Lushly illustrated in a gorgeous painted style, Scarecrow Magic is a beautiful book to read around Halloween. The story is pretty simple: when there’s a full moon, the scarecrow takes off his rags and turns into a (slightly creepy) skeleton man, and he and the other ghouls have a big party. They come out of their hiding places in the ground or the trees, dance under the moonlight, play games, and eat weird food.
There’s not much conflict or plot, but the illustrations are the real draw of this book. The colors are consistently rich throughout the book, presenting the nocturnal landscape of the ghouls but with pops of color to make it less spooky and more alive. The paint is lovingly textured, and you feel like you can reach out and touch the scarecrow’s straw hat. The brush strokes capture the vibrancy of the creatures’ party. The various monsters are creatively designed, and there are little hidden critters in almost every page, or ghouls doing things in the background of the scenes, which are fun to look for upon repeat viewings.
The only problem is that the story is a bit thin, and there’s no point of entry for children to relate to this world; if the story had touched upon, say, a child happening upon this eerie party, and perhaps joining in, that would have given kids a different perspective with which to read this book. However, the art is so beautiful, and just plain fun, that one can overlook the rest.
Whitney Morton Woodcock is an artist, graphic designer, and a
maybe-someday children’s book illustrator. She has a BFA in
Illustration from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota,
Florida, and currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with her husband
Brian and a few human and dog children. When she’s not reading (which takes up a lot of time!), she also enjoys cooking, yoga, painting
anything that stands still long enough, and planning vacations she
usually doesn’t end up taking. Her artwork can be found at WhitneyMorton.com and her pet portraiture business is at MaxfieldAndMadison.com.
“The Land of Nod” was originally a poem published by Robert Louis Stevenson in his 1885 book, A Child’s Garden of Verses. It describes the freedom and wonder of dreaming, and in this book, illustrator Robert Hunter has illuminated the poem for a [...]
The relationship between a granddaughter and grandmother is cheerfully and joyously explored in I Love My Grandma by writer Giles Andreae and illustrator Emma Dodd. The story’s text is easy for a child to understand: “We play all [...]
Snuggle Bunny, by Kate Dopriak, really lives up to the StoryPlay book tagline: ““A fun way to read together!” complete with discussion prompts, related activities, and play suggestions. The illustrations are soft, but full of recognizable [...]