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At the Old Haunted House

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At the old haunted house
In a room with no sun
Lived a warty green witch
And her wee witchy one.

There are all kinds of creatures in the house: a big Ma monster and her wee monsters two, a scrawny black cat and her wee kittens three, a green Pa goblin and his wee goblins four, and more! Count along as the creatures prepare for the Halloween Fright. The text, written in the pattern of the popular poem “Over in the Meadow,” makes reading aloud fun, while the cinematic illustrations set the scene for an unforgettable romp through the old haunted house. Trick or treat!

32 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Helen Ketteman

32 books74 followers
author and mother of two grown sons. Texas, where she lived for 9 years, is one of her favorite places and several of her books are set there. She, her husband, and their two cats currently live in Sanibel Island, Florida--where plenty of armadillos live, too.

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5 stars
642 (50%)
4 stars
371 (29%)
3 stars
195 (15%)
2 stars
39 (3%)
1 star
22 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 165 reviews
Profile Image for Calista.
3,792 reviews31.2k followers
October 25, 2018
This is a counting book, very zany and crazy. I mean there are some great characters in here. I loved the artwork of this book. It was fun and it got a smile out of me. I also ended up reading this to both kids and they loved it too. The niece gave it 4 stars and it wasn’t too scary for her while the nephew gave it 5 stars and he loved all the crazy faces the creepy kids were making. He was said there was no Frankenstein character since he is on a Frankenberry kick.

There are lots of the colors and it’s a very safe story. There is lots of action and plenty to make the imagination whirl. At the end there is a big party that is happening. It looks like a fun time. I think we all wanted to go. We threw a little Halloween party for some friends and it brought up conversation about that party and what fun we had. It was great.

I love this story and I hope to make this a yearly event in Halloween books. (side note, the title reminds me of an old church hymn we sang all the time. I can’t help the association. ‘at the old rugged cross’. At the old haunted house. You see how that can get stuck in your head - right.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,241 reviews3,562 followers
October 26, 2019
I must admit, I don't think I'm that familiar with the poem "Over in the Meadow", which this is apparently based on. Still, At the Old Haunted House is a very cute Halloween book that can function as a story or as a counting book.

The rhyming text takes the reader through numbers from one to ten as various spooky creatures and their offspring get ready for... something. It isn't until the last pages that we understand what all the preparations are for. Along the way, we meet dancing werewolves, scratching black cats, and plenty of spiders.

The book is just creepy enough to be great for Halloween, but not so spooky that it's going to scare anyone. In fact, all of the creatures are pretty cute. I thought the rhymes were pretty good (which is always a plus, especially if you want to read the book aloud; this one would lend itself well to that) and the fun illustrations are full of life... even if some of the characters technically aren't!

If you're looking for strong Halloween picture books for young readers, you might want to give this one a try.

Quotable moment:

Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,140 reviews
October 11, 2017
Cute, Halloween-y take on the classic children's song "Over in the Meadow"
Here we have various spooky creatures and their spooky children doing various spooky things in an old haunted house. The new verses work well (on the whole, a few phrases stumble a bit to fit the melody) and would probably be fun for any preschoolers around Halloween time and could be independent of the illustrations if need be. The illustrations are kind of fun-cute-scary, and include monsters, bats and big spiders, so maybe not appropriate for the most sensitive in the audience.
Profile Image for Set.
1,556 reviews
August 23, 2019
This is a rhyming counting book with very nice illustrations and the end reveals that
"In the old house in a vault made of bricks
lived a papa vampire and his little vamps six."
kj-lkdf
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,013 reviews117 followers
August 20, 2021
"By the old haunted house near the graveyard gate lived a spooky dad ghost and his wee ghosties eight. Haunted! cried the dad. Booooo! cried the eight. And they booed and they floated through the graveyard gate.

The illustrations are what initially sold me on this book and then I read the story. This was so much fun and really enjoyable. All ages will love this book.
Profile Image for Stewart.
195 reviews51 followers
September 14, 2014
I'm not sure it's totally fair for adults to review children's books so I'm going to attempt to see the book as my children see it. There's probably some sort of recipe to making a picture book that will be beloved by my chitlins but whatever that recipe is, 'At the old haunted house' seems to have hit it. This book is a huge hit with my kids. I won it in as a galley review copy from either Goodreads or LibraryThing.

It's a beautifully illustrated hardcover book which clearly had a lot of time and effort put in its production. When I read books to my kids I generally like them to be 1) short, and 2) rhyming. Don't ask me why exactly I like them to rhyme... perhaps it feels more like a game when I read the book to them.

