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Summary: One Halloween Eve, a young boy got the scare of his life. His neighbor, Mr. Neewalloh (Halloween backwards) was making a costume for him. When the young boy went over to see him, Mr. Neewalloh wasn't there to meet him at the door. When he went to the basement, he found Mr. Neewalloh on the floor, next to Dracula, and covered in blood. Or was it ketchup? This picture book story offers suspense and opportunities for kids to bail from the story. It comes with a CD.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, interactive reading
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 5 to 9
Reading Level: 2.8
Age of Child: Read with and by an 8-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter loves this book. She read it to us on the way home from the bookstore and has read or listened along multiple times for days on end. When she found it in the bookstore, she looked at the pages and quickly flipped to the last page to see how it ended.
Adult Reader Reaction: When my daughter opened to the page with Mr. Neewollah on the floor and the sentence "it was real blood," I got a little worried. So I flipped to the last page, too. There is a happy ending - and in fact Reiner is offering kids a lesson about how to call for help in an emergency. All in all, this is a story with just-the-right amount of suspense and "gore" that kids crave at Halloween.
Pros: Halloween costumes, a friendly neighbor, and a few surprises add to the suspense of this seasonal story for kids.
Cons: The book jacket makes a big deal about the author reading the story. Reiner does a great job reading (as you would expect) but he also ad libs from the text. If you are thinking about using the audio to help with a read-along, this is not the book for that.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a fun story, but it isn't one that you'd consider a family classic.
Educational Themes: Although this is meant largely to be a scary story for kids, the author does a nice job connecting the scary part with something kids need to know: how to recognize an emergency and call for help.
Notes: This book came from the reviewer's personal library.