Hazel and the Spooky Season

Hazy Dell Pr. Sept. 2023. 38p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781948931465.
K-Gr 3–In this rhyming Halloween book, the main character Hazel loves everything spooky and scary. But no one else in her town seems to care about the chill in the air or the dark shadows of autumn. One night, she wanders into the cemetery and meets Ronnie Pumpkinseed, a skeleton with a pumpkin head who introduces Hazel to the celebration of Halloween and all the scary ghouls and creatures who haunt the night. Hazel shares Halloween with the children in her town and is encouraged to always share the feelings in her heart. Mason’s illustrations almost glow on the page; Hazel is a dark-skinned girl with purple highlights in her brown hair. Children are always eager for a new Halloween story, but this one falls flat in many ways. For a rhyming story targeted for younger readers, too many words on the page make it jumbled and too lengthy. Instead of choosing one theme to focus on, there are a lot thrown in: learning what Halloween is, being true to who you are, and sharing your love of Halloween.
VERDICT While the artwork is stunning, pass on this holiday offering, as readers of all ages will be left disappointed.

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