cover image The Great Zombie Pumpkin Parade!

The Great Zombie Pumpkin Parade!

Robert Burleigh, illus. by Wendell Minor. Little, Brown/Ottaviano, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-33197-5

“Fear and fright!/ Brag and boast!/ On Halloween night/ who’s got the most?” Following a spread showing a sun-kissed pumpkin patch at dusk, this Halloween extravaganza from collaborators Burleigh and Minor presents a parade of comically ugly, jack-o’-lantern-headed zombies lumbering across its pages. Rhyming lines introduce the figures: “First in line is/ Drizzle-Mouthed Drumpkin,” who drools and carries a pitchfork; “Right behind is/ Zipper-Toothed Zumpkin,” whose carved face sports one closed eye and a saw-toothed jaw. The humanoid beings, portrayed with tan hands, are clothed in ragged, alternatingly gray and black clothing that occasionally bears rust-hued traces. Marching across the handsome autumn countryside, the text asks readers to weigh in: “Who’s the scariest?/ Creep and crawl!/ Who’s the strangest/ of them all?” Though language warns readers to “beware, be wise!” the procession reads as more inviting accounting than genuine threat, especially as the parade winds down into a graveyard snooze. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)