"The 12 Days of Christmas" inspires a creepy countdown to Halloween night.
Before any text appears, a spunky little witch girl flies into the body of the book clutching her crooked broom and imploring with oversize manga-bright eyes for readers to come, too. "On the first night of Halloween / my mummy gave to me: / a bright, / shiny / Skeleton Key." The following nights bring a 2-headed snake, 3 Baseball Bats, 4 Icky Eyeballs and so on. (All cardinal numbers are rendered as numerals, while the ordinal numbers are spelled out.) Some days are less successful than others. Ghosts a-Ghosting and Witches Witching—huh? But Vasilovich is one to watch: His extensive experience in television animation and comics illustration is evident. Any page looks like a still from a scary cartoon movie. He achieves a Tim Burton–esque mood with settings full of sharp angles and zigzagging lines. Backgrounds of deep greens and purples and glowing oranges and yellows set off the dark action on each spread. Even though the creatures seem more sinister as each night goes by (the eyes are particularly chilling), the witch seems positively charmed. The big day finally arrives, and the text spirals with the key at the center of the page. It unlocks a room where all the characters come together for a most haunting Halloween celebration.
More shivery than stunning; for slightly older readers.ÃÂ (Picture book. 5-8)
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In a raucous revamp of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" carol, an impish child describes the gifts that her "mummy" gives to her, starting with "a bright, shiny skeleton key." On the third night of Halloween, she receives "3 Baseball Bats" (the flying mammals wear baseball caps); on the fifth night, "5 Singing Skulls;" and on the seventh night, "7 Goblins Gobbling." With a fluorescent palette and an undead Nickelodeon aesthetic, debut talent Vasilovich offers a suitably creepy vision of Halloween night. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC
PreS-Gr 2--Using the formula for "The 12 Days of Christmas," Vasilovich has created a mildly spooky rhyme for Halloween. On the first night of the holiday, a small girl with an oversize head, huge eyes, and antennaelike pigtails receives a bright, shiny skeleton key from her mummy. Each successive night, a spread describes the next eerie gift and recaps the previous presents. Some of these alliterative offerings are clever: icky eyeballs, baseball bats, singing skulls, corpses caroling, and marching mutants. But others are merely redundant: witches witching and ghosts a-ghosting. The illustrations are delightfully macabre. The smiling little ghoul and the bright, angular creatures she is given are set against swirling backgrounds that should elicit squeals from youngsters who are looking for slightly scary stories.--Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT[Page 87]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.