Review Blog

Oct 21 2009

Halloween in Christmas Hills by Karen Tayleur

cover image

Ill. By Heath McKenzie. Black Dog books, 2009. ISBN 9781742030302.
(Ages 5-8) Recommended. What will happen when Miles goes trick or treating to Stingy Jack's house? Miles Cameron is number 5 child in the Johnson family, and the whole family loves to dress up and celebrate festivals. Dad loves Australia Day, Easter is Mrs Johnson's favourite, and everyone dresses up as leprechauns on St Patrick's Day. When Halloween comes around Miles is determined to be part of the fun and even though he is warned not to go to Stingy Jack's house, he rings the doorbell and gets a big surprise.
This is a fun book that marks the different festivals that are celebrated in Australia and explains that Halloween didn't originate in America. As Miles tells everyone it 'began as a Celtic fire festival.' It will find many fans for its humour and sly illustrations.
Heath McKenzie's drawings of the wide eyed Johnson family are a delight and every page brought a chuckle as I followed their exploits as they put up Christmas lights, handed out Easter eggs and trouped around the neighbourhood on Halloween in their zany costumes. Working out just what the tricky ending meant was fun too!
Halloween in Christmas Hills is just sheer fun to read - and it could be a useful and very entertaining picture book to supplement a unit of work on festivals.
Pat Pledger

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