Is It Halloween Yet?
Allen & Unwin, 2019
24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
Emily is a big fan of Halloween and begins early to pester her family about the preparations for it. But they are very busy with their everyday lives and don’t really have time to get involved, so Emily has to do much of the preparation herself, including making the jack-o-lantern from a watermelon because Halloween is not pumpkin season in Australia. Will she be able to get her family involved eventually?
Told entirely in dialogue with Emily’s speech in red and that of the other family members in black, with touches of humour and a need to read the pictures as much as the words, this is a story for young children who are noticing the preparations happening in stores for this not-so-traditional celebration in Australia but who are fascinated by it, its trappings and the concept of trick-or-treat. While it is growing in popularity here, there are still many who mutter about it being an American thing but in fact, it is much older than that, dating back to pagan times and the festival of Samhain which marked the end of the harvest season then gradually morphing into All Hallows Eve as the night before the Christian festival of All Saints Day as Christianity spread throughout Britain.. Each of the symbols in the story that Emily refers to. and those associated with this time of year has an interesting story behind it and its association with the festival, so this is a chance to help our young readers pose questions about them and then try to discover the answers. While some schools do not like students delving into the paranormal, nevertheless they do feature heavily in historical periods and religions so information is vital. It is also a great opportunity to indulge in all the crafts that are associated with this topic as students seek different ways to display their new knowledge, and instructions for folding an origami bat are offered on the last page.
So much more than candy and fancy dress!