On a Windy Night
What It Is
A young boy in his Halloween costume walks home by moonlight carrying his trick-or-treating bounty. As he travels through the woods, the blowing wind covers the moon and activates his imagination. He hears a voice saying “Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours — if you look back,” and his walk turns to a run. He hears the voice again and again, and imagines dancing skeletons, a skull at his feet and a hairy beast chasing him. When the clouds clear, the moon reveals that the skeletons were just cornstalks, the “head” was a pumpkin and the hairy beast was his very own kitty. Once safely inside his house, the boy hears the “Cracklety-Clack” sound again, which turns out to be a mouse ... eating his Halloween candy.
Why It’s Fun
This book is a classic Halloween tale of a child’s imagination run wild. What I love about picture books is that the illustrations contribute as much, or more, to the reader’s experience as the written word itself, and that’s the case with this title. George Bates’ spectacular illustrations capture the mystery and eeriness of fall woods at night and are worth an extra pause at every page to see the reality hidden behind the boy’s spooky visions. Mr. Bates’ modern graphic style compelled me to research his work. Interestingly, his signature style is common in his vast variety of work, which spans all ages and many literary and consumer products categories.
Who’s Going To Love It
Though the publisher does not list a recommended age, this book seems most appropriate for ages 3 to 5. Older kids would likely enjoy the illustrations, but may want more of a story to grasp. As with any Halloween-themed book, I caution parents to flip through it first to ensure that the content and pictures will not frighten young children.
About 2 minutes
7 out of 10
ON A WINDY NIGHT
By: Nancy Raines Day, Illustrated by George Bates
Published by: Abrams Books (2010)
Approximate retail price: $16.95
Publisher’s recommended ages: Not provided