Trick or Treat, Alistair Gray

Black Spot. Aug. 2022. 32p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781645481157.
K-Gr 2–Alistair Gray believes Halloween is a time for frightening monsters, not fairies and fun. So when the Halloween party he attends doesn’t live up to his expectations, the young boy mummy leaves to find the “real Halloween.” As he wanders around, a scarecrow interjects, pointing out that this is a night of contradictions, and that he should enjoy life’s activities. Just like the scarecrow does for the boy, Ryan and Gazdag invite readers to take up this perspective. With its rhyming cadence and spooky Tim Burton-esque illustrations, they acknowledge the holiday’s origins of warding off the supernatural. But they also remind readers that this is a time for fun. While the tone, pictorial descriptions, and atmospheric visuals have an eerie vibe, the boy himself looks and acts quite innocent. If read with the right voice, this will send enjoyable chills down the spine. Additionally, for those who like other mediums, this picture book is soon to be an animated short film.
VERDICT An excellent edition for any Halloween collection, to pair with a lesson on the holiday’s origins or about managing expectations.

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