Grandma's Halloween Stories

Children - Picture Book
50 Pages
Reviewed on 01/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jacob R LaMar for Readers' Favorite

Grandma’s Halloween Stories by Joan Tenner and Jesus Lopez is a collection of Halloween tales that a grandmother tells her grandchildren each year for the holiday. On the dedication page Tenner dedicates this story to her grandchildren and they, in turn, dedicate it to their children. The book consists of 8 multi-page poems about several different creatures from witches and warlocks to bats, cats, and trolls. Each story/poem is labeled with a title as well as the year it was shared, starting in 1989 and ending in 1996. The author's writing has a consistent rhyme to it and the pages are well illuminated with Lopez’s illustrations. In the back of the book, there is a well-formatted author and illustrator bio.

Joan Tenner has demonstrated her love of poetry and family with Grandma’s Halloween Stories. From the dedication page to the writing itself, it is apparent how much her writing is connected to her kids and grandkids and, as a reader, I appreciated seeing that. The verse is well written throughout with its consistent rhyme scheme that feels very organic. The plots of each passage are creative and evenly paced to drive each story onward. I found Grandma’s Halloween Stories very entertaining for its writing and illustrations. I would recommend this book to anyone for its well-written, well-illustrated, and family-oriented content and if I’m being honest, I’m secretly hoping this grandma tells stories on other holidays too.

K.C. Finn

Grandma’s Halloween Stories is an adorable picture book filled with suspense and supernatural fun, which was penned for children by author Joan Tenner and illustrated by artist Jesus Lopez. Spooky and cute at the same time, both newly independent readers and younger children will enjoy the events unfolding in this ghostly-themed book, where young children visit their grandmother on the night of Halloween before they go out trick or treating for candy. What results is an engaging ride through tales of ghosts and goblins, and an exciting twist that brings Grandma into the story in a totally unexpected and really fun way.

It’s unusual to see spooky themes in books for young children, even though we know that they all love a good scare come Halloween time, so this is a refreshing change to many picture books of a similar target age. Author Joan Tenner has crafted a loving and warm story with much heart, but it also has a lot of exciting, fun and thrilling twists that deliver the balance between spooks and giggles perfectly. The illustrations by Jesus Lopez are out of this world for their beauty, perfectly matching that cutesy monster vibe of the text itself and making each one of the characters even more engaging and adorable. The plot is highly satisfying with accessible language for readers to understand. I’m certain that Grandma’s Halloween Stories will provide enjoyment all year round for children and their guardians who regale them with these warm-hearted tales.

K.J. Simmill

Grandma's Halloween Stories, written by Joan Tenner and illustrated by Jesus Lopez, is an amazing and delightful composition of spooky tales involving witchcraft, potions, and magic. It was written over the years for her own grandchildren between 1989 to 1996 and is comprised of 8 short and lovable stories, each with a different Halloween theme, from witches to frogs, thieves to friends. This beautifully constructed picture book will appeal to old and young as it captures the heart and imagination with its charming rhymes and beautiful themed drawings.

The first thing I want to say about this amazing book is that there were a number of tales within which would work really well as stand-alone picture books and have the potential to be a seasonal rival to books from authors like Julia Donaldson. I was absolutely enchanted with Grandma's Halloween Stories, from the attractive illustrations to the short stories written, as all good picture books are, in rhyme. Joan Tenner has complied such an imaginative variation of Halloween-themed tales in Grandma's Halloween stories, from witches and ghouls to frogs and fools. My favorite tales were A Special Halloween, Frogs and Toads - Beware, and Chicken Soup. I loved how each story captured its own atmosphere and charm. This truly is an enchanting book, packed with magic, potions, witchcraft, and wonder and it really captures the very essence of Halloween in a unique and entertaining way. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book and it takes a well-earned place on my exclusive recommended books list.

Having loved this book from start to end, the last tale made me sad.
The thought that there may be no more left me feeling rather bad.
I understand her grandchildren are now all fully grown.
They have their lives and their own delights and from the nest have flown.
Trick or treaters know not this and knock still at the door.
And for my treat, I simply say, these tales, I want more.
But if it's not to be the case, her tales will be missed.
But forever will you find them on my recommended list.

Bruce Arrington

Grandma's Halloween Stories by Joan Tenner is a 50-page children’s illustrated book themed around October 31st. It is made up of eight separate stories, all set in rhyme, and filled with numerous colorful illustrations. Appropriate for ages six and up, this book captures the essence of Halloween in a variety of forms. The illustrations in this book are excellent, capturing the author’s imagination and aligning well with the poetry. The detail of each picture will be a delight to kids reading it over and over.

A good number of these tales involve a witch as either the major or minor character. Sometimes they act as examples of good witches, although one involves a chicken thief. A good lesson is learned from that tale. Other stories contain frogs, toads, owls, bats, warlocks and more, all adding to the richness and variety of this theme. The stories contain no violence or truly frightening things, making them appropriate for children. Some of the stories contain a slight mystery—is the witch actually a grandma of the children, or is she someone else? It stirs the imagination and curiosity of young ones and adds to the positive framework of the book. I think this would be a good book as a lead up to Halloween. Appropriate for bedtime, the stories would both entertain and excite children all the way up to their Trick-Or-Treat night. Grandma's Halloween Stories by Joan Tenner takes the magic of Halloween and places it neatly in this colorful book. Recommended.

Leiann Lynn Rose Spontaneo

In Grandma’s Halloween Stories, written by Joan Tenner and illustrated by Jesus Lopez, the collection begins in the setting of Halloween 1989 and continues over the years up until 1996 and describes different occasions involving a witch. Are the stories true? is grandma a witch? Young readers will ponder these questions. This is a collection of spooky stories that highlight Halloween, but also contains other themes of thrills, spills, and adventure that young readers will enjoy. The final story in 1996 closes the book, telling the reader that hopefully these special stories may be spread from grandchild to grandchild.

Grandma’s Halloween Stories, written by Joan Tenner and illustrated by Jesus Lopez, is a very different type of children’s picture book. The book really makes the child reader think through the use of vivid illustration and deep rhyme. The book flowed nicely from year to year and story to story. Throughout, one never knows what the witch is going to do, creating excitement. The characters are believable by the illustrations and especially the use of descriptive words. Of course, the theme is Halloween, but other angles of the stories highlight kindness, all the way from sharing pudding, drinking tea and reading a book together, helping a lost child, and keeping family traditions. Grandma’s Halloween Stories is really an entertaining picture book.