Sunday, October 25, 2009

Book Review #24: J is for Jack-O'-Lantern by Denise Brennan-Nelson

illustrated by Donald Wu

Pub. Date: August 2009
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Format: Hardcover, 40pp
Age Range: 5 to 11
ISBN-13: 9781585364435
ISBN: 1585364436

Description (from the publisher):
Who lit the first jack-o'-lantern? What creature of the night must return to his grave by dawn? And why do we holler "Trick or treat"? J is for Jack-O'-Lantern: A Halloween Alphabet invites you to come along on this A-Z adventure and celebration of all things that "go bump in the night." .

Poetry and prose combine to entertain and educate.

H is for Haunted House:

A haunted house; you better beware.
Only enter if you dare.
Monsters lurking, looking mean--
Just can't wait to make you scream!

Classic autumn games, jokes, and recipes (including gooey deviled egg eyeballs!) help round out the Halloween festivities. Atmospheric artwork blends just enough fun with fright to provide the perfect backdrop.

My Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

My Thoughts:

A few months ago, I was tickled to learn that I'd won a copy of J IS FOR JACK-O'-LATERN: A Halloween Alphabet from a giveaway hosted at A Patchwork of Books. I thought it would be a great book for this time of year. However, until I had the book in my hands, I didn't fully appreciate just what I had won. This is no ordinary alphabet book. Sure, the reader takes an enjoyable stroll through the ABC's with a Halloween theme. Each letter of the alphabet introduces a Halloween concept with a little poem. That's great for the youngest kids. The real treat for adults and older kids is found on the sidebars where each subject is more fully explored with a little background history, related facts, international correlations, and sometimes suggestions for games or activities. One of my favorites is S.

S is for Scarecrow:
Scarecrows hang around all day;
wear old clothes filled with hay.
They work to chase the crows away
but when do scarecrows get to play?

In the sidebar, I learned "In Japanese mythology, a scarecrow appears as a supreme being who cannot walk, but knows everything of the world."

The kids and I have really enjoyed this book at my house - I even pick it up when they're not around!

This is a fabulous book for families and a wonderful asset to teachers in the classroom as well. Highly recommended.

One of Denise Brennan-Nelson's favorite Halloween memories is of her daughters wearing homemade skunk costumes, since the girls are "Mommy's little stinkers." Her other books include Willow and Buzzy the bumblebee. When she's not visiting schools to speak to schoolchildren and teachers, Denise is at home in Howell, Michigan.

Born in Hong Kong, Donald Wu grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. He studied illustration at the California College of the Arts. Donald's current focus is in children's book illustration, but he also has experience with portraiture and editorial artwork. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.


This review copy is from my personal library and obtained through a contest win hosted at A Patchwork of Books and sponsored by Sleeping Bear Press.


bermudaonion said...

The cover is adorable and the book sounds wonderful.

Diane said...

These 2 kids books sound great. I just read 2 as well for the read-a-thon: Runaway Mummy, and Miss Smith and The Haunted Library--very cute.

Zibilee said...

I love the cover of this book!