Friendly ghosts can be comforting, especially to young goblins who may find Halloween a little overwhelming. I’m dating myself with this admission, but I grew up watching “Casper, the Friendly Ghost” every Saturday morning on TV. Here are some newly created ghosts waiting to befriend the latest generation of Halloween revelers.
A GHOST OF YOUR VERY OWN
Start with My First Ghost by Maggie Miller and Michael Leviton, which is loads of fun and, as the cover boasts, comes with a “Free GHOST INSIDE!” Just turn the page, the text says, to claim yours, but first be sure you’re ready to take on the responsibility.
Miller and Leviton offer a humorous owner’s manual, explaining, for instance, how ghosts are better than pets and siblings (“Your ghost will never punch your arm” or “sing annoying songs for hours on end”). Young readers will enjoy the activity suggestions (hide and seek, invite another ghost over), as well as the warnings (“Ghosts are very bad at catch”).
Stephanie Buscema’s energetic illustrations have a delightful retro feel, reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s, yet with a modern twist. My First Ghost will bring reassuring smiles to young trick-or-treaters, who will be pleased to learn that “If you love your ghost, your ghost will haunt you forever.”
Halloween has finally arrived in Leo Landry’s Trick or Treat, which means that a charming little ghost named Oliver is getting ready to throw his annual party. As he cleans house and doles out invitations to several witches and skeletons, he unknowingly drops one, which is found by two young trick-or-treaters.
When this twosome arrives at Oliver’s doorstep on party night, Oliver and his guests are initially perplexed about what to do. Not to worry, of course—much fun ensues, and new friendships are formed. Landry’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are a perfect match for the text: gentle, straightforward and sure to please anxious, eager youngsters.
Another comforting book is Susan Hood’s Just Say BOO!, which is sure to be a read-aloud hit with its resounding chorus, featured in the title and throughout the book. Fun and fear go hand in hand on this creepy holiday, and Just Say BOO! will help youngsters navigate that wobbly tightrope between the two.
As a group of trick-or-treaters ventures out, the book tackles the pre-school fear factor by asking a series of rhymed questions like, “If a yip and yowl make you shiver and scowl, what do you say?” Just Say BOO! gives little ones the ammunition they need to conquer their jitters in a boisterous, humorous manner. Jed Henry’s illustrations feature cute young trick-or-treaters quaking in their little boots, and then shouting “boo!” with wild abandon.