cover image Ten Spooky Pumpkins

Ten Spooky Pumpkins

Gris Grimly. Orchard, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-11244-3

Grimly returns with stylized macabre fun in this Halloween-centric counting book, following a blue-eyed, peach-skinned child in a Pierrot-style clown costume. Blocky orange numbers reside in the upper left-hand corner on each page, as a rhythmic rhymes count down from 10. Six “hallowed ghosts wiggle and writhe...// Looking for a wolf and they found five,” one spread reads, as ghastly spectral figures with yawning mouths float through a dusky sky from a ramshackle house. Crisply rendered watercolor and ink illustrations conjure a casually eerie energy as the child nonchalantly, smilingly encounters everything from patchwork-winged bats and mangy-looking moor wolves to coffee-sipping skeletons and a curmudgeonly moon. As a simultaneous counting guide, bedtime book, seasonal read, and source of uncanny year-round fun, this is an absolute treat bolstered by a gently surprising trick. Back matter includes an artist’s note. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)