This is Halloween! 20 Board Books & Picture Books for the Spooky Season

Young readers will delight in these tales, both fun and (slightly) frightening, about preparing for and enjoying the holiday with family and friends.

Young readers will delight in these tales, both fun and (slightly) frightening, about preparing for and enjoying the holiday with family and friends.


Board Books

Happy Halloween: A touch-and-feel book by Rosie Adams. illus. by Lucy Barnard. Tiger Tales. ISBN 9781664350809. 
Baby-Toddler–It’s Halloween, and the trick-or-treaters have gone, so now Pumpkin gets to have some fun! In this gentle introduction to typical Halloween characters and themes, readers follow Pumpkin. Each spread features a just right in length ABCB rhyming pattern and a different surface for kids to touch and feel, including a fuzzy pumpkin, smooth and slick ghost, leathery bat wing, and fluffy cat hair. VERDICT A perfectly delightful, not frightful, touch-and-feel Halloween book to include in little reader collections.

Booook! A Spooky High-Contrast Book. illus. by Jannie Ho. duopress. ISBN 9781728279442. 
Baby-Toddler–This addition to the “High-Contrast” series provides a simple Halloween story with black-and-white imagery for parents and caregivers to share. VERDICT A great addition to libraries looking to expand their seasonal stories for infants or for those who have duopress’s other “High-Contrast” titles; a recommended read for fans of Halloween to share with their youngest patrons.

Trick or Treat? It’s Halloween! by Jo Lodge. illus. by author. Boxer. ISBN 9781914912825. 
Baby-Toddler–This adorable board book provides a quick and quirky Halloween haunt for the youngest readers. Equipped with moving parts via a finger slide, this bright orange-and-black book introduces a pumpkin, skeleton, ghost, and cat as they “Flicker! Flicker,” “Clickety-Clack,” “Wooo-Wooo,” and “Leap! Pounce!” respectively, through Halloween. VERDICT Recommended for public library collections where holiday board books are in demand.

Wish Upon a Pumpkin by Danielle McLean. illus. by Paula Bowles. Tiger Tales. ISBN 9781664350816. 
Toddler-PreS–For those who want to introduce the traditional themes of Halloween to their children in a not-so-scary way, this is a great beginning. It asks readers to “wish upon a pumpkin” to see or do something in each featured Halloween setting, such as “see monsters do their thing." VERDICT A worthy Halloween board book selection for small children.

Halloween Friends by Nikki Shannon Smith. illus. by DeAndra Hodge. Crown. ISBN 9780593566015. 
PreS-Gr 2–Five friends dress up and go trick-or-treating in this playful rhyming story that embraces the fun of Halloween. Wearing a range of costumes, including a ghost, a ballerina, a pumpkin, an astronaut, and the President, the group goes from door to door, greeted by a different person every time. VERDICT An inclusive book that focuses on fun, this is a delightful seasonal purchase.

My First Dino-Halloween by Lisa Wheeler. illus. by Barry Gott. Lerner/Carolrhoda. ISBN 9781728477411.
PreS-Gr 1–A gang of candy-colored dinosaurs lives out a Halloween fantasy in this bright board book for toddlers. From picking pumpkins to dancing the “monster mash,” the dinos leave no aspect of Halloween unexplored. VERDICT Reaching little ones interested in dinosaurs and Halloween alike, this makes a good addition to board book collections.

Picture Books

Halloween in the Orchard by Phyllis Alsdurf. illus. by Lisa Hunt. Beaming Bks. ISBN 9781506487687.
PreS-Gr 2–A beautiful rhyme whose text sits on a colorful and soft illustration of a classic fall orchard opens a story about Halloween at the orchard. While the rhyming doesn’t continue throughout the story, each spread ends with “the orchard on Halloween.” Families are sure to enjoy this wholesome holiday story with simple text. VERDICT A cute story to purchase for holiday book collections.

There Was a Young Zombie Who Swallowed a Worm by Kaye Baillie. illus. by Diane Ewen. Kane Miller. ISBN 9781684645787. 
PreS-Gr 2–Using the template of the classic song “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” this tale chronicles an adorable young zombie as he tries to solve the problem of a worm he ate that is making him squirm. VERDICT This lighthearted read-aloud is a good choice for parents and librarians seeking a Halloween story that will leave youngsters giggling and eager for tales more silly than spooky.

Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Boo! by Wade Bradford. illus. by Tom Brannon. Random. ISBN 9780593643532. 
PreS-Gr 1–One quiet October night, Horton the elephant is out counting stars by the light of the moon when suddenly he hears a loud “Boo!” echoing from a nearby cave. Unwilling to spend the night in a tree, Horton bravely leads his companions into the unknown to discover the source of the sound in order to determine whether they really need to be afraid, after all. VERDICT Nostalgic and enjoyable, this is a charmingaddition to Halloween storybook collections for young readers.

[Read: 14 Not-Too-Scary Graphic Novels for Tweens | Great Books ]

The Great Zombie Pumpkin Parade! by Robert Burleigh. illus. by Wendell Minor. Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano. ISBN 9780316331975. 
K-Gr 4–Just scary enough to please those looking for a mild fright, this story leads young readers on an annual Halloween romp of pumpkin-headed zombies. Burleigh brings out the silly side of the undead with rhymes: “Leaves swirl and tumble/ as day turns to night./ Zombies stumble/ Left and right,” and alliteration: watch out for “Zipper-Toothed Zlumpkin,” who is preceded by “Drizzle-Mouthed Dumpkin” and followed by “Slime-Faced Sumpkin. VERDICT A natural fit for Halloween-themed read alouds and activities.

