What is it about monsters, ghosts, witches, ghouls, and goblins? My children love stories about them (as long as they're nice, and not scary). We discover them when they're out and about during the Halloween time of year, but we tend to keep them on the shelf and enjoy them year-round. Here are four of our favorites that we've been enjoying for several years now.
These are listed in no particular order of preference. Three are meant to be sung and one is just a great story.
1. The Spooky Wheels on the Bus by J. Elizabeth Mills. This is a Halloween version of The Wheels on the Bus crossed with a counting book (up to 10). It begins, "One spooky bus goes RATTLE and SHAKE, RATTLE and SHAKE, RATTLE and SHAKE. One spooky bus goes RATTLE and SHAKE, All through the town. It continues with 2 white wipers (skeleton arms), 3 black cats, 4 glowing wheels (jack o'lanterns), 5 big spiders, 6 singing mummies, 7 silly monsters, 8 wacky witches, 9 magic brooms, and 10 goofy ghosts before returning to the original lyric. The children enjoy the lyrics and love the pictures. They are not scary at all. They are full of detail. We had read / sung the book at least a dozen times before we notices that each picture gives a hint of what is to come on the next page. You can actually guess who is about to get on the bus next. All in all, it is a fun adaptation that we enjoy every time.
2. Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell. I sing this book. For the life of me, I cannot think of what the tune I use is so that I can tell you. Hopefully it will just come to you as you read the book. You could also simply read the book. It is enjoyable either way. It is a countdown book. It begins with 10 and counts down to one. It begins, "Ten timid ghosts in a haunted house - A witch moved in and wanted them out." She proceeds to do a series of practical jokes on the ghosts each one scaring off another ghost. The children love searching the illustrations to figure out how the witch is pulling off her trick and if you look you can always find her. At the end, the last little ghost figures out that it was the witch all along and tells his friends and the witch gets her comeuppance in the end. It is fun to sing, the story is cute, and the illustrations are well done and add something fun to the experience of reading the story.
3. The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano. This is a great story that celebrates differences. Spookley is the only square pumpkin in the pumpkin patch but that quality about him saves the day during a storm. When the farmer realized how special Spookley was he saved his seeds for the next season. The next season all the pumpkins in the patch were unique and people came from miles around to choose a special pumpkin. My retelling doesn't really do the story justice. The pictures complement the story beautifully and the story is told in a rhyme that it fun to read. Excellent book.
4. Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane. This is an adaptation of the song/nursery rhyme Over in the Meadow (click here to hear a lovely version sung). I've always loved the melody of this song and I've always loved singing the traditional nursery rhyme version. It is just as much fun, if not more to use the same melody while singing this book. This halloween version begins, "Over in the forest, Where the trees hide the sun, Lived a big mommy monster, And her little monster one." The song hits 9 other types of halloween monsters. The illustrations are gorgeous and not at all scary. The children love seeing the various Halloween creatures and their parents. The final page has all of the creatures together setting off to Trick or Treat.
If you liked these children's book suggestions, I have several others ranging from board books through early chapter books. Check them out.