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Mouse's Halloween: 10/31/08

Most of my children's collection of books can be divided into a handful of categories: Counting and Alphabet books, Owls, Cats, Cartoon Characters, Picture Puzzles and finally Halloween. From the Halloween pile, a current book in our night time rotation is Mouse's Halloween by Alan Baker.

Mouse and his mother are on their way home at twilight to get ready for Halloween. Mouse sees a number of scary monsters along the way but his mother reassures him that he is just imagining them.

The pages at the top are cut in a shape to emphasize what Mouse is seeing. After seeing the monster the following page shows what is really there: usually something mundane like a tree, or another forest animal.

Of course to be a true Halloween story, there has to be a twist. That comes on the very last page is is subtly illustrated. You may not even catch it on the first or second time through the book. When you do spot it, you'll see everything Mouse's mother said along the way home called into question.

My son likes the ambiguity of the ending because he's getting to the age where he prefers a challenging story. My daughter does too but at her age the ending is just magical and the mother mouse just wasn't looking at things the right way.

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