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Summary: There are ten toes hanging over the edge of the pier tapping out a tune this Halloween. First the cat spots them, then a witch, then a bungling bat, a ghoul ... and more. Each trying in turn to pinch, grab, or bite those toes. Whose toes are they? Will any of the Halloween guests get them? This is a story in the vein of The House that Jack Built, with each character's antics being added to previous one.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 5 to 9
Interest Level: 3 to 9
Reading Level: 2.1
Age of Child: Read by a nine-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: "This one is fun, Mom." She loved the "active" illustrations and the surprise at the end when we discover whose toes they are. We spent lots of time exploring the details of the illustrations (like the little crab on the pirate ghost's pocket). This was one she wanted to read again.
Adult Reader Reaction: After the second round of "by the light, by the light ..." I thought it was going to get tiresome, but it didn't. This is a delightful read, and despite the black background, it is light-hearted and suited for young children, too. The repetition is perfect for helping new readers and the illustrations do an exceptional job adding clues for them to decode words.
Pros: Little humorous details in the illustrations and a clever story combine in what could easily become a holiday tradition in your house.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least! If my daughter were younger I would buy this for our personal collection of holiday books.
Educational Themes: This is a book meant to be shared for fun. There is plenty to explore in the illustrations. The first time through there are opportunities to stop and ask "what do you think will happen next," and the repetition is enough that you can quickly get a chorus going, too.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.