On a Windy Night

( 1 )

Overview

On a windy Halloween night, as a little boy makes his way home after trick-or-treating, he hears a voice:

“Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours—if you look back.” As his heart flip-flops with fear, the boy dashes through woods and fields that seem full of haunting shapes—owls, ghosts, skeletons, and more. The detailed illustrations are packed with visual tricks for children to discover. Are those skeletons or cornstalks? Ghostly hands or tree branches? The playful tone of the text makes this a ...

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Overview

On a windy Halloween night, as a little boy makes his way home after trick-or-treating, he hears a voice:

“Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours—if you look back.” As his heart flip-flops with fear, the boy dashes through woods and fields that seem full of haunting shapes—owls, ghosts, skeletons, and more. The detailed illustrations are packed with visual tricks for children to discover. Are those skeletons or cornstalks? Ghostly hands or tree branches? The playful tone of the text makes this a perfect, not-too-scary read-aloud, with an enjoyable surprise ending.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours--if you look back," says a malevolent voice to a boy in a skeleton costume on his way home from trick-or-treating. Day (Flamingo's First Christmas) revels in Halloween's more frightening possibilities (though she avoids concrete mentions of the holiday), and her verse, while well-constructed, may in places put off very young or timid readers. "He reaches out and feels... a head!/ It doesn't move. It must be dead." (The head is actually a pumpkin, lying indolently on the ground with its tongue hanging out.) Bates's (Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early) pen-and-ink drawings push and pull, creating scariness with forceful hatching and eerie lighting. Clouds that first appear as puffy elephants, snails, and other nonthreatening shapes take more menacing form as the boy's fears grow; numerous other specters can be found in tree branches and blowing leaves, and when dancing skeletons in a cornfield seem to pursue the boy, he runs toward readers in terror. There's enough Halloween fright to satisfy adventurous young readers, and a comforting ending for those with jangled nerves. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—A costumed boy walks home through the woods on Halloween night. As "Clouds hide the moon—/and/in/creeps/fright," the trick-or-treater starts to hear a dire warning: "CRACKLETY-CLACK, BONES IN A SACK./THEY COULD BE YOURS—IF YOU LOOK BACK." As he races though the field, his mind plays tricks on him and he mistakes cornstalks for dancing skeletons and a giant pumpkin for a head. As his fear escalates, the rhyming refrain appears in a larger font size. The tension builds as a menacing shadow "rubs against his legs." With a sigh of relief, the "hairy beast" is revealed to be the family cat. There is another surprise when "CRACKLETY-CLACK" is heard once more inside the house-this time coming from a mouse nibbling its way through the boy's candy bag. The crosshatched pen-and-ink illustrations have a spooky appeal. Swaying tree branches take the shape of a cat and clouds appear as dinosaurs and ghosts. A rhythmic, atmospheric read-aloud.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810939004
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,268,815
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 12.22 (w) x 11.06 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Raines Day is a celebrated children’s-book author. She lives in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Read more about her at www.nancyrainesday.com.

George Bates is the illustrator of Abrams’s Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit him online at www.georgebatesstudio.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Stories for Children 5 star Rating

    Synopsis: On a dark and windy Halloween night, a young boy makes his way home from trick-or-treating. As he walks through the woods, he hears a strange voice whisper in his ear:
    CRACKLETY-CLACK, BONES IN A SACK. THEY COULD BE YOURS-IF YOU LOOK BACK.

    The faster the boy runs, the louder the voice gets. He spots a bat in a tree and skeletons dancing in a nearby field. Have the woods come to life, or is it just his imagination? With hidden images to find and a refrain that encourages readers to change along, this engaging book is perfect for sharing at Halloween or on any dark, windy night.

    Overall thoughts: This is a perfect prose for a Halloween themed read aloud, especially if it's a cold windy night. My five year old daughter had me read this to her twice every night for the last week. The illustrations are packed with ghostly shapes, monster changing clouds and other hidden images for children to find. There wasn't a single page where my daughter didn't find a spooky haunt.

    I won't give away the ending, but it has a nice twist at the end. Kids will laugh when moon reveals the true picture of what they thought was following them and the young boy in the dark.

    What I love about this book is the not too scary for young readers storyline. Yet, it's one story every child and adult can relate to when they are out alone in the dark and cold of the night.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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