Denise Brennan-Nelson

J is for Jack-O’-Lantern

J is for Jack-O'-Lantern

  • Who lit the first jack-o’-lantern? What creature of the night must return to his grave by dawn? And why do we holler “Trick or treat”? J is for Jack-O’-Lantern: A Halloween Alphabet invites you to come along on this A-Z adventure and celebration of all things that “go bump in the night.”

Poetry and prose combine to entertain and educate.

H is for Haunted House
A haunted house; you better beware.
Only enter if you dare.
Monsters lurking, looking mean–
Just can’t wait to make you scream!

Classic autumn games, jokes, and recipes (including gooey deviled egg eyeballs!) help round out the Halloween festivities. Atmospheric artwork blends just enough fun with fright to provide the perfect backdrop.

One of Denise Brennan-Nelson’s favorite Halloween memories is of her daughters wearing homemade skunk costumes, since the girls are “Mommy’s little stinkers.” Her other books include Willow and Buzzy the bumblebee. When she’s not visiting schools to speak to schoolchildren and teachers, Denise is at home in Howell, Michigan.

Born in Hong Kong, Donald Wu grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. He studied illustration at the California College of the Arts. Donald’s current focus is in children’s book illustration, but he also has experience with portraiture and editorial artwork. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.


A seasonal addition to the long-running series, this alphabet book provides copious background information for each entry, as well as simple rhymes. “C is for Costume” traces that Halloween tradition back to the Celts and the Samhain festival. Other entries contain activity ideas, recipes and practical advice. For “L is for Light,” trick-or-treaters walk past a dark house on a city street, while the text explains: “Not everyone enjoys Halloween…. So if you come upon a dark house, keep walking!” The rhymed verse should satisfy younger readers, while the extra information will engage older siblings.
~Publisher’s Weekly

School Library Journal – Various items pertaining to Halloween are introduced. A brief poem describes each word while a more detailed description provides historical facts and other information. Fun tidbits include related riddles, game and costume suggestions, and recipes for scary treats. The illustrations on every page are done in a medley of shades ranging from bright green to deep purple. Younger children should enjoy learning the alphabet by relating the letters to things associated with Halloween while older kids should find the amusing facts informative as well as entertaining.—Donna Atmur, Los Angeles Public Library

Teacher’s Guide:

  Halloween Pages

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