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About the Author-
Marion Dane Bauer has received many awards, including a Newbery Honor, for the books she has written for young people. Her picture books include In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb,illustrated by Caldecott winner Emily Arnold McCully, and Halloween Forest,illustrated by John Shelley. You can visit the author at www.mariondanebauer.com.
John Shelley's illustrations are known internationally, especially in Japan, where he lived and worked for twenty-one years. He is the illustrator of Halloween Forest, by Marion Dane Bauer. John's website is www.jshelley.com.
July 30, 2012
A child makes a Halloween journey in this evocative story with genuinely chilling illustrations. Leaving town by moonlight, the girl discovers a “forest of bones,” filled with skeletons: “Bat bones, cat bones, rat bones, and all are looking at you.” Using pen and
India ink, Shelley constructs spidery bone trees, densely populated with skeletal creatures that scamper and hang upside-down. While the bones cry out “Take care! Beware! Despair!” Bauer underscores the girl’s bravery and power as she banishes the bones (and nets a haul of candy). The nightmarish aesthetic touches on how a child’s perception is shaped by imagination, especially on a spooky night. Ages 4–8.
September 1, 2012
K-Gr 2-In this creepy Halloween tale, a trick-or-treater leaves the safety of town on All Hallow's Eve to find treats in a forest of bones. Bat, cat, and rat bones crawl among tree bones. The illustrations capture the spooky feel while not straying too far into the scary, though this title is better shared with school-age children. The text is sometimes awkward. Some pages have a more solid rhythm than others, but there doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern or rhyme. A few odd details such as "fog bones" add to the confused feeling of the book. Purchase where Halloween books are in demand.-Laura Stanfield, Campbell County Public Library, Ft. Thomas, KY
Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Starred review from August 1, 2012
Veteran Bauer sends an intrepid trick-or-treater into a deliciously creepy forest full of fantastical frights and rattling menaces. Any child with a sense of adventure, keen eye and touch of courage will eagerly follow the unmetered rhyming text that takes this black-caped child deep into a forest of bones on Halloween. The verse propels both the character and readers forward through each taunting spread. "Bat bones, / cat bones, / rat bones and all are / looking at / YOU." "Take care! / Beware! / Despair! / You can bet / you've just met / your worst nightmare!" But the observant explorer carefully sidesteps such scariness and instead shouts " 'BOO!' / or 'POOH!' / or even 'WAHOO!' " and then dramatically reveals a skeleton costume underneath the cloak. Now the skeletal creatures turn from frightening to welcoming as the child raises a bright orange sack declaring, "Trick or treat! / Smell my feet! / Give me something / good to eat!" Shelley's superbly detailed illustrations in pen, India ink and watercolor help build suspense as the child goes from the city into the intricately twining bony landscape. A dusky palette dominated by grays and muted pastels turns brighter when the child's spunky confidence is revealed. Elegantly designed, this collaboration shows a great respect for children's sensibilities regarding the fine lines between fear, fun and bravery. This title should be at the top of the book pile come autumn. (Picture book. 3-6)
COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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