________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 9 . . . . November 2, 2012


That One Spooky Night.

Dan Bar-el. Illustrated by David Huyck.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2012.
80 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-752-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-751-8 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Graphic novels.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Sherry Faller.

** /4



One night... but not just any night... something happened. It happened here (house)...and it happened here (playground). It happened here (fountain)... and here (alley)... and here (park)... and yes, even here. (bath tub) Some say it was the planets' doing. Some say it was all just a dream. Some say it was an evil wizard's plot. Actually only one said that. But everyone remembers that one night... that particular night...that night like no other...that one spooky night.

That One Spooky Night is designed to both entertain and scare young readers. Dan Bar-el's humorous writing joined with David Huyck's comic book style illustrations will intrigue and delight young readers. The detailed drawings and text complement each other helping even reluctant readers to enjoy the stories.

internal art      The excerpt is taken from the introduction which is repeated at the end, somewhat like bookends. Between these are three separate stories, 'Broom With a View', '10,000 Tentacles Under the Tub', and 'The Fang Gang'. "Broom With a View" is about a nasty little girl who accidentally trades brooms with a real witch. The enchanted broom takes her to the witch who has been mixing a special brew. Together, they deliver the brew to many creatures, like Dracula and skeletons, and the mixture helps all of them in some way. Imagine a kind-hearted witch!

      The second story, '10,000 Tentacles Under the Tub', is about two bratty boys dressed as Aqua-Man and Aqua-Ninja who tire their father out while pretending to attack sea monsters everywhere they go. Returning home, they take a bath and discover a secret underwater city. The mermaids lure them into a sea monster's cave, and it chases them right back into their bathroom! Luckily, their dog saves the day! Boys will find this story to be particularly intriguing.

      The last story, 'The Fang Gang', will be a hit with all readers. Four girls set out on Halloween night dressed in fairy and nurse costumes. Out of their parents' sight, however, they pull on vampire costumes and go about scaring other children. Soon they meet four other girls who invite them home for a 'party'. Of course, going with them is a huge mistake, and they find themselves locked in and on the menu!

      The illustrations in this graphic novel are simple line drawings with muted and shadowy colours. The illustrator was successful in capturing some excellent expressions. No words are needed when the reader sees the look on the characters' faces!

      While many young readers may enjoy the silly actions which they might have considered doing themselves, the stories all end with an inferred lesson. For example, readers see the fear in the characters' eyes when they go into a stranger's house for a party. The boys that didn't listen to their father ended up in mortal danger in the tub, of all places. The nasty, self-centered girl learns that it is 'cool' to help others.

      That One Spooky Night is recommended for elementary classrooms and school and public library collections. It will be a hit around Halloween.


Sherry Faller is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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