DVD Review: Scholastic Storybook Treasures — The Halloween Stories Collection Vol 2

Oct 16, 2013 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

What better way to get the kids into the Halloween Spirit than with a good spooky story.

Scholastic Storybook Treasures – ‘The Halloween Stories Collection’ gathers 14 “not-so-scary” stories into a new three DVD package that will entertain your little boys and ghouls. While not all of the stories are directly Halloween related, they attempt to instill a sense of bravery, creativity, rhyming, language, music appreciation and even teach anatomy to its (recommended) aged 3 to 9 audience.

If you’ve read my two earlier Scholastic Storybook Treasures reviews then you’ll already be familiar with the format of these releases. Each disc contains 4 or more animated stories, each of which features an optional ‘Read-Along’ feature which displays highlighting text on the screen, allowing your child to read along with the book as the words are spoken. Then there is my favorite part, the bonus interviews with some of the stories’ original authors and illustrators.

The first disc, The Day of The Dead…And More Halloween Tales runs 37 minutes and contains 4 animated stories: ‘The Day of The Dead’, ‘The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything’, ‘Kitten’s First Full Moon’ and ‘Fletcher and the Falling Leaves’. This was probably the best balanced disc of the bundle, containing four equally entertaining stories with a nice variety of art styles. My girls (ages 4 and 6) particularly enjoyed the music of ‘The Day of The Dead’ and found the descriptive and detailed account of the food and customs observed during this Mexican holiday fascinating. Even I learned a few new things. ‘The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything’ and ‘Kitten’s First Full Moon’ conveyed nice positive messages about bravery.

The second disc, Dem Bones…And More Sing-Along Stories runs about 40 minutes and contains 5 stories: ‘Dem Bones’, ‘Dinosaur Bones’, ‘Hush Little Baby’, ‘The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night’ and ‘The Erie Canal’. The first two stories do a great job of combining educational facts along with catchy music. After a few more viewings I have no doubt that my daughters will have retained some useful facts about the human skeleton and dinosaurs. Other than having music, the inclusion of ‘Hush Little Baby’ (and to some extent ‘The Erie Canal’) is a bit puzzling, as they make no mention of bones like the other stories do. In fact the transfer on ‘Hush Little Baby’ is really poor and shows every year of its 1968 creation year. I recommend just skipping over this story, as my girls interest really started to wane and I thought I was going to lose them during this. Overall, this disc was my younger daughter’s favorite as she loves music and loves to dance. In fact she kept asking if she could get up to dance while we were watching and there was no stopping her during ‘The Erie Canal’. Parents will also find it hard to resist singing along with some of these stories. Unfortunately this disc doesn’t contain any author interviews.

The final disc, Teeny-Tiny And The Witch Woman…And More Spooky Stories was the longest of the three, with a running time of nearly 56 minutes. It is probably the most ‘Halloweeny’ and the spookiest of the collection as well, with 5 tales: ‘Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman’, ‘The Boy with Two Shadows’, ‘Los Gatos on Halloween’, ‘What’s Under My Bed?’ and ‘King of the Cats’. The titular story was probably the weakest of this collection and it starts out with a nearly-disembodied pair of gnarly old hands appearing on the screen as a witch introduces the tale. This could be a little frightening for younger kids and the transfer on this story also really showed its age (1975). Fortunately the other stories on this disc were all entertaining and the interview with author Marisa Montes was also quite enjoyable and informative.

Having watched through all three of these discs, as well as several of the previous Scholastic Storybook Treasures, I find it fascinating just how varied the paths each of these authors took to becoming a children’s book writer and their differing inspiration and style/approaches to writing. They offer great words of wisdom to young authors and it was awesome to see my 6 year-old, who is quite a storyteller herself (especially when she’s in trouble) take a real interest in what these authors had to say, her eyes never leaving the screen. More like casual conversations with the authors, they are something that both parents and children can enjoy and benefit from.

All three of the discs included in this set are also available separately.

What’s Included on the DVD:

Features (143 min)

  • Video: 1.33:1
  • Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: (Read-Along Feature)
  • The Day of The Dead…And More Halloween Tales:
    • “The Day of the Dead”
    • “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything”
    • “Kitten’s First Full Moon”
    • “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves”
  • Dem Bones…And More Sing-Along Stories:
    • “Dem Bones”
    • “Dinosaur Bones”
    • “Hush Little Baby”
    • “The Fox Who Went Out on a Chilly Night”
    • “The Erie Canal”
  • Teeny-Tiny And The Witch Woman…And More Spooky Stories:
    • “Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman”
    • “The Boy with Two Shadows”
    • “Los Gatos Black on Halloween”
    • “What’s Under My Bed?”
    • “King of the Cats”


  • The Day of The Dead…And More Halloween Tales:
    • Interview with Author/Illustrator Bob Barner
    • Interview with Author/Illustrator Kevin Henkes
    • Interview with Author Linda Williams
  • Teeny-Tiny And The Witch Woman…And More Spooky Stories:
    • Interview with Author Marisa Montes


Final Thoughts:

My Rating

Overall, this collection is a bit of a mixed bag. with a few stories that seemed a bit out of place given the theme of the set, but you are bound to find at least some stories that will appeal to your child. Several of the transfers really showed their age, especially when displayed on a modern larger screen TV. The soft music, calming voices of the narrators and brevity of the individual stories make them an ideal before-bed treat. The author interviews are a great bonus and an excellent source of insight and inspiration for any budding authors.