Dan Bar-El, illustrated by David Huyck
Kids Can Press, 2012
Strange things can happen on a Halloween night, as the young protagonists find out in the three stories of this illustrated book. Populated by sea monsters in the bathtub, witches, vampires, and pranks, author Dan Bar-El’s funny and, of course, scary tales get an excellent graphic treatment by David Huyck, an instructor at Washington State University and Moscow, Idaho-based artist.
With stories titled “Broom with a View,” “10,000 Tentacles Under the Tub,” and “The Fang Gang,” the amusement level is cranked up, but the rambunctious and playful heroes of the tales also face some pretty spooky situations, particularly with the long-suffering father and his two adventurous boys who have a bath to remember. The pictures strike a nice balance between the silly and the eerie, and Huyck’s illustrative style really enhances the atmosphere of That One Spooky Night.
As preparation for this review, I read the book with my seven-year-old son, an arbiter of taste for kids’ books (at least at our house). He followed every page with rapt attention, enjoying both the visual and textual storytelling. When asked about his thoughts on the book, “It was too spooky for me,” he said with a smile. Then he wanted to read it again.