Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Halloween Moon

Fink, Joseph. The Halloween Moon
July 20th 2021 by Quill Tree Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Esther Gold loves Halloween so much that even her bat mitzvah was Halloween themed, and now that she is thirteen, her parents have informed her that she is too old to go out trick-or-treating. She is crushed; she isn't wild about the candy but loves the costumes and the traditions of the holiday. To circumvent her parents unreasonable dictum, she tells them that she and her friend Agustín are going to a movie, and they tell her not to wake them up when she comes in! There are all manner of strange things going on in the town, and when the adults all seem to be falling asleep, including their parents, Esther and Agustín, along with classmate Sasha, seek the help of Mr. Gabler, who seems to be unaffected. He always gives out toothpaste because of his occupation, but proves again and again that he "wasn't always a dentist" by using un-dentistlike skills! There's also the creepy Dan Appel, the strange robbery at an illegal art collection, and a terrifying plunge into the "Halloween dream". Will Esther and Agustín  be able to wake up everyone in their town?
Strengths: There are not as many Halloween books for middle grade as there could be, especially since 8th grade is usually the last time kids get to go out trick or treating. Banning a tween from going out is quite the punishment, and readers will sympathize with Esther plight. Agustín is a good friend, and Sasha starts off as someone with whom Esther doesn't get along, but the two eventually warm to each other and mend misunderstandings. Mr. Gabler was definitely my favorite character, and it was interesting why he didn't fall asleep. The Halloween queen is not someone I would want to meet late at night under a full moon!
Weaknesses: It took me a while to figure out why the writing style wasn't working for me, but I think it was the detached tone and the fact that there was more description and conversation than action. It also was a bit annoying that the main character was usually referred to as her entire name. 
What I really think: This wasn't quite as scary as my students seem to want, and the writing style was a bit odd, so I think I will pass on purchase. 

Ms. Yingling

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