I love the fall holidays—Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think that holiday-fun should always include reading-a-loud-fun that turns into exciting and memorable traditions. So today I’m going to talk about one of our family’s very favorite Halloween books: The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg (think Jumanji, The Polar Express, etc.) He is a master storyteller and his illustrations are mesmerizing.
This is not your typical Halloween book with colorful black, orange, purple and green pictures of pumpkins and fanciful witches, goblins and such—no sir!—this book is created with sepia tone illustrations that makes you feel that there really are such things as witches, flying brooms and magic on Halloween. My kids absolutely loved this book and I consider it a “must” read-a-loud book—one to be enjoyed for many Halloweens to come and one that can be passed down to grandchildren—although I’m not ready to give up my copy quite yet…
Here is what one reviewer said about this enchanting, yet haunting tale: The Widow’s Broom:
“Witches’ brooms don’t last forever. They grow old, and even the best of them, one day, lose the power of flight…. On very rare occasions, however, a broom can lose its power without warning, and fall, with its passenger, to the earth below … which is just what happened one cold autumn night many years ago.” So begins The Widow’s Broom, the gentle, strangely captivating book by Chris Van Allsburg.
The story gets under way when the lonely widow Minna Shaw finds a wounded, sky-fallen witch in her vegetable garden. The witch disappears before dawn, but leaves her old, presumably defunct broom behind. Minna begins to use it around the house and finds that “it was no better or worse than brooms she’d used before.” However, one morning, Minna sees the broom sweeping by itself! Opportunistically, she trains it to chop wood and fetch water.
When the neighbors find out about this “wicked, wicked thing” (posing as an innocent, hardworking broom), they accost the widow and demand that the broom be burned. Are they successful in separating the lonely widow and her diligently sweeping friend? This is a wonderfully suspenseful book to read aloud and young listeners will earnestly hope for the broom’s survival.”
One last thing—don’t forget the spooky music to play while you are reading your stash of Halloween books to your kids (plus pop some popcorn for even more fun). Here are some favorite Halloween music CDs:
Halloween Music Collection CD by Midnight Syndicate
The 13th Hour by Midnight Syndicate