Halloween is quickly approaching and what better way to get in the mood of the holiday than with some books of thrills and chills. The first 2 books are geared for older children and the rest are picture books good for all ages.
The Girl Behind the Glass, by Jane Kelley, is a story that explores family relationships and how siblings can become too immersed in feelings of jealousy and lose sight of sibling love. When the Zimmer family moves to a new town where they rent an old home, they seem to get much more than they bargained for. There seems to be a ghost inhabiting the dwelling and eleven-year-old twins, