Hello again! Just 18 more days until Halloween. I wonder, every year, if this is too early to carve pumpkins. I just can’t wait to have those funny and scary faces on my porch, but I’m always afraid that the pumpkins will spoil!
For this entry I’ve selected another picture book, but one that any age can enjoy. The Three Bears’ Halloween by Kathy Duval; illustrated by Paul Meisel is a must read at this time of year!
Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear get all dressed up and go trick-or-treating on Halloween. As they make their way through the forest Baby Bear yells “Boo!” to all his friends in order to get his treats. Baby Bear believes himself to be very scary, that is why his bag is so full! When the family knocks upon the door of a very scary looking house, the door swings open. Just as the family is about to turn away, they hear a “Tee-hee-hee” coming from out in the yard! Frighten the family rushes inside and shuts the door. As they investigate the house (in a way that many readers will recognize from another tale with three bears) they are constantly scared by whoever is “Tee-hee-hee” -ing! Just as the family can’t take the fear and anticipation anymore the “monster” reveals herself and scares the Bear family out the door.
This story is a reversal of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Instead of Goldilocks being the one investigating a stranger’s house, the Bear family has been forced inside by Goldilocks’ scary laughing and attempts to frighten the family in a very fun Halloween fashion. The writing is very fast paced and relies heavily on the dialogue between the family members. The dialogue is, also, mimicking the Goldilocks story. Every time one Bear speaks, the other two chime in and add details to what they are seeing. For example:
“Someone’s outside!” said Papa.
“Someone’s peeking in the window!” said Mama.
“Someone with a scary broom!” said Baby Bear.
Children will remember similar dialogue from the original story.
“Someone has been sitting in my chair!” Roared Papa
“someone has been sitting in my chair!” Exclaimed Mama
“Someone has been sitting in my chair! And now it is broken!” Sobbed Baby Bear
This type of storytelling brings a beat to the words that will make following along easier for younger children while allowing for older children to participate by guessing what the next bear will say.
The illustrations really enhance the suspense that the bears are feeling. The shadow of Goldilocks that the reader sees changes as more and more parts of her costume are recognized by the bears. The illustrations are very detailed as well. Once inside Goldilocks’ home, a tiny mouse dressed up as a vampire can be seen in almost every picture. Usually he’s eating candy or hiding along with the bears. It’s fun to try to find him on each page.
This book will be a fun read for all ages. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!
Author: Kathy Duval
Illustrator: Paul Meisel
Ages: All ages
Series: The Three Bears’ Christmas
Publisher: Holiday House, New York, New York