Reading on a Theme: Halloween

Here come the ghosts and goblins, Skulls and sarcophaguses, and our favorite – bats and cats! Amongst the falling leaves and decorative pumpkins, these two creatures enjoy the low light of twilight to make nightly appearances. So today we give you a booklist, and a little background, on how some of these spooky beings became symbols of Halloween.

While some believe bats fluttering around bonfires during ancient rituals warding off evil spirits is the first spooky association with the winged mammals, Braham Stoker is really credited with fortifying the association. His shapeshifting character Dracula flying into the night ready to drink blood just like the vampire bats of South America was enough to spark fear into many readers.

Today we know a bit more about science than the 17th-century explorers and here are a few books that show the softer side of bats.


Red bats can hibernate or migrate to warmer regions during the winter. Should this solitary little bat stay or should she go? That’s the question the little red bat ponders as the leaves fall and the nights get colder! The squirrel tells her to stay. But what about the dangerous creatures that hunt red bats in winter? The sparrow urges her to go. But where? Carole Gerber takes young readers on an educational journey through one bat’s seasonal dilemma in Little Red Bat. The For Creative Minds educational section includes: Match the Bat Adaptation, Bat Fun Facts, How Animals Deal with Seasonal Changes, Red Bats and Seasonal Change, and Bat Life Cycle Sequencing Activity.


Baby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave. While practicing flapping his wings one night, he falls and Pluribus Packrat rescues him. They then explore the deepest, darkest corners of the cave where they meet amazing animals—animals that don’t need eyes to see or colors to hide from enemies. Baby Bat learns how important bats are to the cave habitat and how other cave-living critters rely on bats for food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?


Jojo is prepping for an exciting night; it’s time for the bat count! Bats have always been a welcome presence during the summers in the family barn. But over the years, the numbers have dwindled as many bats in the area caught white-nose syndrome. Jojo and her family count the bats and send the numbers to scientists who study bats, to see if the bat population can recover. On a summer evening, the family quietly makes their way to the lawn to watch the sky and count the visitors to their farm. – Read Bat Count during October as Arbordale’s Free ebook of the month!


Cats have long been human companions, and the Egyptians memorialized their cats as mummies – but we will get to them later. As the Christian religion spread throughout Europe, people began associating the dark cat’s nocturnal hunting with the devil. Starting in the 1500’s witchcraft and the black cat became forever connected in people’s minds.

While cats are aloof, skilled hunters, and happy to prowl at night, homes around the world welcome cuddly kitties without being accused of witchcraft these days. However, statistics show black cats are less likely to be adopted than light-colored counterparts. Learn about the similarities and differences of cats domestic and wild in these books:


Big cats are fierce predators that roam the world from the mountains to the deserts. How are these wild cats that hunt for their food the same as pet cats that might chase a mouse or ball of yarn? How are they different? Children learn the days of the week as they travel to seven different world habitats to meet the big cats, and then back home to compare and contrast the domestic cat’s behavior to that of its relative.


Colo the cougar and her friend Ruff, the bobcat, jump and play together, but Ruff can’t jump as far as Colo. Ruff doesn’t have a long, swishy tail like Colo does, to provide balance on long leaps. Ruff’s tail is much shorter. He is sure that something is wrong with him. Sympathetic, Colo suggests they find a tail that Ruff would like better, so off they go. As the two kittens explore the variety of tails worn by other animals, they make the best discovery of all.


Finally, our newest Halloween read is also the newest symbol of the holiday. Over the years, people have developed a very different relationship with death than perhaps some ancient cultures. The Egyptians believed that the spirit would return to the body, so they were very careful in preserving that body for this event. There are several mentions of mummies in literature, but today’s evil villains wrapped in bandages are largely a Hollywood invention.

Scientists are learning so much about past lives from mummies found in tombs and in nature. Don’t worry, they are not coming back to life; technology is key in discovering the past. Learn more in Rhonda Lucas Donald’s latest title!   


If a mummy could talk, what would it say? Of course, mummies can’t talk. But with modern scientific tools, we can still discover what a mummy has to tell us. Read the stories of mummified Egyptian pharaohs and priestesses, baby elephants, pampered pets, and even a prehistoric bison. Uncover clues to centuries-old murder mysteries and human sacrifices, and even find out what a person or animal had for their last meal! Information from real scientists explains how we know what we know about each mummy. So, what do these mummies have to say? Lots, it turns out!


That’s all for today’s Reading list, but you might find a few other ghostly tales on the Arbordale website!

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