Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Los Gatos Black on Halloween Book Poster Image
Haunting rhymes create ghoulish treat.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Teaches some Spanish words.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Eerie cartoon depictions of skeletons, graveyards, etc., could be scary for young kids.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids older than 5 who expect Halloween to be spooky and scary will love this book. Younger readers might find some illustrations and characters disturbing, including the walking dead and werewolves. Some of the English/Spanish rhyming text may be confusing. Spanish and English words are used interchangeably in the rhymes, and kids might pick up some vocabulary.

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What's the story?

Black cats, witches, skeletons, and ghouls come out on Halloween night, and at the midnight hour join other creatures of the night for a party in a haunted mansion.

They dance and party until, with a sudden "rap, rap, rap," they are interrupted by the scariest of intruders.

Is it any good?

LOS GATOS BLACK ON HALLOWEEN is a remarkably original Halloween book that is especially enjoyable when read aloud. Each set of pages presents a cleverly written quatrain set playfully against the gray tones and rounded lines of the somewhat surreal illustrations.

The poetry finds perfect balance with the amazing paintings, all playfully humorous yet eerie and strange. Lines mix English and Spanish words, which flow musically against the backdrop of the spine-tingling illustrations to create a simple story in which traditions of an American Halloween intermingle with the Mexican Dia de los Muertos. Marisa Montes adds a clever twist, drawing her story to an interesting conclusion that will surprise and entertain kids and adults.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different Halloween traditions. Why do we dress up? Why do we carve pumpkins, look out for black cats, and worry about skeletons, witches, and ghouls? This also would be a good time to discuss Mexico's Dia de los Muertos and its traditions.

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