Award-winning picture book now an award-winning animated short film featuring narration by Mister Sam Shearon.
Alistair Gray loves Halloween.
When Alistair Gray attends his school Halloween carnival, he is disappointed to see his favorite night of the year has turned more silly than scary—all treats and no tricks.
But when he wanders alone into the dark the night before Hallow’s Eve, Alistair meets a spooky new friend that teaches him the holiday is about fun and fright…and that there’s more than one way to celebrate Halloween.
Thank you so much to Black Spot Books for offering me this eARC in exchange for an honest review, and to Edelweiss for providing me with a copy! I am well past my childhood days and have not had children of my own yet, but these factors did not hinder my enjoyment of Lindy Ryan’s spooky prose and Timea Gazdag’s haunting illustrations. I’m as much of a lover of Halloween as Alistair is, and often feel his pain once the season arises and the cutesy fall decor of hobby shops overwhelm the scares supplied in Spirit Halloween. It’s easy to forget that everyone celebrates differently, and sometimes it takes a lumbering specter with a jack o’ lantern for a face to remind you of it.
Alistair is taken aback by the many princesses and fairies roaming the halls of his school’s Halloween carnival, and begins to feel stuffy in his mummy attire. He wants the creepy vibes in his heart to be seen and realized on this day that feels like home to him. I relate to his plight; I have always been the ‘weird kid’ who enjoyed horror movies and gore, and was dressed as a vampire in elementary school for five years while all the girls around me were cheerleaders and humanoid cats. I saw my young self in Alistair, and this is a story that I hope to share with the younger generation to show them that it’s okay to be different– and more than okay to accept everyone else’s ways of being.
This tale winds the spine-tingling landscape of a Tim Burton work and the elegiac lyricsms you would expect to find under Lemony Snicket’s pen– making a story that children and adults alike can enjoy. I love the repeating of the phrase “fun AND fright”, reminding us all what Halloween… and LIFE… is about. I can’t speak enough good things about Alistair, and I will treasure the experience of reading it for a long time to come. Thank goodness it’s already August, because I am desperate for October’s coming.