Boo! Who's At the Door? by David Mead
RING THE DOORBELL--IF YOU DARE!
Trick-or-treating, that time-honored tradition of English speaking peoples, goes back to ancient times, with its current form rooted in the early Christian church when people celebrating All Saints' Day believed that the shades of their ancestors, good or not-so-good, could be expected to visit.
Trying to protect themselves from those not-so-sweet spirits, folks lit bonfires and dressed in scary garb themselves to frighten the bad ones away. The evening before this holy day, All Hallow's Eve, slowly evolved into Hallowe'en, a night of fun for kids, but retained its tradition of going about in disguise with at least the hint of tricks for stingy, Scroogy neighbors from the visiting "spirits."
All these jolly goings-on are fun for "big" kids, for whom hordes of children in strange dress at the door pose no threat, only possibilities for treats in their own little bags, but for the youngest, it can be an strange and overwhelming experience.
David Mead's and Ron Berry's just published little shaped board book, Who's at the Door? (Picture Books Activity Books E) (SmartKidz Media/Ideals, 2011) offers a bit of conditioning therapy for toddlers to introduce them to the whole Halloween event.
There's a pumpkin-shaped doorbell button to push for every page, which produces a very satisfying ding dong, followed by the voices of merry children chorusing "Trick or Treat!" Each double page spread, showing the interior of a living room, brings a new "door," a flap that can be opened to reveal some conventionally costumed kids on the porch, holding out their little plastic pumpkins.
DING DONG! IT'S A PATCH-EYED PIRATE!
WHAT COULD THIS MEAN?
HEY, WAIT A MINUTE! TONIGHT IS HALLOWEEN!
Clever design and illustrations by Chris Sharp give plenty of visual humor to each page: a variety of spooks pass by outside the window and there's a goldfish in a bowl by the window who reacts, a la the fish inThe Cat in the Hat, to each of these costumed creatures. For kids too young to "get" the whole tradition and too little to venture out on that night, this little board book is a good introduction to this holiday's rich traditions.