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Los Gatos Black on Halloween

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Cover art of the children's Halloween picture book Los Gatos Black on Halloween
Henry Holt and Company

The Bottom Line

Los Gatos Black on Halloween is both a good read-aloud and a good read-alone Halloween picture book. It will appeal to 8-12 year olds who love Halloween picture books and poems about ghouls, ghosts, werewolves and other creepy things, as well as younger kids who love all things scary. Los Gatos Black on Halloween is scarier than most Halloween picture books, which is why I don't recommend it for all ages or all 8-12 year olds.
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  • Wonderfully spooky Halloween illustrations
  • Increasingly scary Halloween poem with a suprising, and funny, ending


  • Not a good Halloween book for young children or kids who get scared easily
  • Not for those who don't like books about ghouls, ghosts, and similar creatures


  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
  • Copyright: 2006
  • ISBN: 9780805074291
  • Format: Picture Book
  • Author: Marisa Montes, who also wrote Juan Bobo Goes to Work, A Pura Belpre Honor Book
  • Ilustrator: Yuyi Morales, the author and illustrator of Just a Minute, which won the Pura Belpre Award

Guide Review - Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Los Gatos Black on Halloween will send shivers of delight down the spines of children who thrive on creepy stories and illustrations. The influence of her childhood in Mexico is reflected in the paintings by illustrator Yuyi Morales. Elements of the Day of the Dead celebration can also be found in the text by author Martha Montes, who was born in Puerto Rico.

The Story

In addition to the black cats (los gatos), all of the creatures of the night come out on Halloween, including witches, skeletons, ghosts, phantoms, ghouls, and more. Tension mounts as midnight strikes, and werewolves and corpses appear. The creatures all go to a haunted hall for a monstrous ball, only to be frightened at the end by the children who come to the door yelling, "trick or treat! After all the scary images, this surprise ending is a laugh-out-loud mood brightener.

Montes incorporates about two dozen Spanish words in the poem, being careful to make their meanings obvious through context clues or repeating the word in English in the next line. There is also a glossary at the end of the book. Los Gatos on Halloween is a scary, but fun, addition to the many children's picture books for Halloween.

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