Publishers WeeklyIn this story from the creators of Not Enough Beds!, a boy moves to a neighborhood of adults and trick-or-treats with his dorky "new stepdad." Charley figures grown-ups can't carve pumpkins or bob for apples ("Wouldn't their false teeth fall out?"). He stands corrected when they hold a wacky masquerade, depicted in awkward but energetic colored-pencil images: "I think I'm going to like... Milton Street," he declares. Bullard gets Charley's grouchiness and the penultimate party scene just right, but the gee-whiz conversation with the stepdad that provides the resolution is as hard to swallow as a gooey caramel apple. Ages 3-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's LiteratureTrick-or-treaters young and old have much to celebrate in this clever new Halloween book. When Charley's mom gets sick on Halloween, Charley reluctantly goes trick or treating in his new neighborhood with his new step-dad Dave. He is prepared to have an absolutely awful time. But, as the night wears on, Charley realizes that he is having fun and that his new neighbors are quite interesting. A great surprise awaits Charley and readers of this book when Charley and his step-dad arrive home. This heartwarming book features a great story and colorful, charming illustrations. Readers will be sure to smile as they follow Charley and Dave on their journey to becoming a family. 2001, Carolrhoda Books/Lerner, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer:Jeanne K. Pettenati
School Library JournalK-Gr 2-It's Halloween and Charley's in a new house on a new block in a new town. He doesn't know any kids and his neighborhood seems to be made up of stodgy old people. His mother claims to be sick so if he wants to go trick-or-treating it will have to be with his new stepfather. To Charley's surprise, the grown-ups in the houses they visit are dressed up in costumes, too. He and Dave meet a witch, a mummy, a skeleton, and a vampire, among others. Upon returning home to check on his mother, the boy is surprised by a "Welcome to Milton Street" party held in his honor and attended by all his neighbors. Charley decides that his new life will be just fine after all. Various perspectives and myriad details will keep children poring over the illustrations. Such minutiae as small ghosts, goblins, bats, and spiders offer additional action in the lower regions of the pages, while Charley's dog (also in costume) and cat investigate and react to the many creatures that haunt the night. Though the story is a bit wordy in places, it is a warm and fuzzy holiday tale.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsCharley can't believe his bad luck: not only does he have to go trick-or-treating in his new and boring neighborhood, but because his mom is sick, he has to go with Dave, his new stepfather who is always doing goofy things to embarrass him. After visiting houses populated with vampires, cowgirls, and witches, Charley and Dave return home to find that Charley's mother is not sick at all and that everyone they met along the way has turned up at his house for a surprise party. He's learned that things are not always as they seem and that maybe Dave isn't so bad after all. Behind the Halloween tale is an important lesson about giving new things and new people a chance, even if they seem hopeless at first. The colorful illustrations of the neighbors, especially the rather large man in the pink tutu, will make children laugh, but readers looking for a typical Halloween story will end up wondering who took the fun out of Halloween. Though it seems to have its heart in the right place, somehow the moral comes out forced. (Picture book. 5-7)
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