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Monday, September 5, 2011

Hallowilloween, written and illustrated by Calef Brown. Houghton Mifflin, Thomas Allen & Son. 2010. $21.50 ages 9 and up

"The Vumpire

He only works night games.
His signals are creepy.
When managers argue,
he makes them feel sleepy.
He never appears
in the photos we snap."

Gosh! Can it be that we are thinking about Halloween already? I have to admit that the last few mornings, when overnight temperatures dipped low enough to make an impact, have me thinking fall, to say the least. It won't be long until the leaves start changing color and the air takes on a new smell. Once children have settled back to school routines, they will start looking ahead to one of their favorite days of the year.

Since I didn't get this book early enough last year to share it with you, I want to start the season leading up to the fun of Halloween with it. It is worth the wait!

You want 'nefariously silly'? You'll get it in spades with this book of poetry that shifts from the tolerably spooky to the very humorous. Kids will love the the scary bits, while they also appreciate the fun that Calef Brown has with language and meaning:

"Jack is a rare wolf.
A covered with hair wolf.
A crouch in the doorway
to give you a scare wolf.
A big as a bear wolf.
A devil may care wolf.
A constantly burping
and fouling the air wolf."

It won't take long for listeners to choose their favorite verses;  they are sure to ask for repeated readings. The wordplay, the tongue twisting rhymes, the collection of spooky characters and the colorful artwork up the appeal the more often it is read. From the ants enjoying holiday entertainment inside a hollow willow tree, to the "Oompachupa Loompacabra" (say that five times fast) who gobbles goats' brains, to Old Napoleon, a raven who gorges on spiders, there is lots here for reader and listener to enjoy.  

I love the back cover flap which provides a description of Calef Brown:

"He wrote these poems
in a moldy mausoleum
on the coast of Maine.
Mr. Brown is mostly sane,
except when he is otherwise -"

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