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In our house, we approach every new event with books, and holidays are no exception. With two children under the age of three, I have found that story books help to explain life’s transitions and traditions more effectively than I can on my own. So when a book carries both a lesson and a little holiday fun, it is a win-win.
Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett is this type of book, and it is my toddler’s current favorite. When she has her afternoon quiet time, this has been the first book she asks for currently.
Vampire Baby is a cute story about a big brother who is convinced his little sister must be a vampire because she bites everything in sight. Overnight, Tootie goes from being the cute baby sister to a biting “vampire baby” when she gets her first teeth. Her older brother doesn't know what to do and, convinced she is a vampire, he tries to sell her to another vampire family. But, in the end, Tootie’s big brother learns the lesson that a sibling’s love runs a lot deeper than his annoyance at his sister’s new baby teeth, or, more importantly, any other passing phase.
This book is perfect for both the Halloween season and to help teach a simple lesson about sibling relationships. While geared for ages 4-6, my soon-to-be three year old loves this book and I (optimistically) believe that she gets the lesson on some level. I recommend it even if your kids are under 4.
Ghost in the House by Ammi-Joan Paquette is a cute rhyming and counting tale. There is one ghost in the house who hears a noise, then there are two and three. They go through the house collecting and counting more and more - a mummy, a monster and so on.
A clever take on the usual counting books, Ghost in the House has a great rhythm that captivates even younger children. The characters are traditional Halloween monsters, but they are presented in a way that allows them to be more fun than scary. It’s perfect for introducing Halloween to young kids in a safe and fun way.
Finally, Filbert The Good Little Fiend by Hiawyn Oram helps to address the difficult life lesson, particularly in this age of bullying, that it is always okay to simply be yourself. Filbert is a fiend whose parents and teachers expect him to be “bad.” But he just can’t help it - he is a good fiend.
While banished from the classroom to think about his actions, Filbert meets Florinda, an angel, who is also in some trouble of her own because she's a bad angel. Together, they come up with a plan and ultimately their friends and family learn to accept them just the way they are.
It’s such an important lesson, but a really tough one to get across. This book provides not only a cute story with fabulous illustrations by Jimmy Liao that kids love, but a platform on which to launch discussions with older children about the importance of being true to yourself and accepting of others and their differences.