SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

Just as Saturday mornings TV broadcasting used to focus on kids, this blog does the same, recommending books for kids, their parents and grandparents, their teachers, and those who read to them.

Today’s delightful book is

A funny book with excellent life lessons

The narrator, a young boy thinks Mrs. McWee, who lives down the hall in his apartment building, is a witch. But, he’s “not so sure.” He thinks she has ESP, but “he’s not so sure.” He thinks many things and uses scant evidence to back up what he thinks, but his mom has a logical explanation for it all.

Halloween comes, and the boy goes trick-or-treating at Mrs. Mc Wee’s to find something he is sure of. You’ll never guess what it is!

Schwartz, the illustrator, uses black and white drawings spiked with Halloween orange to provide a treat for young and old alike. Enough repetition and rhythm are built in to help the youngest readers read along. It’s fun for all any time of the year.

JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN

The Thirteen Days of Halloween published by Scholastic is a counting book closely patterned on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and is the perfect grandchild-gift for a little one.  The illustrations parody Tim Burton, and, as in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” repetition is built in.  By the time parent or grandparent and child have read the book a few times, the child will be able to count to 13! The little witchy-demon (good demon) girl has large, innocent eyes as she leads her various ghouls like werewolves and vampires and witches through their madcap, fun march through the gloriously colored pages and reaches the final countdown to Halloween night when all the goblins and beasties come out to play. It can be ordered through Scholastic or through the title at Barnes and Noble or from Amazon.

A second offering for any season is classic children’s author Eva Ibbetson’s Which Witch, a chapter book, guaranteed to make children and adults alike laugh out loud (or at least chuckle). It is a worthy book, although not as well known as Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13.

In this story, Arriman Podcaster, an unusual baby who grew up to become a famous Wizard, is waiting for his replacement so that he can retire. Harrington Hall, his magnificent, totally creepy manor house is guarded by the Wizard Watcher ( a four legged creature who talks, has a tail, and vaguely resembles a sea lion–a big one).  The Watcher is watching for the New Wizard predicted by the gypsy  fortuneteller to “come down the road.”

When this fails to happen, Arriman decides to marry and produce an heir to take his place.  He instigates a Miss America style pageant of witches, offering himself and his great Hall to the winner.  An abundance of witches is found in the area, complete with warts and weird animal familiars as well as Belladonna who is (horrors!) a white witch.  She speaks with animals, heals wounds by magic (or white witchcraft) and produces bunny rabbits and begonias instead of frogs, lizards, and other slimy things with her spells.

The book is wickedly humorous (pun intended)!

It is predictable enough to feel comfortable, but has enough twists and turns to keep the reader reading right up until the very end.