Posted in Book Review

Time to Clap! – A Review of If You’re Spooky and You Know It

Introduction

My son is obsessed with certain children’s songs. One of our current favorite songs is If You’re Happy and You Know It. I was, therefore, ecstatic to find If You’re Spooky and You Know It. I love finding twists on classic songs since it spares me from having to sing the exact same song REPEATEDLY. If you have a toddler, I’m sure you understand.

The Premise of this Book

If You’re Spooky and You Know It is Aly Fronis’s twist on If You’re Happy and You Know It. The book does not tell a story but is a Halloween inspired song book.

This book takes children on a Halloween adventure where they can clap their hands with skeletons, nod their heads with vampires, stomp their feet with witches, and more! This book would be great for a toddler who could understand the lyrics of the song and who could act out the book.

This would be a fantastic book to read at a children’s Halloween party where the kids could dance along. I think this book would even be fun for children up to age 5. The song is easy to act out but it would still be entertaining for four or five year old children.

The Illustrations

This sixteen page board book is full of adorable Halloween illustrations. There is certainly nothing scary or spooky about the colorful cast of characters in this book. As a parent, rest assured your child will not be frightened by the pictures in this book. Jannie Ho created a variety of smiling, silly characters to dance along with.

This book features cute versions of classic Halloween characters such as mummies, skeletons, werewolves, and witches. Frankenstein and Dracula also make an appearance in this children’s song book. All of the characters exude cheerfulness as they dance around.

In addition to the enchanting characters, the colors used throughout this book are perfect choices. This certainly is not a dark dreary ghoulish set of colors, rather this book is full of cheery colors. Vibrant yellows, oranges, and greens are featured throughout. The lyrics are all in bold, easy to read black font. The reader friendly font is particularly valuable if your child is trying to read the book on their own.

My Critiques

While this engaging song book has many positive attributes, there are certain aspects of this book that could be problematic for some parents. There are three potential issues I want to highlight.

First, I could see a parent taking issue with some of the actual lyrics in this song book. For example, one verse includes the words “If you’re sneaky and you know it, nod your head.” On another page, the lyrics include “If you’re wicked and you know it, stomp your feet.” The lyrics also include “If you’re naughty and you know it, snap your fingers.” I could see these lyrics being problematic for parents.

These lyrics could be perceived as glorifying negative attributes that we as parents try to teach our children to avoid. For example, I know I reminded my six year old that it is NOT okay to be sneaky. Sneakiness is one of those issues we have been struggling with, so I did instruct her that this book is fiction. In real life, being sneaky will get your sent to timeout.

Alternatively, some parents might be offended by the idea of referring to their child as wicked, naughty, or sneaky. As parents we prefer to think of our children as sweet angelic types. 🤷 I might normally be troubled by the lyrics, except I recognize that these are just adjectives that work effectively in a Halloween song.

Second, while some parents allow their children to partake in Halloween festivities, they may avoid books that feature witches. This book does contain two pages where witches are dancing with brooms, black cats, and bats. The inclusion of cartoon witches was not a deal breaker for us, but it could be for other families.

Third, this book is simply a Halloween inspired version of If You’re Happy and You Know It. This book is not a story book that features some groundbreaking original Halloween story. It is simply a lighthearted Halloween take on a classic children’s song. If you are looking for an actual Halloween story, this is not the book for you.

My Closing Thoughts

Overall, If You’re Spooky and You Know It was a cute Halloween book to change up our normal music time songs. My infant enjoyed the book; however, it is not a book I plan to buy for our collection. This is certainly a book worth checking out at your local library though!

Posted in Book Review

Somebody Save the Chickens! – Day 2 of My Spooktacular Book Reviews

The Introduction

The terrified chickens of Eek! Halloween! need a hero! Something strange has been going on. They begin to encounter bizarre phenomena such as pumpkins with flickering eyes and mice that are the size of an elephant. What is going on?

You and your little pumpkin can go through this quirky journey with a group of scared chickens. Eek! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton is an excellent board book choice for getting your young child in the Halloween spirit.

The Illustrations

The illustrations in this book are simplistic yet highly effective at engaging a toddler or young child. The book is filled with charming pictures of the chickens who star in this book. The expressive poultry really come to life on the pages. The exaggerated reactions of the chickens are likely to make your child giggle with delight.

Not only are the drawings themselves effective, but so are the color choices utilized throughout the book. This book uses extremely high contrast, powerful colors. Every single page features a strong color palette that draws in the reader’s attention. My ten month old mostly prefers board books with touch and feel elements or flaps, but even he was drawn in by the pages of this book.

The Story

This book tells a Halloween story from the point of view of a group of clueless chickens. These chickens have never before witnessed any Halloween festivities. When animals in costumes begin to appear, panic ensues. Eventually a friendly pig in a chicken costume saves the day by telling the silly chickens that it’s Halloween.

All three of my kids enjoyed the story. The book only contains 104 words, yet it manages to convey a comical chicken tale. Obviously this book does not have an elaborate plot given how short it is; however, I would still recommend reading it for some holiday fun.

This book is certainly not the next great literary classic; however, it is a delightful book to get your child in the holiday spirit.

My Critiques

I have largely positive thoughts regarding this book, but I do want to identify some aspects of this book that may be considered negatively by other parents.

First, the construction of this book is not the best I have ever seen. My son would decimate this book if left him alone with it. The binding is extremely flimsy although the pages themselves are sturdy cardboard.

Second, the main focus of this book is the chickens. The illustrations, therefore, are almost exclusively the chickens. If a parent were looking for a Halloween book with more traditional Halloween illustrations, this may not be the book for you. I thought the chickens were charming, so I personally did not mind them being the stars of this book.

Third, the book could be perceived as just another kitschy holiday book. I did not select this book because I was seeking a literary masterpiece. My kids and I were just looking for a fun Halloween story to read together.

Lastly, the price is less than ideal for the length of the book you get. On Amazon, this book is currently $7. This book only contains 104 words so I could see a parent being disappointed by the accompanying price tag. I am a huge advocate of using my local library, so the price was a non-issue for us.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a silly not scary Halloween book to read with your toddler, this is a great option. I think this book is best suited to children who are 0 to 4 years of age. So what are you waiting for? Head over to your local library to check out this fun Halloween board book! 🎃

Posted in Book Review

31 Days of Halloween Books

It’s finally October! The season of sweaters, boots, and pumpkin everything is nearly upon us. As Halloween continues to creep up, I decided to review one Halloween book a day for the next thirty-one days.

To kick off my spooktacular Halloween book reviews, we begin with Five Little Pumpkins. This sixteen page board book was illustrated by Dan Yaccarino.

This book is seventy-one words long, so it can easily be read to your wiggly little ghouls and goblins. The length of this board book makes it ideal for children ages 0 to 4 years old.

The book itself contains brightly colored illustrations that help grab the attention of babies and toddlers. The illustrations, while fairly simplistic in design, are still enchanting. There are cute pumpkins and ghosts that haunt the pages of this book. My ten month old son definitely enjoyed the pictures in this book.

The book itself contains a rhyming children’s poem rather than a story. The rhymes make this a great book for reading out loud to a baby or toddler. I will warn you, if you are looking for a Halloween story, this is likely not the book for you.

This book is perfect for someone who is looking for a merry not scary Halloween poem to read with their baby or toddler.