Ghost Finger Puppet Pattern
When my kids were little, I struggled a bit with the whole idea of introducing them to "ghosts" but was quickly reminded that they saw them as just another character in their list of learning, like a cartoon. There are so many cute ghost crafts for toddlers, I didn't want to miss out! My boys also had (have!) a particular fondness for walking around with sleeping bags or blankets over their heads (ouch!).
Lynda Graham-Barber's, SAY BOO! was our family's introduction to the concept of ghosts. It is a darling story about a little ghost having trouble pronouncing BOO! You can use the story literally, to show how one letter changes the word (rhyming moo, boo, whoo, etc.) but also to discuss feelings as little boo gets frustrated by not being able to make the right sound. Barbara Lehman's illustrations are colorful and have just the right detail to capture the concepts.
If you haven't read David LaRochelle's, The Haunted Hamburger and other Ghostly Stories, you must put it on your (kids) Halloween reading list this year. Paul Meisel's illustrations are expressive and detailed, highlighting all the emotion in the stories as well as the concepts. While trying to get his kids to bed, father ghost spins three tall tales to entertain them. These three tales are scary for the ghosts (being turned into a diaper, being tricked by a hamburger, and kissed by a granny), but will leave kids laughing. You'll surely catch kids of many ages reading this creative story again on their own.
Does your family love pie? The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, by Denys Cazet, is a tasty pie ghost story, although a slight step up on the spooky scale than the two stories above. The spooky part is that Mr. Wilkerson actually dies, is buried and turns into a ghost (in the first pages). If your kids can get past that (we looked at each other with wrinkled eyebrows), they'll be hooked on the rest. The granny and boy face the ghost without fear (all he wants is pie). The prose is clever, fun to read aloud and easy to add character voices... Pumpkins, pumpkins,/pumpkin pie!/I must have one/before I die./It must be round/and brown as toast,/or I'll haunt this house/a hungry ghost! The wonderfully detailed illustrations are reminiscent of David Catrow, and really add to the tale. So much to look for on each page!
I searched a little on Amazon to get a few more ideas together:
The adorable illustrations in Kristen Depken's One, Two Boo! caught my attention right away. This lift the flap book would have been on my interest list when my boys were toddlers.
This one got me right from the title, ghosts aren't supposed to be timid! Ten Timid Ghosts, by Jennifer O'Connell, is a count down book that would surely appeal to the preschool/kinder audience interested that may feel timid about ghosts themselves! The plot involves a witch employing a clever scheme to scare away the ghosts, and builds in math concepts (counting, subtraction).
Ghosts in the House, by Kazuno Kohara will leave you in great "spirits" at how resourceful the clever heroine is... Got ghosts? Just put them in the laundry and turn them into something else! Eyecatching drawings and a perfect blend of sweet and spooky for Halloween storytimes.