Herbert’s First Halloween by Cynthia Rylang & Steven Henry

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

Book Information

Title: Herbert’s First Halloween
Author: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator: Steven Henry
Published by Chronicle Books San Francisco
Text Copyright 2017 by Cynthia Rylant
Illustration Copyright 2017 by Steven Henry 
No. of pages: 29

About the Author & Illustrator

from the back flap jacket: Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than 100 books for young people, including the beloved Henry and Mudge and Mr. Putter & Tabby series. Her novel Missing May received the Newberry Medal. She lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Visit her at http://CynthiaRylant.com.

Steven Henry (formerly Steven D’Amico) has illustrated several children’s books, including the award-winning Ella the Elephant series and It’s Raining Bats & Frogs. He lives in West Seattle, Washington, with his wife, daughter, and a cat named Wini. For more information, visit http://StevenHenry.net. 


Herbert’s First Halloween tells the story of how Herbert, a pig, and his father prepared for Halloween. Herbert’s father shows Halloween photos from his own childhood to encourage Herbert and prepare him for his first.

After asking if he can be a cowboy like his dad, he decides to dress up as a tiger, instead. His father took his measurements then prepared his costume. Father pig sewed Herbert’s tiger costume. Herbert practiced his roar. When the last day of October arrived, he and his father went around the neighborhood and gathered candy while meeting a lot of other kids in costume.

Values or Lessons

The father-son relationship in this story is touching. The dad helps prepare Herbert’s costume and is hands-on with Herbert’s preparation for Halloween. As a book about Halloween, it’s also a good way to talk about the tradition, and what it means in the community.

Herbert’s father measured his head, body and tail for the costume. This is a great way to talk about the growth of the child and how, in just a year, he or she will outgrow this year’s costume. It’s also a great reminder about the importance of preparing for a community event.


The drawings are cute and nice. Facial expressions are captured well and the colors are akin to Halloween colors–orange and dark hues. The font for reading is sans serif, but they are big and easy to read. They do not distract to the artwork at all.

Fun Factor

Our son loved this book. We talked about scary costumes during Halloween and he also got to practice his own roar, if he were to be a tiger like Herbert.

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