 The Goblin Twins by Frances Cha. illus. by Jaime Kim. Crown. ISBN 9780593480212. 
K-Gr 2–At 601 years old, Doki and Kebi are considered babies to the other dokkaebi, a cross between a goblin and spirit with a penchant for tricking humans. After learning that they must leave their home, Kebi resists moving into graveyards with their fellow dokkaebi and insists that they find the most haunted house in New York City. VERDICT Doki and Kebi will find a home in any collection. Recommended for purchase.

 Lila and the Jack-o’-Lantern: Halloween Comes to America by Nancy Churnin. illus. by Anneli Bray. Albert Whitman. ISBN 9780807566633. 
PreS-Gr 3–A delightfully written story based on how the Irish brought their Halloween traditions to America. VERDICT A lovely story time book that lends itself to great discussions on Halloween traditions. This delightful picture book is a must-have for elementary libraries.

The Boo Crew Needs YOU! ­by Vicky Fang. illus. by Saoirse Lou. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. ISBN 9781728264561. 
PreS–In this interactive Halloween title, the Boo Crew needs readers' help. Readers are prompted to shout “Yes!,” push a switch, blow out a candle on a cupcake, tap pumpkins on the page, take a breath, tip the book, find a rope, clap their hands, turn the book, (and then shake and turn the book), knock on the door, and pat their backs. VERDICT Recommended as an addition to Halloween shelves, an engaging title that provides new material on the holiday topic.

How to Spook a Ghost by Sue Fliess. illus. by Simona Sanfilippo. Sky Pony. ISBN 9781510774087. 
Gr 1-3–This brief story told in verse and cartoon scenes begins with four children, two Black and two white, busily pulling items from trunks to assemble costumes. One of them will be a ghost, and the emphasis is on getting ready. VERDICT Practical seasonal material where more is needed.

Bruce and the Legend of Soggy Hollow by Ryan T Higgins. illus. by author. Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 9781368059589. 
K-Gr 3–The latest title in Higgins’s beloved “Mother Bruce” series is a Halloween-centric, spooky story for fans of Bruce and his forest friends. Bruce is not a big holiday enthusiast, and that includes Halloween. To drum up Bruce’s excitement, the mice decide to act out “The Legend of Soggy Hollow” for all their forest friends. VERDICT An excellent addition to shelves with an established “Mother Bruce” collection.

Grumpy Monkey Don’t Be Scared by Suzanne Lang. illus. by Max Lang. Random House Studio. ISBN 9780593486955. 
PreS-Gr 2–Jim Panzee, the chimpanzee, and his friends hear a distant, eerie knocking sound in the jungle as they set out for treats on Halloween night. Jim denies his obvious fear of the unfamiliar sights and sounds with his repeated phrase, “I’m not scared.” VERDICT Libraries that purchase this Halloween edition in the “Grumpy Monkey” series will see it quickly flee the shelves.

The Light Inside by Dan Misdea. illus. by author. Penguin Workshop. ISBN 9780593521625. 
PreS-Gr 1–A wordless picture book about finding a lost toy in a Halloween town. A jack-o’-lantern child slips out of bed at night and goes in search of a stuffed purple mouse. During the course of an evening, there are hills to climb, caves to enter, and boats to ride—all of which result in a bit of worry for the young child. But along the way, there are friendly encounters with a witch, ghosts, a black cat, and a huge octopus. VERDICT A cozy, quiet read for young children who love Halloween.

[Read: Spooky Picture Book Recommendations From a Confessed Fraidy-Cat ]

Meowloween (Meowl-o-ween) by Diane Muldrow. illus. by Tiffany Chen. Astra. ISBN 9781662602009. 
PreS-Gr 2–This seasonal story unfolds through the eyes of a wise cat who captures the fun and festivities of Halloween in playful rhyming couplets. The feline narrator explains that cats from far and wide have joined together to give young trick-or-treaters an amusing scare, all in good fun. VERDICT This delightful Halloween adventure is ideal for a quick holiday story time session.

The Halloween Costume Ball by Anne Sawan. illus. by Judi Abbot. Clavis. ISBN 9781605378220. 
PreS-Gr 1–On Halloween night, a full moon glows in a purple, starry sky when three young children hear a “tap, tap, tap,” at the door. Peering outside, they see three large, unblinking eyes stare back at them. Who could they belong to? VERDICT A simple, good-natured story to share with young readers for a sweet Halloween treat.

10 Things I Love About Halloween by Samantha Sweeney. illus. by Jordan Wray. Tiger Tales. ISBN 9781680102949. 
PreS-Gr 1–A good introduction to U.S. Halloween celebrations, this sweet little book has 10 great ways to celebrate the holiday. The unnamed characters with various skin tones and abilities are having a wonderful time as they pick costumes, find the perfect pumpkin, and go trick-or-treating. VERDICT A good choice for libraries needing books about Halloween for the youngest readers.

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