Happy Owl-oween!: A Halloween Story

Abrams/Appleseed. Jul. 2022. 24p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419743122.
Toddler-PreS–In this holiday-themed offering from Gehl and Nichols, anthropomorphized owlets enjoy all that the season has to offer. Simple three-word phrases lead to lyrical rhymes that highlight each activity and tell a story of Autumn. Whether it’s of leaf-jumping, picking a pumpkin, or putting on a costume, each scene depicts the joy and enthusiasm of the owlets. Page turns are well-timed, and little listeners can interactively shout out the recurring refrain, “Happy Owl-oween!” Nichols uses a sophisticated, limited palette of fall colors, with mustard yellow, orange, green, and purple acting as backdrops for round-shaped, friendly characters to complement the bouncy narrative. Pumpkin endpapers with webs and candy hint at the contents and echo the motif of Halloween, but also set the light tone of this non-scary book. Digitally created illustrations include whimsical touches, such as a bat calendar and a needlepoint sampler font for the final chorus of “Happy Owl-oween!” Back matter explains some of the history of the holiday, the origin of the caramel apple, and the tradition of wearing costumes and collecting treats.
VERDICT Families will have a hoot of a time reading this gentle introduction to the holiday. A good purchase for any Halloween collection.

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