I really think this is a great children's book. I can't rate a 5-stars simply because it doesn't stand up to my long-time favorites, however, if your kids like ghosts and mummies and other spooky halloween stuff, they'll love this book!
Profile Image for Kristi.
564 reviews
October 7, 2021
For this month's children's book, I chose to read a Halloween-related one and it did not disappoint. It was a quick and fun read that involved the numbers 1-10.

Rating: G
Language: clean
Recommend: yes
Profile Image for Sara.
311 reviews13 followers
August 24, 2014
At the Old Haunted House is a fun Halloween Retelling of the classic children's song Over in the Meadow. This version sings very well and the pictures are engaging and fun without being scary. My music students love to sing along.

I recommend this book to readers 3-8.



Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Profile Image for Diane.
261 reviews4 followers
August 21, 2014
Adorable young child's counting book with wonderful art work & a fun rhyme. Thanks first reads giveaway for the opportunity to share with my boys.
Profile Image for Amanda.
39 reviews7 followers
February 24, 2015
Cute counting book that incorporated a Halloween theme.
Profile Image for Dawn.
241 reviews20 followers
September 17, 2014
Beautiful illustrations. Cute story with counting
and rhyming.
Profile Image for Denise.
61 reviews1 follower
October 8, 2014
Love, love, love this book!!
rhyming is best!!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
889 reviews39 followers
October 9, 2016
if you have Amazon Prime and a tablet please get this book to read to your children this Halloween. it's super cute and helps with counting.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.5k reviews358 followers
October 7, 2022
A delightful spooky read, perfect for Hallloweeeeeeen~ Booooo~


I was looking for a fun spoooooky book to read, it is almost Spooktober (writing this one on September 27th) and I thought why not a spooky picture book! I came across this one and just had to read it. I love love love haunted houses and this cover just screamed spooky and fun!

In this fun book we visit a Spoooookyyyy Old House. I thought, given the cover, that we would just go and see the kids on the cover discover the house, but actually, that doesn’t happen. We as the reader are exploring the rooms (and the outside). We see what the house holds for residents and well, I loved it. From bats to vampires to wolves. All your typical monsters + more are there and drawn in a fun way and doing all sorts of delightful and weird things. I loved meeting these monster families and see what they were all doing on this spooky evening. Along the way at times we see three costumed kids walk the path to the house meeting some critters belonging to the house. I really liked that we got to see the kids make their way to the house, and was curious how this encounter would go. Who would open the door? Would they go in? What would they see?

And I really liked what happened when the kids got to the door! I won’t spoil it, but I definitely hadn’t expected that to happen and it made me giggle and smile! I want to go to this house, too!

I hadn’t expected this one to be a counting book, but it was definitely fun. It took me a few pages before I saw it was that but after that I was eagerly looking forward to the next number and what creatures/creepers/critters it would be this time. Wolves? Slimes? Ghosts? Something else! Ohhhhh!

The illustrations were just so much fun! I love how the monsters (and critters) were drawn! The illustrator has a really wacky and fun style and I just love love the colours that were used throughout.

Though I just read the blurb and apparently this is based on a poem? I never heard of it. I guess it is something American? Guess maybe I will check it out soon, if I feel up to it. XD

This is a perfect book for Halloween! It is spooky! And you can learn to count as well (in a fun way)!

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
Profile Image for Mama Bibliosoph.
271 reviews13 followers
October 13, 2018
For children who already know the song “Over in the Meadow,” this is a particularly good Halloween choice. "Over in the Meadow" is a lulling counting poem (and song) with repetitive verses. In At The Old Haunted House, numbered animals and their mothers making animal sounds are replaced by Halloween monsters, starting with a witch and her daughter:

At the old haunted house in a room with no sun
lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one.
‘SPELL!’ cried the witch.
‘POOF!’ cried the one.
And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.

Alongside this poetry, there is also an overall plot to follow: Three children are trick-or-treating on Halloween night, and it is they who approach these Halloween creatures in the old haunted house.

