cover image Enzo: Very Scary Halloween

Enzo: Very Scary Halloween

Garth Stein, illus. by R.W. Alley. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-238061-6

In this third picture book spin-off from Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, Enzo the puppy is apprehensive about the Halloween preparations and activities going on around him. Not knowing that the costumes and decorations are all pretend, Enzo sees “demonic” transformations and inexplicable magic everywhere. As Enzo’s imagination runs wild, so do Alley’s mixed-media cartoons, which show the dog turning into a fire-breathing dragon, surrounded by witches and ghosts that no longer resemble kids in costumes. Unfortunately, the story bogs down in Enzo’s repetitive, drawn-out narration (“I am cornered, but I refuse to unleash my terrible firebreath on these unfortunate creatures. They are about to pounce on me, but I will not defend myself!”), which doesn’t talk down to readers but isn’t especially well-targeted to them, either. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (July)