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  • Writer's picturePicture Book Snob

Little Monsters: Board Books for Halloween

Stories for babies, toddlers & preschoolers to enjoy this spooky season...

Vegetables in Halloween Costumes by Jared Chapman

I bet you didn't realise that you needed to see vegetables wearing Halloween costumes, but let me tell you that do absolutely do!

It's Halloween but Carrot can't decide what to wear to his own party, and his guests are about to arrive. We get to see what all the other vegetables are wearing, while Carrot's unique and individualistic choice is revealed at the end. This is hilarious, incredibly cute and captures all the excitement of Halloween. The vegetables look extremely enthusiastic and proud of their outfits, and children will enjoy seeing them dressed up. It's great fun to guess what their costumes are and identify what kind of vegetable they are underneath their disguise. From Jared Chapman, the genius behind Fruits in Suits, Vegetables in Underwear and Vegetables in Holiday Underwear and published by Abrams Appleseed. The delightfully whimsical Vegetables in Halloween Costumes is also very practical as it contains lots of great costume ideas, whether you're a vegetable or not!

We're Going on a Pumpkin Hunt by Goldie Hawk and Angie Rozelaar

Popular folk song "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" gets a spooktacular makeover in this gorgeous book by Goldie Hawk and Angie Rozelaar, published by Nosy Crow. This is a great story for the very young as it rhymes, there's lots of repetition and sound words, making it interactive too. Three children go searching for the perfect pumpkin. They encounter obstacles like cats, spiders, bats and even a haunted house!

It's worth mentioning that this book features ethnically diverse characters as only 4% of children’s books published in the UK contain a black or minority ethnic main character (the Irish percentage is likely to be even lower). You can see all the books we've reviewed with BAME characters here.

Goldie Hawk has written several books including a series of adventure handbooks with the National Trust and one that's on my Christmas wishlist, Step Inside Homes Through History. We love iIllustrator Angie Rozelaar and reviewed the fabulous Artsy Cats in our last roundup of board books, you can see more of her children's books here. Full of excitement and suspense without ever getting too scary, We're Going on a Pumpkin Hunt is ideal for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. It would be an excellent resource for a nursery or primary school as small children will enjoy learning the words and singing along.

Monster Food by Daisy Hirst

"Some monsters eat peaches, some monsters eat pears, and then there are monsters who only eat chairs." Monster Food by Daisy Hirst is not strictly a Halloween book, but still appropriate for this time of year as it's full of fantastic beasts (and their eccentric eating habits).

It's impossible to read this book and not laugh out loud. The combination of funny looking monsters, their peculiar food choices and the text's deadpan delivery is highly entertaining.

Daisy Hirst is the acclaimed author-illustrator of nine picture books including this one. Here is an interview with the Youth Libraries Group in which she discusses her work and her influences. Monster Clothes was released at the same time as Monster Food and looks equally amusing.

Monster Food by Daisy Hirst

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Creepy-Crawly Halloween by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar needs no introduction and this new adventure is illustrated in Eric Carle's distinct style. This time the hungry caterpillar goes exploring on Halloween night. We discover the creepy crawlies lurking in a moonlit forest along with the caterpillar as flaps are lifted to reveal each one.

Like all of Carle's books, this is bright and colourful. We see spiders and their webs, pumpkins and autumnal leaves and it's atmospheric without being scary.

Here's an interesting article about how The Very Hungry Caterpillar became one of the most famous and beloved children's books in the world. The Very Hungry Caterpillar 's Creepy-Crawly Halloween is a gorgeous, interactive, rhyming story and the flaps are big and sturdy enough for tiny hands to manage. Babies will be drawn to the child-like illustrations and there's plenty happening on each page to engage older readers, including a lovely surprise at the end.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Creepy-Crawly Halloween by Eric Carle

EEK! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton

The chickens are restless! They're seeing all kinds of strange things and it's making them nervous. One meets a pumpkin with "flickering eyes," one encounters an elephant dressed as a mouse, while a duck with monster feet accosts another. Dogs and cats are dressed as robots, witches and wizards. It's all very distressing for the poor, bewildered chickens. So what will they do? I won’t spoil the surprise, but the chicken's ineffective coping mechanism and its outcome are as comical as you would expect from this author. Sandra Boynton has sold more than 60 million books and we're huge fans of her seriously silly stories and the zany animals that inhabit them. Eek! Halloween and Hippos Go Berserk are among our favourites.

I'd love to see what would happen if the chickens from this story met some of the characters from Vegetables in Halloween Costumes. Perhaps Jared Chapman and Sandra Boynton could work on a crossover sequel to both books - I'd buy it!

EEK! Halloween by Sandra Boynton

Ten Little Monsters by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty

Ten little monsters head out trick-or-treating in this energetic, action-packed rhyming adventure. The monsters wander around a creepy castle filled with werewolves, headless knights, witches, ravens, giant spiders, skeletons, zombies, ghosts and evil scientists and their robot creations.

Fast-paced with animated, intricate illustrations that enliven the story even more, this is a great book for familiarising children with numbers and counting. On every page a different ill-fated monster disappears in unfortunate circumstances, until there is only one left and just one more creepy door to open. What lies behind it? You’ll have to read the story to find out!

This is enormous fun to read aloud and it's funny rather than scary. There's lots of repetition and sound words, making it an interactive treat too. An impressive amount of drama takes place on each page, with lots of clever details in the illustrations. Nothing is merely in the background; insects and slime emerge from packets of sweets. Tiny robots escape from a laboratory and follow the monsters for the rest of the book. The bunting is monster-themed and skulls adorn almost everything, from clocks to train wheels.

Ten Little Monsters is part of a collection that has sold over a million copies worldwide. The multiple award-winning author and illustrator team behind this series, Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty, also created Ten Little Bookworms especially for World Book Day in 2019.

According to Mike Brownlow, “making friends with books is just the best thing you can do!" and I agree. Introducing your own little monsters to any of these brilliant board books this Halloween will help them forge a lifelong literary friendship.

Find more picture books suitable for Halloween here:


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