Daily Press (Sunday)

Halloween books with fun, very little fright

- Caroline Luzzatto Caroline Luzzatto has taught preschool and fourth grade. Reach her at luzzatto. bookworms@gmail.com

The spooky season is upon us, and with it a surplus of scary decoration­s, movies, TV shows and books. Enormous Halloween yard figures fill store aisles, and fake witches, skeletons and monsters peek from front porches and behind shrubs.

It’s great fun for anyovne who likes a little spine-tingling.

But what about children who don’t much care for the scary stuff ? This season, they can spend some time with these not-so-spooky stories that only hint at the thrills and chills of


“See the Ghost: Three Stories About Things You Cannot See” by David LaRochelle, illustrate­d by Mike Wohnoutka.

(Ages 4 through 8. Candlewick Press. $9.99.)

The brilliant silliness of “See the Cat” and “See the Dog” returns in this third installmen­t, filled with things that Dog and Cat can’t see … the whooshing wind, a mischievou­s fairy and, of course, an invisible ghost.

What readers will see is a witty mix of words and (not quite empty) pictures, not so much scary as funny: “See the ghost look in the mirror to see if he is still scary” … and then hide under a table because he’s startled himself. Readers will get the giggles, not the chills!

“The Light Inside” by Dan Misdea. (Ages 3 through 7. Penguin Workshop. $8.99.)

This adventure story is slightly spookier but with a gentle tone that softens the edges of the classic Halloween characters (witches, skeletons, black cats) that a young jack-o’-lantern encounters on his wordless quest for a missing toy.

As the title hints, this is not a story of dark deeds but of kindness, problem-solving and the jack-o’-lantern’s bravery shining through — as well as his (very literal) inner light.

“The Skull” by Jon Klassen.

(Ages 6 through 9. Candlewick Press. $19.99.)

For those with a bit more tolerance for the eerie, this Tyrolean folktale, refashione­d and retold by author and illustrato­r Jon Klassen, is just right.

It might seem that the scariest part of this story would be the talking skull that gazes from the cover. The skull, however, is kind and hospitable to Otilla, a mysterious runaway girl who takes refuge in the skull’s old house and agrees to carry the skull around because, as it says, “I am just a skull, and rolling around is difficult for me.” Together they explore the house, enjoy pears and tea, dance together, and visit a bottomless pit.

Their partnershi­p does have one down side — the one scary part of the story — which is an angry, headless skeleton that wants to force a merger with the skull. Brave Otilla, who wasn’t flustered by a talking skull, isn’t any more upset by the skeleton, and takes bold steps to find her own, unconventi­onal happily-ever-after.

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