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Witches, Whimsey, Wishes, and Wonder – Books for Halloween

By Sheila Welch

In keeping with the season, our book reviewer, Sheila Welch, brings us books that feature a little girl witch, a monster, some magical wishes, and . . . more!

Lulu witch babyLULU AND THE WITCH BABY by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully is a charming early reader with a dash of humor. LuLu thinks her little sister is getting too much attention, but when LuLu conjures a spell and Witch Baby disappears, she has second thoughts. Although the characters are all imaginary, true feelings of sibling rivalry are cleverly addressed. For ages three -- eight.

THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK by Jon Stone, illustrated by Mike Smollin is a classic Golden Book. Children and parents will giggle their way through this clever tale about Sesame Street's Grover who is desperately trying to keep readers from reaching the end of the book. For ages three -- eight.

SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE written and illustrated by William Steig won the Caldecott Medal for its whimsical pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations, but the story itself is enchanting. Sylvester is a young donkey who discovers a pebble that grants his every wish. He's thrilled until he meets a lion and in his fright, makes an unwise wish, turning himself into a rock. Will he be a rock forever? For ages five -- ten.

Anna's cornANNA'S CORN by Barbara Santucci, illustrated by Lloyd Bloom is the only book in this group that is realistic, yet it contains its own share of wonder. Anna lives on a farm with her mother and grandfather who teaches her how to listen to the song of the corn. He picks some corn and gives it to Anna to plant next year, but when Grandpa dies, Anna is too devastated to do it. Will she ever hear the corn sing again? This is a gentle story about death, the circle of life, and the power of memory. For ages six -- ten.

TUCK EVERLASTING by Natalie Babbitt is an amazing tale about the Tuck family who drink water from a magical spring and become immortal. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster wants to have some of the same water, the Tucks are forced to stop her because they alone realize the implications of living forever. This book is a classic for good reason. Not only is it a complex and thought provoking story, but it's told in a style that makes a perfect read-aloud. For ages nine -- adult.


Sheila Kelly Welch is a mother, grandmother and retired teacher.  She’s been writing all her life and counts among her children’s fiction books Little Prince Do-It-All and A Horse for All Seasons.  You can learn more about Sheila on her web site