they might be tricky for little fingers, but I’m hoping they’ll loosen up a bit with use.
Nothing Scares Spider by S Marendaz and Carly Gledhill, from Little Tiger
Okay, this one isn’t specifically Halloweeny, but I couldn’t resist bundling this sweet spider in with the other spooky creatures! I was looking forward to this specifically because I don’t want to pass my fear of spiders on to the next generation, and I think a good place to start is having some stories where they’re friendly, not scary. I’m pleased to report this spider isn’t one you need to fear at all – in fact, she and her friends are completely adorable. The artwork is almost bouncy – it’s colourful and simple, and the expressions are very dramatic, which is really fun. This is a sweet story about friendship and being brave that will definitely entertain on one level, but there’s also a certain clever irony to parts of the story that had me smiling a lot – Spider gets annoyed every time her friends interrupt her adventure, but the illustrations show that their interruptions are actually pulling her out of danger! Very cute – and I love Spider’s boots!
We’re Going on a Pumpkin Hunt by Goldie Hawk and Angie Rozelaar, from Nosy Crow
A seasonal reworking of the classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, this turns the journey we all know by heart into a Halloween treat! The little adventurers have to forge through cats, spiderwebs, and bats before they reach their destination, and the whole book is illustrated in a fun, simple style that’s really eyecatching. My cat-obsessed toddler absolutely loves the spread full of meowing kitties! The board book format makes this really nice to hold, too.
Magnificent Mabel and the Very Important Witch by Ruth Quayle and Julia Christians, from Nosy Crow
So when I requested this book I’d not heard of Magnificent Mabel before, and I thought it was going to be about a little witch’s adventures, but actually Mabel is a perfectly ordinary little girl and these are adorable slice of life stories! Despite it not being what I was expecting, I really enjoyed this and will be looking out for the other books in the series, as they’re absolutely the sweetest little tales of friendship, family and school, packed with humour and heart. They’re a little bit silly, but don’t feel as chaotic as some funny chapter books I’ve read, which is perfect for me – Mabel has a new fan!