cover image Halloween Night

Halloween Night

Elizabeth Hatch, , illus. by Jimmy Pickering. . Doubleday, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-385-74622-9

Hatch's debut, modeled on "The House That Jack Built," introduces "the owl/ who hoots at the bat/ who dips and dives up in the sky/ above the mouse/ hiding inside the jack-o'-lantern." Spilled snacks trigger a domino effect and the lucky mouse, "merry and safe," ends up munching candy corn. Pickering's (Somethin' Pumpkin ) cockeyed characters and sinuous shapes, decorated with coal-black filigree vines and spirals, have a Nightmare Before Christmas flavor but, unfortunately, little depth. The lolloping, uneven rhythm and slick illustrations don't accumulate much electricity. Ages 3-6. (Aug.)