Here are picture books and one easy reader to welcome fall and Halloween.
Books for fall
“PUMPKIN TIME!” by Erzsi Deak, illustrated by Doug Cushman, Sourcebooks, $14.99 (ages 4 and up)
Evy is hard at work raking and then planting and doesn’t see the frolics of the pigs dancing, chickens flying the coop and donkeys sailing through the sky. When she puts the scarecrow out and ties up the pole beans, she’s only intent on the final harvest at pumpkin time.
Young readers will enjoy the question format, “What was Evy doing?” as they seek answers in the detailed watercolor illustrations. Recipes and pumpkin trivia are included in this “read-it-again” book.
“PENGUIN AND PUMPKIN,” by Salina Yoon, Bloomsbury, $14.99 (ages 0-5)
The Penguin clan “on the ice” has no idea what fall looks like. Penguin and Bootsy organize an excursion to find the answer but must leave Pumpkin, Penguin’s little brother, behind because he’s so small.
Sliding on an ice floe to reach a farm, Penguin and friends reach a field full of pumpkins and colorful fall leaves. Returning home — naturally in a giant pumpkin — they share their fall harvest with Pumpkin. While the others were away, Pumpkin had his own fall adventure.
This is the third book in the Penguin series, and his antics here will not disappoint fans.
“SLEEPOVER WITH BEATRICE AND BEAR,” by Monica Carnesi, Penguin, $15.99 (ages 3-5)
Beatrice Bunny and Bear are special friends. All year long they play, but when fall comes and winter is near, Bear is ready to hibernate. Beatrice tries to hibernate, too, but she learns that “bunnies are not great hibernators after all.”
Beatrice plans a surprise for Bear’s spring awakening that will please him as well as young readers who might find a gift idea for the changing seasons.
“NANA IN THE CITY,” by Lauren Castillo, Clarion, $16.99 (ages 4-8)
A little boy has a sleepover with his Nana who lives in the city. But it is busy, noisy and frightening. Nana knits him a cape and takes him to the wonderful bustling places that make the city the perfect place for Nana to live and the boy to visit.
Castillo’s cityscapes in vibrant autumn colors make “Nana in the City” a great read-aloud for autumn days.
“OTIS AND THE SCARECROW,” by Loren Long, Penguin, $17.99 (ages 3-5)
A new friend comes to the farm where Otis, a tractor, lives. As always, Otis chugs out to the field to welcome the new scarecrow who “didn’t smile or say hello. He just stood there, a sour look on his face.”
When Otis and the farm animals play games, the scarecrow stood silent and sour. In the fall as a storm approaches, Otis and the farm friends go to the empty cornfield to keep the scarecrow company. Otis isn’t sure, but he thinks there may be a little smile on the scarecrow’s face.
The artist augments the storyline with exquisite acrylic and pen drawings portraying the fall harvest’s shadows and streaks of upcoming weather. Art lovers will appreciate Loren Long and the Otis series.
“THE SCARECROWS’ WEDDING,” by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, Scholastic, $17.99 (ages 4-8)
There is to be a wedding on the farm for Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay, scarecrows that “scared lots of crows every day.”
They make plans and a list of things to do “for our wonderful wedding, the best wedding yet. The wedding that no one will ever forget.”
While Harry is finding pink flowers, Reginald Rake (who replaces Harry in the field as scarecrow) steps in with roguish charm and tries to take Harry’s place as groom.
It's easy to giggle at the unlikely events told in perfect rhyme and accompanied by cartoonlike figures. “The Scarecrows’ Wedding” is a read-out-loud fall tale.
“THE PROBLEM WITH NOT BEING SCARED OF MONSTERS,” by Dan Richards, illustrated by Robert Neubecker, Boyds Mills $15.95 (ages 4-8)
A young boy befriends some gawky monsters, but they won’t leave him alone. They ruin his homework, eat his cereal and use up all the hot water. He finally gets the monsters interested in his younger brother and at last there’s “no problem!”
Or is there? A subtle ending will encourage lots of speculation.
“MONSTER PARTY!” by Annie Bach, Sterling, $9.95 (ages 2-5)
The monsters are “delighted” when they’re “invited” to a party where they munch and crunch, swoosh and woosh and become icky and sticky. At party’s end, they pout and shout until they check the mail where there’s another “Monster invited. Monster delighted” party.
Young children can make a game of the rhyming couplets and even invent some of their own.
“LLAMA LLAMA TRICK OR TREAT,” by Anna Dewdney, Viking, $5.99 (ages up to 3)
The sixth Llama Llama board book is just right for children beginning Halloween celebrating. From choosing a costume and carving the family pumpkin to promises of candy at the neighbor’s door, there’s nothing too scary for novice trick-or-treaters.
“THE HAUNTED LIBRARY,” by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrations by Aurore Damant, Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin, $4.99 (ages 6-8)
Claire is a solid, live person, but she's not like other "solids." She could see ghosts when they weren’t glowing and when they weren’t wailing. Kaz is a ghost who didn’t glow and couldn’t wail. Kaz was separated from his ghost family. Claire and Kaz start a detective agency and try to solve the mystery of the ghost that is haunting the library.
After that mystery they try, in book two, “The Ghost in the Attic,” to find out why an attic in a neighbor’s house seems haunted.
Primary grade and reluctant readers will find lots of humor in these two haunted stories.