It’s Halloween, and so tonight we’ll be pulling out some of our favorite Halloween reads before bed. It might take a few extra books to wind ourselves down post-trick-or-treating. If I had to choose my favorite Halloween read from our book bag it would have to be Jon J. Muth’s Zen Ghosts. I first discovered Muth’s luminous watercolors in his illustrations of the poems presented in Caroline Kennedy’s A Family of Poems anthology. I love watercolors – I love doing them – and I’m incredibly impressed with those that can masterfully illustrate people, particularly children, with such skill in that medium. Creating light and shadow in watercolors is not achieved by layering, but rather by absence. It’s the restraint that I admire, and the careful consideration of each stroke on the paper. Muth is one of the masters of this.
We also own Zen Shorts (my favorite), and I love the contrast in the illustrative styles between the story of Stillwater (the giant panda) and the three children, and the three zen tales told by Stillwater. Zen Ties is equally lovely, and discovering each haiku in the book is a favorite of E’s. I love how the children discover the broader story of a grouchy old neighbor, and the underlying message that friendships can occur across generations.
But since it’s the night for all things spooky and ghostly, Zen Ghosts would be a good one to pick up from the library or the bookstore – you know, in between the mid-week shuffling of work and school and costuming up / costuming down, doorbell ringing, candy sorting, sugar highs and lows. Tis the season, at least until Thursday.
Tell me – what’s your favorite Halloween read?
Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!
And Happy Halloween!