In the Stacks: Halloween books

Halloween books for kids won’t be on the shelves for long! Come get them before they are spirited away…


“How to Draw a Happy Witch,” by Joy Sikorski and Nick Sunday.

This delightful cartoony book will teach kids and adults alike how to draw many things, including a calico cat named Little Man, a night hawk, and moon shadows. There’s a bit of a story to this, but mostly this is a how-to-draw book: Little Man, who lives in a nice house on the edge of the wetlands, goes out on Halloween night to explore. He meets opossums, raccoons, deer, hedgehogs, owls, and more and eventually makes his way to the Black Cat Bistro. The Happy Witch is there and she feeds Little Man delicious escargot, and then he is on his way home. Readers will find out how to draw everything, including the Happy Witch and Little Man himself – plus, bonus acorns!

“Halloween Forest,” by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by John Shelley.

Delightfully rhymed, but perhaps a little scary for the very small, this follows a young trick-or-treater as she leaves the safety of town for the dark, dark forest – where everything she finds is made up of bones. Bone trees are filled with hanging bat bones and climbing cat bones and over the roots run rat bones… but is our costumed heroine afraid? Not at all! She throws off her cape to display her own bones, and then whips out her bag and cries “Trick or treat!” Slight, but exuberant and in keeping with the season.

“Pumpkin Trouble,” written and illustrated by Jan Thomas.

When Duck comes across a pumpkin in the field, he decides to carve it into a jack o’lantern and surprise his friends. But when he goes for one last seed at the bottom of the gourd, he falls in and gets stuck! His friends are certainly surprised (not to mention alarmed) when the walking, talking pumpkin monster comes after them, but all ends well…until Duck carves another jack o’lantern to celebrate. Silly, giggly fun for the littlest ones.

“The Haunted Hamburger,” by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Paul Meisel.

When two little ghosts, Frankie and Fanny, don’t want to go to bed, they ask for just one more story – and their father obliges with three. The first one is very scary – it’s about how Uncle Ned tried to scare a baby, and ended up terrified. The second one is even scarier, about boastful cousin Nell, who tried to out-speed, out-smart, and out-scare the Haunted Hamburger in the Dark Forest – and nearly gets the life scared into her instead. But the third story has the two little ghosts shivering under their covers (and finally falling asleep) – it’s the story of the Big Bad Granny and the sleepless little ghost! With appropriately gruesome illustrations, this is sure to bring laughs.

“Night of the Pumpkinheads,” by Michael J. Rosen, pumpkin carvings by Hugh McMahon.

The pumpkinheads in the patch are tired of sitting on porches with grins on their faces, and they decide that this year they’re dressing up and going out. Turning down the radishes’ plea to go out, too, the pumpkinheads put on their scariest faces – mastodon, t-rex, a swarm of killer bees, and even a mime – and hit the Halloween streets, where they terrify absolutely no one. Instead, the kids are running scared of something else entirely… All the pumpkins and other veggies are anthropomorphized by McMahon, a master pumpkin carver with a great imagination.

“Heebie-Jeebie Jamboree, “written and illustrated by Mary Ann Fraser. W

hen two tickets float out of the air and land in the hands of a trick-or-treating brother and sister, they suddenly find themselves at the gate to the Heebie-Jeebie Jamboree, a carnival for the spooks, though the human children are welcomed in. There, Sam and Daphne visit the deadstock, watch the broom busters’ rodeo, and Sam even out-eats the goblins at the pie contest and wins a jar of jelly eyes. When the two are separated, Daphne looks everywhere – the Rolling Bones concert, the Haunted House, and as the evening ends and the carnival empties, finally finds him in the lost and found. Abruptly, the two are back on their familiar street, heading home after a fun treat.


Tomorrow (Friday) is the library’s annual pizza and shelf-reading party – call library staff if you are over the age of 12 and want to lend a hand putting shelves back in order after the chaos of summer.

And, Sunday, come to the Valley library at 3 p.m. for a book group discussion of “A Thread of Grace” and “The Sparrow,” both by Mary Doria Russell, who will be visiting in November.

Monday is the last day to turn in bookmark entries at any public library.

For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit or call 586-5249.


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback






Margaret Brady Fund scholarship applications now accepted

Area students pursuing artistic excellence may apply for scholarships as part of the Margaret Frans Brady Fund.

Read more