That One Spooky Night

That One Spooky Night

by Dan Bar-el, David Huyck

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This collection of graphic short stories written by Dan Bar-el contains three separate tales of strange and surprising events that all happen one Halloween night. In ?Broom with a View,? a girl's broom for her witch costume mistakenly gets switched with a broom belonging to a real witch. Featured in ?10 000 Tentacles under the Tub? are two rambunctious boys who


This collection of graphic short stories written by Dan Bar-el contains three separate tales of strange and surprising events that all happen one Halloween night. In ?Broom with a View,? a girl's broom for her witch costume mistakenly gets switched with a broom belonging to a real witch. Featured in ?10 000 Tentacles under the Tub? are two rambunctious boys who fight sea monsters while trick-or-treating as aqua-heroes, only to discover that their biggest challenge still awaits —- in the bathtub. In ?The Fang Gang,? everything gets turned around for four wannabe vampire girls when they meet up with the real thing. Naturally, all the parents are clueless about what's going on (though in one, the pet dog is in on things!). The stories are just spooky enough and tempered with a touch of silly humor. They're an easy read with minimal text; some panels are even completely wordless or contain only sound effects along with the art. The engaging comic illustrations by David Huyck are darkly toned with lots of softly focused scenes, adding to the mysterious allure. Sharp-eyed readers will notice characters from one story making an appearance in the artwork of another. This book is a perfect classroom choice around Halloween, either as a fun read-aloud or as a great reference for discussing why we celebrate this holiday and the cultural origins of legends about witches, vampires and the like. But it would also be enjoyed year-round by children who like scary plots with not-quite-human characters.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this Halloween-themed triptych of stories, children discover that sometimes those things that go bump in the night are indeed worth steering clear of. After a nicely moody intro about the spooky something that happened “that night like no other,” readers are presented with Giselle, a redheaded Halloween fanatic who can’t wait to put on her witch’s costume. Of course, once that happens, she finds that not only is the broom real and too hard to control, but it belongs to an actual witch. In “10,000 Tentacles Under the Sea,” two brothers who are taking their costumes (Aqua Ranger and Aqua Ninja) way too seriously and loudly for their father are surprised to uncover the depths of watery danger magically accessible via their bathtub. The longest piece, “The Fang Gang,” is last but simplest: a group of friends who specialize in scary costumes that frighten kids out of their candy are lured into a haunted house by some real monsters. Bar-el’s writing is functional but no more, while Huyck’s art has a wispy, immature charm to it. There’s no real Goosebumps-style spookiness; the mood is gentle in the extreme, the sort of thing that parents might approve of. Whether kids will is another story. Ages 7–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Raina Sedore
It's Halloween! A night when bathtubs contain monsters, brooms can be magic, and the scary can be scared. This slick production collects three stories of Halloween haunts illustrated in a quirky, creepy style, bookended with pages implying that Halloween is the one night when nightmarish creatures become real. All three stories are engaging and leave the reader wishing there were more. The use of text is relatively spare, although this effect is not noticeably contrived. Each story is illustrated in full color, with green and black and orange dominating the palette. All three stories feature mischief-makers who experience the paranormal in a way which changes them, but the stories do not feel overly moralistic. The featured kids are feisty children who do not necessarily do what their parents tell them to do. The quirk of the illustrations make this title slightly less approachable at first glance than many graphic novels targeting children, but the storytelling will engage any reader as they watch the creepiness unfold. Reviewer: Raina Sedore
Kirkus Reviews
The title refers to Halloween, when the trio of stories within supposedly occurred. This graphic-novel look at seemingly disparate happenings is likely to have readers giggling more than shivering. Bar-el builds light suspense as he warns readers about the slightly scary spoofs on classic horror stories found in the pages that follow. The first tale, "Broom with a View," shows a bratty girl's comeuppance after she bumps into a real witch and is taken on a wild ride with the good-hearted green gal, learning in the process that kindness can be cool. The second story, "10,000 Tentacles Under the Tub," depicts the over-the-top antics of two boys in costume as Aqua-Ranger and Aqua-Ninja who, after an evening of rambunctious and disrespectful behavior, find themselves in a battle for their lives when cunning mermaids beckon them into the horrific depths beneath their very own bathtub. The final yarn features a quartet of full-of-themselves girls who enjoy terrorizing fellow trick-or-treaters. Then they meet another foursome of equally frightening girls, who turn out to be vampires eager to drink their blood. Huyck illustrates the rapidly paced action in classic comic-book style, making sure to skillfully depict every shock, scare and look of relief. A good choice for readers new to the format and those looking for a quick hit of Halloween silliness. (Graphic novel. 7-9)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Combining humor and gentle spookiness, this is a graphic novel for the Halloween season. The three stories take place on the same night. In "Broom with a View," a girl accidentally ends up with a real witch's broom, leading to a magical experience. In "10,000 Tentacles Under the Tub," two boys find their post-trick-or-treating bath transformed into an undersea world. The final story, "The Fang Gang," follows a group of friends as they end up in Dracula's mansion on the scariest night of the year. Although the Halloween setting ties everything together, these selections function chiefly as stand-alone tales, their tone is more likely to elicit smiles than shivers. The full-color cartoon illustrations are appealing and nicely match the mood of the book. An economical use of dialogue allows the artwork to do the bulk of the storytelling. Brisk, entertaining, and easy to enjoy, this is a good choice for children looking for something light on Halloween.—Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, MI

Product Details

Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.75(w) x 8.75(h) x 0.50(d)
GN130L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children's author, educator and storyteller. His writing includes both chapter books and picture books. Dan currently travels across the country, visiting schools and libraries to present his books, give storytelling performances and lead different writing workshops. Back in Vancouver, he teaches creative writing courses for children through the organization Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC). He shares his life with artist and goldsmith Dominique Bréchault and Sasha, the smartest and cutest cat in the known universe.

Raised near Chicago, David grew up half a block from the candy store in one direction, and half a block from the playground in the other. Along with a limitless supply of Legos, cartoons and all genres of books, the resulting high-fructose queasiness is the point source for everything he has made ever since.

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