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That One Spooky Night by D. Bar-el

Bar-el, Dan. That One Spooky Night. Toronto: Kids Can Press. 2012.  Print.

Especially appealing during the Halloween season or for those students who appreciate a good semi-scary story any time of the year, That One Spooky Night delivers three off-the-wall short and spooky tales.  Child protagonists who are all far from pillars of good behaviour set the stage for a more comedic and less truly scary approach to the zany horrors that happen to them.  In Broom With A View, a young girl chooses a witch costume for Halloween but accidentally switches brooms with a real witch.  On Halloween night, the broom whisks her away to its real owner, a cheeky but good-hearted witch who shows her younger counterpart how to really have fun on Halloween night without being a brat.  In 10,000 Tentacles Under the Tub, two mischievous brothers, who, after a night of getting into trouble and almost overwhelming their father with their misbehaviour, find themselves locked in an epic battle in the underwater world they discover at the bottom of their bathtub.  In The Fang Gang, four girls terrorize local children until they find themselves facing a foursome of real vampires in disguise who give them a dose of their own medicine.

Illustrator David Huyck’s use of muted colours and soft edges throughout the book serve to both unify the stories and transmit an ethereal quality to the images.  The different colour schemes used in each story are particularly effective for transporting the reader into foreign, underwater worlds and sinister vampire lairs.  Wordless panels are interspersed throughout, further drawing the reader into sullen moods which effectively contrast the zany storyline making That One Spooky Night an entertaining read for upper primary and intermediate readers.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Annabelle Pendry

Annabelle Pendry loves her job as Teacher Librarian at Mount Pleasant Elementary in Vancouver, BC.