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Halloween Goes to the Dogs

Wed, 10/26/2022 - 17:59

In Dianne Moritz's new children's book for Halloween, "Going on a Ghost Hunt" (Doodle and Peck, $18.99), we meet our dog friends as they pose together in triplicate at the base of a flight of stairs, eagerly looking out at the reader, nearly on top of one another, which they are throughout, betraying their friendship in attractive illustrations by Vickie Kastl of Oklahoma.

The three bolt the house to take in crisp fall, in this rhyming, sound-sensitive book for kids up to age 8 or so, thrashing about in piles of leaves, splashing through puddles, but then padding into a dark forest and stumbling upon a hair-raising cemetery, where indeed they find a ghost. Hightailing it out of there, the three retrace their steps back home in time to be confronted by another, shorter ghost — a friendly one among a gaggle of trick-or-treaters.

As dogs will, they help themselves to candy spilled from overturned bags. 

Ms. Moritz, a North Sea resident and a contributor to this paper's "Guestwords" column for decades, has also contributed poems and stories to various kiddie journals, Ladybug among them, and her kids' books include "1,2,3 . . . by the Sea." She and Ms. Kastl have both been educators, which shows in a "Linking to Literacy" box laying out lessons for young readers, like an onomatopoeia search challenge. That's "a really big word" for a kid, they acknowledge, but it's good to aim high.  

And Halloween is a really big day. May the sweet stuff pile high.

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