cover image Halloween Forest

Halloween Forest

Marion Dane Bauer, illus. by John Shelley. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2324-8

A child makes a Halloween journey in this evocative story with genuinely chilling illustrations. Leaving town by moonlight, the girl discovers a “forest of bones,” filled with skeletons: “Bat bones, cat bones, rat bones, and all are looking at you.” Using pen and India ink, Shelley constructs spidery bone trees, densely populated with skeletal creatures that scamper and hang upside-down. While the bones cry out “Take care! Beware! Despair!” Bauer underscores the girl’s bravery and power as she banishes the bones (and nets a haul of candy). The nightmarish aesthetic touches on how a child’s perception is shaped by imagination, especially on a spooky night. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)