Written by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by Jan Brett
Clarion Books, 1986
I peer outside, there’s something there
That makes me shiver, spikes my hair.
It must be Halloween.
The plot in a nutshell: Trick-or-treaters are watched by hidden eyes
A pair of green eyes is watching from the darkness as a skeleton and a ghost come down the road. The first pair of eyes is joined by several pairs of smaller eyes and the larger watcher advises the younger ones to stay safe on Halloween. A vampire and werewolf come down the road next, followed by two witches. The watchers cover their eyes. Goblins and gremlins are next, then a devil. A monster climbs the steps to a house and the watchers are afraid that he will find them, in their hiding place under the house. But the monster, a mummy, is just a trick-or-treater and he leaves as soon as he has collected his treats. After he’s gone, a mother cat and her kittens come out from under the house where they have been watching, to prowl and stalk the night.
I wanted a Halloween book to post for today and I randomly picked this one out at the library. Or so I thought…until my son saw it on my desk and told me that he used to check this book out from the school library all the time when he was young. Now I think I picked this book because some nostalgic part of my brain recognized it from all those years ago. Author Eve Bunting has written many picture books that deal with social issues, such as racism and homelessness, but this book is just all in good fun. The idea of hidden cats trying to make sense of all these monsters passing by is pretty fun, letting you think about how Halloween must seem to those who don’t understand it.
Jan Brett’s illustrations stray a little from her usual style of bordered pictures, but still contain lots of details and some interesting perspectives, especially when seeing the trick-or-treaters from the cats’ point of view. I love the way that the trees seem to reflect the spookiness of the holiday, with knotholes that resemble facial features or branches that look like clawed hands. This would be a good book for little ones who aren’t ready for anything really frightening, since everything in this one is just good Halloween fun.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that Halloween can look scary, but it’s supposed to be more about fun. Hope YOU have a safe and happy Halloween!