I enjoy singing this book with the same sweet, carefree energy I put into "Over In the Meadow" and then twisting the singing into a "scary voice" when we get to the Halloween sounds the creatures make. My kids find this incredibly silly.
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I review children's books from the perspective of a parent of two kids with autism. This review is part of a list of 13 recommended Halloween picture books for autistic kids, which can be found on my blog: https://www.lineupthebooks.com/hallow...
August 31, 2018
At the Old Haunted House is a charming Halloween-themed counting book with some truly spectacular art. Nate Wragg’s illustrations are gorgeous — I read this book on my Kindle, but I’m considering buying the hardcover just for his paintings. With vibrant colors and dynamic compositions, Wragg keeps the eye moving and keeps little ones’ minds occupied. There are plenty of details to point out and discuss, but there aren’t so many that it gets confusing or overwhelms the children following along.

The words, however, don’t always flow quite as smoothly. The rhythm gets awkward in a few spots, and I think it would take longer to get comfortable reading this book aloud than some others that have more predictable meters. The story creates a wonderful sense of excitement, though, and the wordplay and repetition are a lot of fun. This is a terrific book to add to your collection, so I wouldn’t let the occasional rhythmic awkwardness put you off, but it is something to consider when preparing a storytime.

With such a wide variety of spooky characters — vampires, ghosts, mummies, black cats, and more — there are endless opportunities for fun voices and sound effects. Kids can join in, too: the call and response between the parents and children on each page can make At the Old Haunted House a highly interactive storytime read.

On a side note, I appreciate the fact that there are mothers and fathers mentioned among the haunted house dwellers in the book. It shows men (well, male goblins) teaching children domestic chores like dusting. It may seem trivial, but subtle details that show that housework isn’t gendered matter in teaching kids about gender equality.

At the Old Haunted House is a wonderful book to use year-round and a must-have for Halloween storytimes. It’s a great counting book and a fun way to show kids that spooky things can be silly instead of scary. With an engaging story and mesmerizing artwork, it’s sure to become a Halloween favorite.
Profile Image for Sandy.
2,494 reviews58 followers
August 15, 2017
This is a counting book (1-10) that also rhymes. I got tired of the book about 3/4 of the way through it, the rhyming part got old for me. Each two-page spread features a mother or a father creature with its corresponding number of little ones. The pa goblin with his wee goblins, ma werewolf and her wolfies and papa vampire with his vamps, these are just a few of the Halloween characters you will find on these pages. I loved all the adjectives in the writing, describing the illustrations, these words spark your imagination as you look at the illustrations and I think they will also boost up a child's vocabulary. Words like warty, whirred, hollow, scratch, yowled are just a few of these great words. I can see why children like this novel, its a fun read and the illustrations are amazing. Colorful, cheerful illustrations light up each page and bring the text to life.
Author 5 books4 followers
October 3, 2017
Short Book Summaries for Busy People

Initial Impression: This book is so beautifully illustrated that children are sure to be mesmerized.
Pictures: Absolutely phenomenal. Vibrant. Colorful.
Characters: A cast of Halloween outcasts all live in and on the grounds of the spookiest mansion in the neighborhood.
Plot: Spooky frights and their children all prepare for a Halloween feast.
One Line Summary: Two mortals are in for the time of their lives, come Halloween night.
3 reviews
September 28, 2017
Great book

My 5 year old loves this book no matter what time of the year it is . The illustrations are cute not scary the words and rhythm of the book flows well while reading it. We change are voices for all the characters. I suppose if your child likes Hotel Transylvanian they will !ove this book also.
Profile Image for Carrie Guinn.
26 reviews
November 4, 2016
Good book. The old haunted house was scary but fun.

My granddaughter loved it. She is 3 and loves Halloween. She liked the yummy dinner and the dancing monsters. But most of all, she liked the house.
Profile Image for AMY.
2,352 reviews
July 12, 2017
This is a rhyming and counting story set to the tune of Three Little Fishes. It is not too scary for little ones to read. Cute illustrations. Lots of fun. It would buy for ES. Recommended for Gr. K-3
September 5, 2018
Good kids book.

Great for Halloween time. Cute little story my kids enjoyed it. I have a 5 year old and 7 year old.
November 7, 2016
Nice Story

My son liked the repetition in the story- helped him participate in the story. He is Autistic and had trouble reading. It was a cute story but lacked substance.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
476 reviews3 followers
September 19, 2017
Such a fun Halloween book with great illustrations and spooky fun!
1 review
September 30, 2017
I love a good Halloween Book, for me and my grandchildren, This book is spooky, funny , Love Book!!!!
October 6, 2017
Fun spooky rhymes!

My 6 yr old loved the silly spooky rhymes! Pictures were super detailed as well! Very cute story. Excellent for Halloween!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 165 reviews

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