cover image HALLOWEEN


Harry Behn, H. Behn, , illus. by Greg Couch. . North-South, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7358-1609-1

Given Couch's (Summer's Vacation) stylish treatment, the 1949 poem that serves as text for this distinctive picture book will occasion a classic case of the shivers. The poem is mostly a scene-setter: "Tonight is the night/ when dead leaves fly/ like witches on switches/ across the sky." In spooky, misty paintings, Couch introduces three trick-or-treaters who gradually lose their courage. Readers will join them in wondering if things are as they seem, as Couch straddles the delicate line between literal and suggestive representation. The children flee, carelessly dropping their masks and candy baskets. By the chilly glow of a colossal moon, monsters approach—and kindly return the lost items. The illustrator's controlled tension and spine-tingling lighting mine the visual story line for maximum impact. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)