Fall sure is a fun time of the year. Whether it’s pumpkin harvesting, apple picking or planning for Halloween, these books will get everyone in the spirit of the season. Don’t forget to check Chicago Parent Going Places for suggestions on family things to do to help with October festivities.
DELICIOUS! A PUMPKIN SOUP STORY, by Helen Cooper, Farrar, Straus and Giroux; $16; ages 4-8.
Duck, Squirrel and Cat are out searching in the garden for a ripe pumpkin to make their favorite soup. When they discover there aren’t any pumpkins ready, they try something different. The first attempt is fish soup. Squirrel and Cat are satisfied but "YUCK" says Duck, "I wouldn’t even try it." Back to the cookbooks. They try beet soup, but Duck doesn’t want pink soup, he wants orange soup. So Squirrel and Cat decide to trick Duck. They gather all the vegetables they can, like zucchini, tomatoes, carrots and corn. They peel, slice chop and plop them into the cooking pot. Now they have orange vegetable soup. When it is finished Duck admits it isn’t pumpkin soup but the best soup he has ever had. In case you would like to try beet soup, the recipe is included.
WE’RE OFF TO FIND THE WITCH’S HOUSE, by Mr. Krieb, illustrated by R. W. Alley, Dutton, $5.99 paperback; ages 3-8.
It’s Halloween night and four friends are on their way to the witch’s house. They pass many scary characters including Frankenstein, Count Dracula, a running mummy and a ghastly ghost. When they reach the door of the witch’s house they all scream "trick or treat" as they enter to attend a party with all the other scary friends they met on the way.
SUPER SHORT SERIOUSLY SPOOKY STORIES, compiled by Chris Powling, Kingfisher, $6.95 paperback; ages 8-10.
The book has nine stories. One story is titled "The Oddment," the word used for a blanky. The child in the story carried his around with him all the time and as he gets older it was left behind more often. When he got to the point where he wants to get rid of it all together, no matter what he tried, it always finds its way back. Several stories deal with ghosts who become frightened by the people they are trying to scare. These are good stories to read aloud, especially around a campfire.
HOW MANY SEEDS IN A PUMPKIN? by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Schwartz & Wade, $14.99; ages 3-7.
When the students entered their classroom they saw Mr. Tiffin had three pumpkins in the front of the room, one small, one medium and one large. He asked the students to guess how many seeds would be found in each. After the messy business of cleaning them out was finished, the seeds were counted. The small pumpkin group sorted their seeds by two’s, the medium pumpkin group sorted by five’s and the large pumpkin group sorted by 10’s. Which one do you suppose had the most seeds?
ORANGE YOU GLAD IT’S HALLOWEEN, AMBER BROWN? by Paula Danziger, illustrated by Tony Ross, Puffin, $3.99 paperback; ages 8-10.
Amber Brown and her best friend Justin are finishing their pumpkins to take to school. Each had to decorate a pumpkin as their favorite book character. Justin selected "Captain Underpants" while Amber Brown’s pumpkin is decorated as "Lilly and her Purple Plastic Purse." When Amber Brown got home from school she found a package on her front porch. She realized that her house had been "ghosted." (The instructions are included in the story and this would be fun for you to do in your neighborhood.) The idea is to secretly deliver a treat to two neighborhood houses and put the ghost message in your window so everyone knows not to ghost your house again.
THE APPLE DOLL, by Elisa Kleven, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16; ages 4-8.
Lizzy wasn’t sure she was ready to start school because she was nervous about not having any friends. So she picked an apple off her tree, decorated it like a doll and named it Susanna. The doll was to keep her company but she quickly learned she couldn’t have fruit on her desk. When she explained it was her doll she was told no toys come to school except on their days to share. Lizzy’s mom showed her how to make a dried apple doll to take to school for share time. The teacher thought it was a wonderful idea for an art project and Lizzy showed the class how they were made so they could each have their own dried apple doll. The book includes instruction so you can prepare you own dried apple doll, too.
Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher with four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6.