Reading/Interest Level: Toddler, Preschool
Author: Alexandra Day
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Carl’s Halloween is the newest in a series of picture books about Carl the Rottweiler and his friend Madeleine. It is Halloween night, Madeleine’s mother has to go help Grandma and leaves the child and dog to pass out candy to the trick or treaters. Madeleine, who is a toddler, and Carl decide that they want to join the Halloween fun, so Madeleine puts on a fancy hat, and drapes one of Mother’s necklaces around Carl’s neck. They set off out the door, Carl carrying Madeleine on his back and a basket for goodies in his mouth. They have a glorious time going from house to house with the other ghosts and goblins. They join the fun at one house and play some traditional Halloween games. Then, and this often happens in the Carl books, they rush home just before Mother comes through the door.
Sandra Louise Woodward Darling under the pseudonym ‘Alexandra Day’ has written and illustrated many picture books for children. This book continues the adventures of a dog and his human friend as they sneak out of the house when mother is away to experience the joys of Halloween first hand. Only five of the pages have a few lines of text, all the rest are beautifully explained by Day’s watercolor illustrations. Reminiscent of Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers, these have the same vintage feel and meticulous detail. The days are long gone when it would be safe to have children out on the streets after dark without a parent close. In this book children are innocently enjoying a fun holiday, and a small child and her dog baby sitter can participate in the best of the season. Small children will be delighted to explain the pictures to a parent as they sit together to discuss the story and the questions that will come up about safety and caution. This book is beautifully done and is sure to be a seasonal favorite with youngsters.