Petal and Poppy and the Spooky Halloween!

Lisa Clough, illus. by Ed Briant. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $3.99 paper (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-33603-2
Friends Petal the elephant and Poppy the rhino return in their third leveled reader, which begins with Poppy donning a monster costume to “spook” Petal. “It’s only a costume,” Poppy tells self-proclaimed “scaredy-cat” Petal, who responds with a “GAA!” After heading out on a tandem bicycle to a costume party, the two get a flat tire, resulting in an unplanned stop at a “spooky house,” where the tables turn and Poppy gets a scare. Meanwhile, Petal is shrugging off her scaredy tendencies by making friends with a real—and helpful—ghost. Sequential panels and a good amount of physical comedy move the story forward, and Briant’s subdued palette befits the unfolding nighttime shenanigans. For her part, Clough is able to inject the story with light doses of humor and suspense, even within the vocabulary limitations typical of the format. Ages 6–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/28/2014
Release date: 08/26/2014
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