I will say it right out: I am cheap. Life just doesn't get any better than when you get it at a bargain--and for me that usually translates as a quarter at a yard sale. This is the way, over the past six years, I have accumulated a sizable, diverse library of like-new kids' books that wait on a $5 bookcase to transport the grandkids and me to wonderful, imaginary places every time they visit.
So imagine my surprise a couple weeks ago when, on my weekly whirlwind trip through Wal-Mart, I heard a display of brand-spanking new books call my name. One second I was Googie heading for the toothpaste aisle and the next I was Odysseus lured right into the rocks by the song of the sirens.
I crashed hard. They were Halloween books, and I am a sucker for Halloween. What could it hurt to look, I thought. I wasn't going to buy any of these at $6.99 a pop--I never pay full price for new books. And I wouldn't have done it this time either--if there hadn't happened to be the perfect book tailor-made for each one of the five kids. If this picture doesn't scream "FATE," I don't know what does.
Sticker Doodle Boo! is perfect for Sooby. It contains page after of page of Halloween-themed activity pages for her to add stickers to or doodle on to complete pictures. She can design a mask from a whole page of sticky eyes, noses, and mouths, or draw sharp, pointed toenails on the foot of a creepy monster. She loves artwork and design, and she should have a field day with this.
Lisa McCourt's Happy Halloween, Stinky Face will be fun for all the kids but especially for Pooh. Time after time, he is the one who requests that I read McCourt's original story, I Love You, Stinky Face, when we are together on Skype. This little Halloween variation is no less charming as Stinky Face concocts a whole new set of "what ifs" to ask his mama, whose answers continue to demonstrate the wisdom and creativity of a parent who makes it clear that she loves her child unconditionally.
For Bootsie, my little poet (see my post "Bootsie's Morning Haiku" from 11/7/12), there is a delightful little story in rhyme titled Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson. In this National Bestseller, a lovable but slightly clumsy witch loses her hat, her bow, and her wand while riding through the sky on her broom with her cat. The lost items are rescued and returned to her by a dog, a bird, and a frog, who each ask to ride along. When the broom finally snaps from the added weight, the odd menagerie lands in a swamp and ultimately has to pool resources to save the witch when she is threatened by a scary dragon.
Beenie gets the Baby Einstein Halloween, a touch and feel board book of bright colors and textured objects. This is perfect for him because of his love of the video Baby Mozart (this was a 25-cent garage sale item), which we watch once almost every time he spends the day at Googie's. We have done this for over a year now. Julie Aigner-Clark's colorful toys moving to the timeless compositions of Mozart keep his attention as well now as they did the first time he saw them. The video is a restful, relaxing oasis in every day we have together, and I hope he likes the book as well.
Finally, little Zoomba has his challenges with food allergies, but he can eat Cheerios. Enter The Cheerios Halloween Play Book and the little bag of Cheerios I got to go along with it. In this interactive little book, Zoomie can complete various Halloween scenarios using Cheerios for things like black cat eyes, buttons on Halloween costumes, and the letter "o" in the word "Boo!" Then, he can eat the Cheerios, and they won't make him sick.
So, along with a theater-sized box of Skittles (for the older kids), my grandkids will each get a new book for Halloween this year. If they have as much fun reading them as I did picking them out, it will be well worth the little bit of extra money spent. All in all, I would call this a successful trip to Wal-Mart--except that I did forget the toothpaste.