Friday, October 7, 2016

The Hallo-weiner


Sing it: It's the most wonderful month... of the year!

It's truly my fave -- the crisp air, blue skies behind colorful trees, the crunch of leaves, pumpkins and of course Halloween!

Eons ago, my sister gifted me what has become one of our favorite picture books on our shelves. We read it throughout the year, but definitely most in October. If you love dachshunds, Halloween, puns, and an underdog story, then you will love The Hallo-weiner!

The Hallo-weiner, written by Dav Pilkey (of Captain Underpants fame), was published in 1995 (Blue Sky Press). The story opens with Oscar (who was "half-a-dog tall and one-and-a-half dogs long") going to obedience school. Unfortunately, Oscar was teased by the other dogs, and this upset him. That is, it usually upset him, but it was Halloween and he had excitement on his mind!
Upon returning home from school, though, Oscar's excitement is snuffed when his well-intentioned mother shows him the costume she got for him:
He's humiliated, but wears it anyway because he doesn't want to upset his mother. The night continues to unravel, though, as the other dogs in his group take all of the candy at each house, leaving nothing for poor Oscar. (And the puns delightfully abound here.) But then, something scary frightens the group as they are cutting through the cemetary on their way home from trick-or-treating. And because of Oscar's unique shape and size, he is able to save the day.
Besides being an entertaining read-aloud, this book shines with Dav Pilkey's art. Of course it is hysterical to see mother dogs in pearls kissing their pups and handing out Halloween candy. But the pictures and spreads are full of bright colors and interesting effects. On many pages, Pilkey shows an enormous full moon in the background with colorful swirls in the sky, and you can see the silhouettes of the dogs in their silly costumes. The details create a just-right spooky mood that leads to a heart-warming ending full of furry smiles.
I love that at over 20 years old, this book is not at all out-dated. The artwork, word count, and story are just as appealing to readers today. Truly, there is much to love about this howl-oween book, and I hope you can get your paws on it soon! (Aw, c'mon -- sometimes the puns just have to come out!)
Happy reading,