The Halloween House

Riley Cain enlists some literary magic to provide a countdown of poems for Halloween, in a book which is brightly written and vividly illustrated. Poems range from the lighthearted (a house inhabited by mummies and Banshees), to the wonderfully absurd (sweet-loving Vikings) to the genuinely haunting (The Phantom Highwayman).

Riley’s poems are delivered in simple meter with imagery which is stirring, and at times chilling, providing young readers with just the right balance of spookiness and safety which will make this a volume they will look forward to reading, even if from behind a cushion! Local Irish detail makes these stories feel all the closer to home, with townlands and regions finding a place.

A large team of illustrators provides boldly stunning backgrounds and surrounds for Cain’s writing. The predictable deep oranges and blacks are present, but so are other autumnal colours which give the text a real sense of richness and depth. The cartoon Frankenstein’s monsters, werewolves, witches, diabolical bus drivers, are simply rendered, but carry a sense of fun and foreboding in equal measure.

Parents will want to be aware that among the caricatures there are references to the occult that some may find disturbing. For those who revel in Halloween celebrations already, however, The Halloween House will prove to a welcome lyrical companion. 

About the Illustrator
Philip Cullen Headshot
Phillip is an illustrator from Dublin, mainly working on children’s books. He Studied Classical Animation at BCFE and has worked for over 10 years in the Youth and Community sector using creative arts to teach children and young people in an informal education setting.
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About the Illustrator
Una Woods Headshot
Úna Woods is an illustrator and author who lives in Dublin. She loves making illustrations for children, and her work has been published in books, magazines and websites. She loves working with bright colours and patterns in her illustrations. She grew up in Clontarf, very close to where Bram Stoker was born.
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Book Cover - The Halloween House
Publication Date
September 2020