Halloween is full of surprises. Old Armadillo hears the distant sound of laugher and voices as children scamper from house to house. He sets jack-o'-lanterns on the edges of the flagstones. Inside his casita, he settles down before the fire with a mug of hot cocoa and his favorite book of ghost stories, waiting for goblins, pirates, and princesses to come knocking. He is ready for Halloween. Old Armadillo waits and waits and wonders if he ever will be visited by trick-or-treaters. Meanwhile, outside, Roadrunner,...
Halloween is full of surprises. Old Armadillo hears the distant sound of laugher and voices as children scamper from house to house. He sets jack-o'-lanterns on the edges of the flagstones. Inside his casita, he settles down before the fire with a mug of hot cocoa and his favorite book of ghost stories, waiting for goblins, pirates, and princesses to come knocking. He is ready for Halloween. Old Armadillo waits and waits and wonders if he ever will be visited by trick-or-treaters. Meanwhile, outside, Roadrunner, Bear, Peccary, and other friends are planning a Halloween surprise for Old Armadillo. But when friends knock on his door, they find another surprise in store. Old Armadillo and his friends from Merry Christmas, Old Armadillo have returned for another holiday. Includes a glossary of Spanish words.
While the bespectacled armadillo from Merry Christmas, Old Armadillo waits for his Halloween visitors indoors, his friends are gathering outside in their costumes. Catalano's atmospheric pastels show both the indoor and outdoor activities: "Inside... Old Armadillo listened. He peeked out the window. Then he returned to pacing. Outside... A vampire crept among the shadows." When the party guests come inside, Old Armadillo has a costume of his own to share. Laced with Spanish words, Brimner's prose creates a quietly spooky mood for this distinctive Halloween tale. Ages 5–7. (Sept.)
- Dawna Lisa Buchanan
Old Armadillo is waiting for "ghosts and ghouls, fair princesses and pirates to knock at his door," but no one comes. He has put jack-o'-lanterns along his walkway and made cocoa, but time ticks on and no one comes. Richly colored pastel images let readers in on a secret. While Old Armadillo is becoming more and more impatient inside his house, outside his costumed friends are arriving one by one and hiding beneath an "ancient" cactus. The headless mummy (Roadrunner), the princess (Peccary), the vampire (Coyote), and the pirate (Snake) whisper and laugh as they gather. Inside, Old Armadillo decides to read a book of ghost stories. Once Raccoon, Bear and Tortoise arrive, the friends tip-toe to the front door, but by this time Old Armadillo has frightened himself so badly with the stories and listening to furtive night noises that he has covered his head with a blanket. "It is time!" calls out a vice and Old Armadillo grows "as still and silent as stone." When the door opens, "a mounded blanket slowly, silently rose from Old Armadillo's favorite chair to greet the intruders, and eyes grew to twice their size." The delightful cast of characters, the frequent insertion of Spanish words and phrases, and the suspenseful plot will make this an excellent read-aloud for the season. A short glossary of the Spanish words can be found on the copyright page. Reviewer: Dawna Lisa Buchanan
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Old Armadillo, the star of Merry Christmas, Old Armadillo (Boyds Mills, 1995), can't wait to celebrate Halloween. He gets his treats ready and settles in with a good book of ghost stories. While he anxiously waits for ghouls and pirates to knock on his door, his friends assemble outside, ready to scare him. However, it is Armadillo who scares the others. Brimner infuses this tale with humor and Southwestern flavor. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout and defined in a glossary at the beginning of the book. All of Old Armadillo's friends dress in outlandish costumes, and their affection for one another is evident in their good cheer. Most spreads have a large picture showing the action outside the house as well as a small illustration of the armadillo. Catalano's dark pastel illustrations work well with the text, setting the stage for the spooky night and a few spooky stories. The narrative is too long for storytimes, but it would work well for one-on-one sharing.—Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