Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Giveaway!!

In honor of my renewed commitment to keeping up with Storytime Crime—and, of course, because Halloween is almost here—I thought I'd give away one very special treat: Mommy? by Maurice Sendak, Arthur Yorinks, and Matthew Reinhart. I think this just might be my favorite pop-up book. It's got the wonderful illustrations of Sendak and Reinhart's amazing paper engeneering. And luckily, I have an extra copy to give away!

You just need to follow me on Twitter @ChrisCanWrite and retweet any of my tweets about the giveaway to enter. I'll pick one lucky winner at random on Halloween night (I'll give everyone until midnight) and ship it out the next day. Sorry, this contest is only open to U.S. residents.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Halloween Kid by Rhode Montijo

Halloween? Candy? Cowboy? Lasso? Modern retro art? Yes, please!! The Halloween Kid by Rhode Montijo is a perennial favorite of mine. And it's perfect for any kid who becomes completely committed to acting the part when they're in their costume—which, I guess, is probably all of them.
© 2010 by Rhode Montijo
The Halloween Kid is a classic masked hero, a defender of all things good and just—especially the right to get delicious candy on Halloween. With his trusty steed, the Kid wrangles up all kinds of Halloween-hating hoodlums like toilet paper mummies, pumpkin-suckin' vampires, leaf-pile ghosts and more. Because of him, trick-or-treaters are safe to do their business.... Until the day the Goodie Goblins show up.  And when the varmints prove to be too much for The Halloween Kid, who can he turn to for help?
Look, kids, I managed to wrassle me up the author/illustrator's autograph!
Montijo does an amazing job of blending the two seemingly different worlds of Halloween and Westerns. From the clever way in which he incorporates the monsters into this world to the tone of his voice, it feels as if he's really thought of everything. And the choice to use a limited color palette, as well as the weathered effect, only serves to heighten the experience.

Although this book came out two Halloweens ago, Montijo constantly promotes it with tons of goodies that I would urge you to check out. Heck, the Halloween Kid even has his very own Twitter account. So there's plenty of things to make sure you have a Yee-Ha-Halloween!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Sleepless Little Vampire by Richard Egielski

Halloween is by far the best holiday for picture books. In honor of that, I'm going to try to review a couple of my favorites in the next few days.  I wanted to start off with a title from last year: The Sleepless Little Vampire by Richard Egielski. It's a delightful picture book that's the perfect Halloween bedtime read for the littlest of monsters.

A little vampire is all ready for bed, tucked beneath his skeleton blanket and snuggling with his Frankenstein's monster doll. The only problem is he can't fall asleep. So the little guy spends the rest of the story trying to figure out what's keeping him up.  Is it the howling werewolf? Or maybe the dancing skeletons?

© 2012 by Richard Egielski
I really love this setup of a monster having trouble falling asleep because so many kids often blame them as the reason why they are unable to go to bed (monsters in the closet, monsters under the bed, etc.). Egielski's text is both simple and rhythmic and it will definitely entice children to howl, chatter, and dance just like the monsters do.  Egielski also does a great job of illustrating all of these potentially frightening creatures so that they are cute and relatable. And as the story progresses, more and more of these characters enter the frame—so there's a lot to explore in each spread.  It all keeps building up until the quiet, clever, and fitting ending. The Sleepless Little Vampire is bound to show children that they've got nothing to fear at or about bedtime.