Autumn is a great time to curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket and a good book. These books about autumn and Halloween promise to entertain and engage young readers.

“Where’s Boo?” by Salina Yoon, Random House, 2013, ages 1-5.

Simple text, bright colors, and a board book format take the youngest of readers on a search for Boo the cat, who is hidden among the Halloween objects. Other books in the Hide-and-Seek Book series include “Find My Feet!” and “Who Do I See?”. These books use a guessing-game format to teach simple concepts, such as shapes, colors, patterns, and counting.

“Sophie’s Squash” by Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, Schwartz & Wade, 2013, ages 3-7.

On a recent trip to the farmer’s market, Sophie and her parents bring home a squash, which Sophie decides is just the right size to hold in her arms. Soon the squash has a marker-drawn face, is wrapped in a small blanket, and is named Bernice. Sophie and Bernice are inseparable, until Bernice starts to show the signs of age and Sophie must decide the best way to care for her beloved friend. The clever story and the watercolor and ink illustrations, full of colors, patterns, dots, and stripes, make this book a delight.

“The Spooky Box” by Mark Gonyea, Henry Holt, 2013, ages 3-7.

What could be in a spooky box? The possibilities are endless, but it may include spiders, old bones, a cake, or a candy-seeking robot. Readers are encouraged to make their own predictions about the box contents. Orange, black, and white graphics create an eerie mood. The author dedicates this book to “everyone who loves thinking of endless possibilities”, and readers’ imagination will be sparked to speculate the box’s contents.

“Ogre October” by Ron Roy, Random House, 2013, 69 pages, ages 5-8.

Halloween is not everyone’s favorite holiday, and Nate reluctantly joins his three friends as they enter a local hotel transformed into a haunted house. An ogre, a witch, and a skeleton encourage the kids to follow the green footprints. The fun and games become serious when the four friends realize that none of the kids who have gone into the hotel have come back out. Their search for clues provides scary, but useful results. Early readers may recognize the author of this easy chapter book in the Calendar Mysteries series as the creator of the A to Z Mysteries series, another popular series for early readers.

“Home Sweet Horror” by James Preller, Feiwel & Friends, 97 pages, ages 7 to 11.

After the death of his mother, Liam and his family move to a new town for a fresh start. Their lives quickly take an unexpected turn when Liam discovers their creepy house is haunted. When his sister and her friend test out Liam’s theory, all three children are scared out of their wits by the ghost Bloody Mary. Luckily the family is warned, a different kind of ghost, to escape the house before the destruction begins. Scratchy black and white sketch illustrations give a spooky feel to story that middle-range readers will find both creepy and thrilling.

These autumn and Halloween books are sure to set the mood for shorter days, colder nights, and spooky times.

Reviewed and photo by Elizabeth Dobler

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