[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Orchard Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Kindle
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iBooks[/alert]

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.

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