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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 08/2021
  • 978-1735550428
  • 52 pages
  • $9.99
Paperback Details
  • 08/2021
  • 978-1735550411
  • 52 pages
  • $12.99
Hardcover Details
  • 08/2021
  • 978-1735550404
  • 52 pages
  • $22.99
María Felicia Kelley
Author
October Thirty-One

Picture Book; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

October Thirty-One: 10/31 is the second installment of the illustrated children’s book series, Celebrate the HoliDates®, honoring American holidays and celebrations. Its sub-genre is elementary education and social science, customs, and traditions. This series is recommended for pre-kindergarten "Pre-K" through sixth-grade students. Ways to celebrate Halloween are the focus, geared to preschoolers and young elementary readers. It’s an activity-filled escapade through calendar knowledge. Adventure is wrapped up in the anticipation of Halloween night when trick or treating and Halloween parties top off the day’s events. The book explores the roots of Halloween and orients social studies students to the holiday’s past. Kids will learn about the historical connections to current traditions: Today’s rituals are linked to old Allhallowtide customs. Discover fun activities like carving orange pumpkins that morph into jack-o’-lanterns and baking the European treat, Soul Cakes. These annual pastimes highlight American, Canadian, and English holiday traditions. World reference to the history of Halloween rounds out the title. The pages reveal a broad perspective of the cherished and exciting international celebration. Created as fun, educational stories, many with historical references, the books of the series are both entertaining and informative.
Reviews
Costumes, candy, parties, jack-o-lanterns–there’s a lot to love about Halloween, and Kelley covers it all in this vibrant children’s book all about the last day of October, with a promise that it won’t get too creepy. The book follows a little boy named Constantine–a tribute to Kelley’s real-life son–as he celebrates the arrival of fall with his friends. Constantine mulls over what to dress up as on his favorite night of the year–a superhero, an animal, a car?–before settling on a wizard outfit complete with a star-shaped wand and pointy hat. When night falls and “it gets a little spooky,” Constantine goes trick-or-treating with his friends.

Pratima Sarkar’s colorful illustrations enhance this familiar story’s lively, seasonal vibe, showing a smiling, wide-eyed Constantine doing fun things like playing in piles of orange leaves and dancing next to a table filled with caramel apples before he ventures into a haunted landscape rife with skeletons, spider webs, and witches. (An awkwardly anthropomorphic letter O with human arms accompanies him but seems out of place in a determinedly real-world story where the fantastical is what kids imagine and wear as costumes.)

Most of this autumnal lark doesn’t cover new ground regarding All Hallows’ Eve, so the inclusion of “shocking, creepy cuisine” is a pleasant surprise. One of Constantine’s favorite treats is soul cakes, described as “Celtic breads decorated with crosses made of currants.” Kelley includes welcome historical reference: “‘Souling’ was a house-to-house ritual inspiring the modern trick-or-treater, a Halloween custom that sparked today’s neighborhood, costumed candy-corn eater.” Kelley includes an easy-to-follow recipe, so families can work together to make soul cakes of their own. This book is a celebration of all things spooky, and elementary school kids who love to prowl the neighborhood on the scariest night of the year will find this a welcome addition to their library.

Takeaway: A picture-book celebration of Halloween, the start of fall, and the pleasures of soul bread.

Great for fans of: Lucy Ruth Cummins’s Stumpkin, Patricia Toht’s Pick a Pumpkin.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: B+
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 08/2021
  • 978-1735550428
  • 52 pages
  • $9.99
Paperback Details
  • 08/2021
  • 978-1735550411
  • 52 pages
  • $12.99
Hardcover Details
  • 08/2021
  • 978-1735550404
  • 52 pages
  • $22.99

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