By Stefania Rudd. Do you have little ones in your life who are drawn to the world of comics through movies, cartoons, and video games, but you’re not sure what to start them with, or even know what’s appropriate?
We got you! Books for Babes aims to provide info on what books kids will enjoy, but are also entertaining for adults. This week, we delve into the newest offering from Humanoids Kids, the seasonally appropriate anthology, ‘Halloween Tales’.
It’s September, which some might feel is a tad too early for the Halloween spirit. And to that I say, hogwash!
It’s never too early to gear up for the bumps in the night that the magical month of October brings. If pumpkin spice starts can start rearing its monolithic head around August then we can all welcome a jack-o’-lantern into our hearts a few weeks early. With that said, Humanoids Inc. — through their new all-ages imprint, Humanoids Kids — is ready to release a trilogy of tales, bound in a single volume, that touch upon the many emotions Halloween can bring. And it is entirely worth your time.
Olivier Boiscommun writes the first two stories, both of which have an element of poetry in their dialogue. In “Halloween”, a girl separates from her friends and wanders the streets until she encounters a mysterious figure who speaks to her in rhyme. We learn that the girl grieves the loss of her brother, and no matter what the mysterious figure says or does to cheer her up she remains melancholy. Only when she opens her heart does she realize that her loved one is closer to her more than ever. In “The Story of Joe”, those themes — loneliness, loss, and ultimately comfort — inform the tale of a boy and his transformation into a creature of the night.
Denis-Pierre Filippi takes over for “The Book of Jack”, and although it is similar in nature to the other two stories, there is a different feel to it. Here, the main character, Jack, is pressured by a neighborhood gang of hooligans to go into a scary old mansion and bring something back as proof of his bravery. When he returns with an old book, he’s mocked until Sam (his only true friend) defends him by reading what’s in it. There are twists and turns and there comes a moment when all could be lost, but good wins out in the end.
All three stories are illustrated by Boiscommun, and each have their own distinct style. His characters, his scenery, and even his night-creatures are rooted in realism, and while some of the specters and ghouls have a gritty and sometimes over-exaggerated look to them, they feel real because the architecture and the people that surround them are depicted consistently.
Speaking of consistency, there even seems to be some overlap to the stories. Some of the bullies continue their torment of different main characters throughout the anthology, even though each story retains their own color palette and mood. From soft autumnal colors, to variations of blacks and grays or bold assertive hues, each story kindles an emotion — not only from the characters, but from us as the readers.
Each story in Halloween Tales takes on a traditional Halloween trope, but it presents them in a way that feels different than what we’re used to. These may not be the kind of stories you tell your friends with a flashlight under your chin, but they are certainly the kind you can enjoy with your loved ones, curled up under a blanket with a mug of hot cider. Perfect for September, when the air begins to grow cooler and the shadows are cast just a bit longer.
Humanoids Inc./$24.95 – £20.99
Written by Olivier Boiscommun and Denis-Pierre Filippi.
Art by Olivier Boiscommun.
Translated by Montana Kane, Marelle Piche, and Justin Kelly.
This book contains the loss of a loved one, mythical Halloween-related creatures, and bullying.
Age range: 12-15, 16+
‘Halloween Tales’ is available in stores — or through Humanoids.com — September 13.
That’s it for this week! Has Books For Babes helped you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.