1. Archive

"Ogre My Dead Body' and other Halloween tales

The most celebrated of October eves, All Hallow's Eve or Halloween, is almost upon us.

From hair-raising to hilarious, these new books make for perfect Halloween reading.

Time For Andrew: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books. $13.95.

Andrew, nicknamed Drew, is a nervous, easily frightened boy, so summer at Great Aunt Blythe's creaky old house in Missouri looks like it is going to be long and trying. Drew's fear turns to curiosity, though, when he learns of an earlier Andrew who lived in this same house at the turn of the century, and died of diphtheria.

The plot thickens when Drew meets Andrew and they decide to trade places in time with the hope that they can prevent Andrew's tragic death. The switch produces humorous and poignant moments with both boys torn between life in 1910 and the present. Hahn's work is a thoughtful ghost story, which eerily highlights the ties of family that transcend time.

It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall. Illustrated by Shari Halpern. Blue Sky Press. $12.95.

All summer, a brother and sister have been preparing for their favorite holiday _ Halloween. This colorful picture book shows the children and their dog planting a jack-o'-lantern patch.

The bold illustrations and simple text take the reader from planting the seeds to weeding, harvesting and finally carving the pumpkins, with the help of their parents, of course.

Making Friends with Frankenstein: A Book of Monstrous Poems and Pictures by Colin McNaughton. Candlewick Press. $19.95.

"The park is dark, The monsters thin, It's feeding time So COME ON IN!"

So begins this wacky, wonderful collection of illustrated poems. Other monstrous selections include A Cyclops Can Never Be Friends With Another, Ogre My Dead Body, and Frankenstein's Monster Is Finally Dead!

McNaughton's use of puns, riddles ("What's a werewolf like the most? Answer: Human beans on toast"), words like "flickety-goo," and comic illustrations of cyclops, vampires, mummies and witches make this perfect for a Halloween read-aloud.

The Wizard by Bill Martin Jr. Illustrated by Alex Schaefer. Harcourt Brace & Co. $14.95.

Zip, zang, zing! The wizard and his cohorts are brewing up a potion. The purple-robed wizard grates a star into his cauldron, ping-pongs a few eggs into the brew for good measure, and dances and wings his way around his tower in the process of preparing a spell. The wizard's assistants are more of a comic nuisance than a help to the wizard, surfing in the cauldron and skiing on soap bubbles.