Arthur’s Halloween by Marc Brown is a delightful children’s book featuring that loveable Aardvark Arthur Reed. While Arthur, his nutty younger sister D.W., his dog Pal and his mother and father have been around for awhile, most parents and children are probably more familiar with the children’s TV show featuring Arthur and his friends and family on PBS Kids.
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In this book, Arthur is getting ready for Halloween. Arthur is a big scaredy cat-or rather scaredy vark perhaps? The decorations around his home scare him, his sister D.W. freaks him out. He also has promised him mother to take D.W. Trick-or-Treating on Halloween, something Arthur doesn’t want to do. He will be the ONLY one with a pesky little sister tagging along.
At school Arthur doesn’t recognize anyone except his buddy ”The Brain”-who is dressed like a giant baked potato wrapped in tin foil. He doesn’t want to eat his friend Francine’s snack-Bat wing brownies and Vampire blood juice. He doesn’t want to touch the bowls full of “Human eye-balls, hearts and brains that his buddy Buster passes around, even though Buster tells him that they are only “Peeled grapes, Jell-O and cold Spaghetti”.
When Arthur and his friend’s get together to go trick-or-treating, they all know which houses to hit and which ones to avoid. They especially know to avoid the big house on the corner-“The Witch’s house”. But when D.W. and Arthur fall behind the others, D.W. goes up to the house and then inside. Arthur has no choice but to go inside the Witch’s house after his little sister.
While his friends wait outside, convinced that something horrible will happen to Arthur and his sister while they are inside the Witch’s house. But inside, Arthur and his sister discover Mrs. Tibble. a lonely old woman that is very nice and just can’t quite keep up with taking care of her old run down house. Arthur and D.W. leave Mrs. Tibble’s house, after promising to come back and help her get the yard in shape.
This book is a great children’s book for Halloween. The overall lesson-don’t judge a someone by appearances-or rather-don’t judge a book by its cover-is a good one for children to learn. The children assume that because Mrs. Tibble lives in an old run-down spooky looking house, she must be a witch and it takes Arthur and his sister to prove everyone wrong. Many of Marc Brown’s books have some sort of moral or lesson woven in and I did like this one.
What My Daughter Noticed however, was something I didn’t think about the first few times I read this book. “You Know What Mom?” My daughter said after we read this –“They shouldn’t have been out trick-or-treating by themselves”. And she is 100% right. One of the big things they’ve gone over at school is that children should NEVER go out trick-or-treating alone on Halloween and in this particular book, the whole gang is together, but there isn’t a parent there. Not only that, but Arthur and his sister are allowed to fall far behind and even worse-D.W. goes into a Strange House all by herself! All of these things are big giant NO NO’S! While the lesson about learning who Mrs. Dibble really is, is worth reading, I really do have some issues with how the story plays out.
If you are unfamiliar with Arthur and his gang of buddies-Arthur is an aardvark and all of his friends are other animals as well. Buster is a bunny rabbit, Francine is a Chimpanzee. There are many other “animals” represented including Cats, monkeys, dogs and more. Each child has a particular and strong personality. Arthur is a good kid, Buster is his best friend but lazy and would rather read than watch TV. The Brain is smart, Francine is a tom-boy and her best buddy Muffy Crosswire is a bossy rich kid who’s dad owns a car lot. All of the Arthur stories are about Arthur and his family and friends and they are all wonderful.
The Artwork Etc….: This particular Arthur book is one of the older books, and the artwork and characters-while nicely done are not as “clean” as they are in the TV series and in the latter books. Arthur’s face is longer, and the other characters are more pronounced in their animal characteristics. In the TV show and in the latter books, the characters are still animals, but they are more “humanized” animals with less distinctive features. In this book, Arthur is in Mr. Marcos class in school. In the TV series he is in Mr. Ratburn’s class. In this book, Mrs. Tibble is a human being and in the latter books and in the TV series, she is another Aardvark. If you have not read any of the earlier books like this one, or are only familiar with the TV show, this book might seem odd at first because of the differences.
Even though I don’t like that the children go trick-or-treating alone and that Arthur and D.W. go into a strange house by themselves I would still recommend this book. I would also recommend using this book to enforce the idea that you do not go trick-or-treating by yourselves and that you should never go into a stranger's home. I think that this book has many lessons to offer-both in what Arthur and his sister do right and what they do wrong.
If you like Arthur I’d recommend this book and others by Marc Brown. I am not sure how many there are altogether, but we own at least 10 of them including this one, a Christmas one, and a number of books that have been made into stories for the TV show. There are some differences between the books and the TV show(in the earlier books, Arthur’s dog is named “Killer” in the TV show and latter books he is named “Pal”). My daughter is at the age where she is starting to be able to read these books on her own, and we enjoy reading them together.
A few odds and ends-our copy of this book.is a Trumpet Club Special Edition. We got it after joining one of the book clubs advertised on the back of a book order that came home from my daughter’s school last year. For a set price(around $8) we got 2 Arthur books a month, stickers, a picture to color and other odds and ends each month. We ended up with 10-12 books-to be a member of The Arthur Fan Club and Reading Association you and your child must read 12 Arthur books, then send $1 to ARTHUR c/o Little, Brown and Company 34 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02108
The list of books to read is as follows:Arthur’s Nose, Arthur’s Eyes, Arthur’s Valentine, Arthur Goes To Camp, Arthur’s Christmas, The True Francine, Arthur’s Halloween, Arthur’s Baby, Arthur’s April Fool, Arthur’s Thanksgiving, Arthur’s Tooth, and Arthur’s Teacher Trouble
In closing-Have a Happy and a Safe Halloween!
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