A Timeless Tale and a Heartwarming Celebration of Halloween
Written by Amanda McCann
Illustrated by Simone Föhl
Halloweenie is a must-have book this Fall. There are many great things to say about the story, but let’s start with the most important aspect of a children’s book – how it makes us feel. With warm colors, wonderful illustrations, and storytelling that is both rhythmic and charming, the book made me feel heartfelt nostalgia. Yes, that’s right, nostalgia. Not many Halloween stories evoke nostalgic emotions from readers – but this one does just that. As I flipped through the pages, I felt myself going back in time to the Halloween nights of my childhood – those dark nights where the brisk wind “wooshed”, and “fallen leaves crunched under trick-or-treaters’ feet”.
As I tapped into my nostalgia and envisioned myself once again as a child wandering the streets in a clunky costume, I started getting lost in Amanda McCann’s storytelling. She brings magic and sense of wonder to Halloween. The adorable friendly pumpkin who comes to life in the story will capture your heart and leave you feeling warm inside – just as the pumpkin is delighted by the warmth of the glowing candle in her belly.
Now, of course, this is a Halloween story! So it needs a little mischief… The friendly pumpkin starts confronting some frights – some other pumpkins who are not so friendly. Although this story is a unique Halloween story, it still incorporates traditional spooky elements like a witch, a ghost, an owl, a scarecrow, and a black cat. Oh how my heart felt for that poor little pumpkin as she was surrounded!
But the real fright does not come from a spooky pumpkin, nor a ghost, or a witch. No, the real danger is a group of unruly teenagers who decide to smash some pumpkins. Here is what distinguishes this book from all other Halloween stories – people, not ghosts, make Halloween spooky… but they also make it wonderful.
When a young, costumed girl shows up, she becomes the unexpected hero who saves Halloween night. With bravery, she sends those teenagers away and saves the friendly pumpkin. Everyone can finally enjoy Halloween.
As the young hero, her canine companion, and our friendly pumpkin happily venture off into the Halloween night, I felt the warmth I described earlier. I felt love and compassion – and truly came to terms with this book’s significance. Halloweenie is indeed a one-of-a-kind celebration of Halloween, but it is also an endearing tale about caring for others. It is a story about having people in your corner who love and protect you – no matter the fright. At the end of the book, one of my favorite illustrations from Simone Föhl captures its emphasis on forgiveness, as well.
Amanda McCann and Simone Föhl both have tremendous artistic skills that blend together in the book. As you read the book, you’ll feel that warm light inside glow – just like the friendly pumpkin. Adults who read this to their children will understand the nostalgia as they get lost in the illustrations capturing the glowing streets and exuberant children. And children will learn to love Halloween as their parents do as they recognize what makes the day so very special.
There is no better way to celebrate Halloween than reading this book… and of course, trick-or-treating. Halloweenie is a special book that will bring joy to the entire family for years to come. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.