For many of us, October heralds a change in temperature and the arrival of Halloween. Below are two selections that celebrate this distinctive season.

Anne Sibley O’Brien invokes magical incantations to toast autumn in Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall! Shazam! A gust of wind encourages youngsters to pull a leaf-filled flap to find a forest carpet of foliage, while other rites of the season–picking apples, donning heavier clothes, scanning the skies for migrating flocks–are enchanting when infused with the youthful sense of wonderment that permeates the book. Susan Gal’s mixed-media illustrations of chubby-cheeked chipmunks and cherubic children reveling in the natural world are bathed in tones of gold, orange, and russet. Warm and inviting, this charming tale will put a spell on you. (Abrams Appleseed; $12.95, 24 pages, ages 2-5)


Meanwhile, for those of you who eagerly await the arrival of Halloween might enjoy Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil by Jen Darcy (Hyperion; $40.00, 192 pages, all ages). This update on the 1993 publication by Frank Thomas celebrates Disney’s darkest characters, from Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmations to Tangled’s Mother Gothel to the duplicitous Hans of Frozen. Sheathed in a dust-jacket highlighting a blood-red illustration of the Evil Queen, this coffee-table book includes concept art, photographs,and movie stills, while the text explains the origins of evildoers and their influence on popular culture. Organized thematically, those moviegoers who find themselves rooting for the bad guys will happily revel in all this book has to offer. 


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