cover image The Witches' Supermarket

The Witches' Supermarket

Susan Meddaugh. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-57034-0

In a highly original Halloween tale, Meddaugh ( Tree of Birds ; Too Many Monsters ) again evinces a gently humorous, delightfully skewed imagination. As Helen, in a witch costume, and her dog Martha, dressed as a cat (``Witches have cats, not dogs. Everybody knows that'') set out for trick-or-treating, the woman ahead of them drops a piece of paper. Hurrying after her to return it--a coupon for a free broom--Helen and Martha hesitate when she disappears behind a door marked ``Trespassers Will Be Sorry.'' Peeking inside, Helen announces, ``It's just a supermarket!'' and the pair ventures in. But this is no ordinary food store--its counters display such fare as``Apples with Worms,'' ``Cran-Spider'' drink and ``Shake 'n Bake Snake.'' When the light finally dawns for Helen, readers, of course, will be way ahead of her--thanks not only to the book's title but to its hilarious, none-too-subtle illustrations. This knowledge only adds to the fun, however: the giggles begin early, and by the chaotic escape scene, develop into full-scale belly laughs. Definitely in the ``treat'' category. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)