A sweet book from a simpler time

When they were in elementary school, this was a favorite book for both my girls, especially around this time of year. It has some lovely black and white, soft-edged illustrations by Deborah Kogan Ray, and it was originally published in 1985, purporting to be based upon a slightly spooky but also sweet and ultimately positive experience had by the author, Emily Herman, when she was little.

My younger daughter so enjoyed the details and descriptions in the story, that from the very first time I read it to her, she begged for us to have “spaghetti and meatballs” for supper that Halloween, since that’s what the narrator and her family have in the story on that night.

We’ve been having spaghetti and meatballs for Halloween supper ever since. 🙂

Here’s the book’s description:

“Every Halloween, Hubknuckles pays a visit to Lee and her younger sisters and baby brother. The children watch the ghostly figure from the safety of their warm kitchen, experiencing delicious little tickles of fear.
But this year, Lee has decided that Hubknuckles isn’t real. “Hubknuckles is just a sheet and a flashlight,” she tells her sisters. “Either Ma or Pa makes him dance.” And she is determined to prove it.
What Lee discovers after an eerie dance on the lawn with her silent, shadowy partner is sure to delight young readers, who will be enchanted by the softly glowing illustrations of this unusual Halloween happening.”

I recommend it highly if you have or know of young children who enjoy reading or being read to, say from kindergarten age to age 9 or so. It remains one of my older daughter’s favorite stories. And my younger daughter, who is a decade older than she was on that long-ago Halloween when we first read Hubknuckles together, is now an avid reader in own right, in large part due to the way books like it triggered her imagination. This story is available for kindle or in hardcover (though the link I’ve provided in the title here leads to the hardcover version at

One of the things I miss, now that my girls are no longer so little, is the loss of those opportunities to read to them like I used to. Seeing this book brings back many happy memories of times together, snuggled up and enjoying a good tale. But I’ve ordered copies for both of them, so they maybe they will be able to recreate that magic when they read it to their children one day.

2 thoughts on “Hubknuckles

  1. I know what you are having for dinner tomorrow night! I totally agree with you about missing those sweet warm cuddle reading times. We read to our boys every night. I will never give away some of the favorites. Precious times.


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