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One Halloween night
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Wendell, Floyd, and Mona can't seem to avoid trouble, particularly on Halloween! It all starts when a black cat crosses their path while they're walking home from school, which seems to cause all their costumes to go awry. Then, while trick-or-treating, some of their neighbors surprise them with tricks instead of treats. As if that weren't bad enough, a pack of nasty witches is chasing them through the neighborhood, making fun of their costumes! Will the kids be able to save their Halloween from disaster?
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School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 2 "Anything can happen on Halloween," Wendell assures his friends Floyd (introduced in The Secret Shortcut [Scholastic, 1996]) and Mona. The first surprises are unhappy ones, including disappointing costumes, a little sister tagalong, tricks rather than treats, and candy called "Broccoli Chews." Even worse, nasty Leona Fleebish and her friends, disguised as witches, are intent on taunting and terrorizing. But then, luck turns for Wendell and his gang as each youngster discovers magical powers. They successfully vanquish the unpleasant coven and, in a satisfying and fitting conclusion, turn Leona, albeit temporarily, into a toad. This well-paced story contains just the right amount of realism the inauspicious start to this much-anticipated holiday, Leona's scornful rhyming taunts, the ever-so-eerie neighborhoods and graveyard to counter the more fantastical victories that result from unexplained happenings. The varying perspectives, ominously teetering houses, and swirling mist provide an effective contrast to the solid acrylic illustrations. This Halloween adventure that culminates in a resounding victory over neighborhood bullies will be a surefire hit in storytime and belongs in every holiday collection. Toad-ally fun! Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Ages 4^-8. A trio of friends, two boys and a girl, worry when a black cat crosses their path on Halloween. Sure enough, their evening gets progressively worse. Wendell's mad scientist outfit has turned pink in the wash, the candy they receive is called "Broccoli Chews" and "Sweet 'n' Sauerkraut," and, worst of all, they encounter mean Leona Fleebish and her group--all appropriately dressed as witches. However, the three friends come up with ingenious ways to best Leona, involving their costumes (Wendell concocts an invisibility potion), and the evening ends happily after all. The story limps a bit in places and falls flat at the end, but Teague's illustrations are, as always, imaginative, quirky, and exuberant. This will be a good additional purchase for Halloween collections. --Susan Dove Lempke
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