It's time for our "What My Children Are Reading" book reviews! This week we settled in with a few "ever so slightly scary" books, in preparation for the Halloween holiday at the end of the month. Both of our picks are brand-new 2010 picture books.
Scaredy-Cat, Splat! (Splat the Cat) by Rob Scotton; HarperCollins (August 2010); ISBN 9780061177606; 40 pages
Book Source: Copy from our personal library
Splat is a black cat, and it's Halloween. You wouldn't think he'd need much of a costume. You'd also think nothing could scare him. Think again. He's a scaredy-cat that's afraid of spiders and a scaredy-cat that needs a scary costume for his classroom Halloween party so he can win the scariest cat prize. He tries to come up with the perfect scary costume, and finally decides to dress as a spider with green and orange sock legs. Sadly, his peers don't find him all that scary, and he mopes about the classroom, feeling hopeless. However, circumstances change for the scaredy-cat as something goes "splat" while his teacher tells a scary ghost-story.
The delightfully furry Splat makes such a cute, non-scary spider, and his antics generated a lot of laughs in our home, as always. Splat's silly expressions are priceless. For Halloween lovers, the book contains a version the familiar and popular, "In the dark, dark wood there's a dark, dark house" ghost story. That in itself, makes the book fun to read aloud. The beginning of the story seemed slightly disjointed, and we wish the real spider played more of a leading role in the story, but other than that the book is a pretty amusing Halloween read. My daughter had a lot of fun pointing out all the clever cat costumes (bat, vampire, skeleton, mummy and ghost).
Chalk by Bill Thomson; Marshall Cavendish (March 2010); ISBN 9780761455264; 40 pages
Book Source: Copy from local library
Chalk isn't a Halloween book, though it does have a scary component -- a dinosaur that comes to life! This wordless picture book starts out innocently enough. Three kids run across a bag full of chalk on a rainy day. Despite the rain they start drawing and discover the chalk has magical qualities. One girl draws a sun and it rises in the sky, driving the rain away. The other little girl draws a multitude of monarch butterflies, and they miraculously rise from the pavement and flutter in the sky. The little boy, in typical boy fashion, draws ... a dinosaur. The dinosaur that emerges is not a cuddly Barney type of dinosaur, but more the fierce, sharp gnashing teeth, realistic variety. The kids run for their lives and try to find a way out of the perilous predicament.
Ever since I watched Mary Poppins as a girl, I've wanted to jump into a chalk drawing. But, after reading Bill Thomson's book, a chalk drawing popping to life looks just as fun, so long as no one draws scary dinos. This is the first time we've read a book illustrated by Thomson and, wow, are the illustrations ever impressive. His acrylic paint and colored pencil illustrations look amazingly realistic. The book really stimulates the imagination and creatively shows children problem-solving for themselves. Because it is wordless, the reader must make up their own story while reading based on the illustrations. The magical quality of the chalk also provides plenty of inspiration. What would you draw if you had the chance to bring a chalk drawing to life? My daughter said she'd draw a kitty. My toddler son, apparently unfazed by the story, said he would draw a dinosaur!! And after reading Chalk, he tried drawing that dinosaur on the floor with marker. Thankfully, it was washable and didn't come alive. :) Guess the book must not be too scary.
Rob Scotton - Author Website
Bill Thomson - Author Website
Link up your weekend book posts at What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and/or Kid Konnection at Booking Mama.
I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)