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Shy Mama’s Halloween

Book Review

By Anne Broyles

Halloween deserves it’s reputation as the holiday that welcomes everyone as shown in this beautifully illustrated and touching book set in the 1930s.

For Anya, Dasha, Irina, and Diminitrii, newly arrived to this country, Halloween seems a wonderfully strange and exciting holiday. They enlist an upstairs neighbor to help with their costumes, and Papa agrees to take them out trick-or-treating. But when Papa comes home sick that evening, it looks as though the children will be watching the trick-or-treating from the upstairs window. Mama, who is frightened by so much in this new country&emdash;especially the thought of ghosts and goblins on the streets&emdash;surprises them all when she rises to the occasion and takes her young princess, witch, devil, and clown down the stairs and out into the night.

As they go from house to house, they find that everyone along the street is friendly. No one seems to care that their “Thank yous” are said with an accent, or that Mama, in her babushka, can speak only a few words of English.

More than just a story about Halloween, this book tells of an immigrant family’s first experience with Halloween and Mama’s first sense of belonging in this new country. It uses the anticipation and excitement of Halloween to tell the larger story of an immigrant family trying to find its place in a new country.

The depiction of the excitement of going on one’s first trick-or-treat adventure will rekindle the readers own memories and makes it worth purchasing this heart warming book. RS

llustrated by Leane Morin
© Tilbury House Publishing, 2001, Gardiner, ME


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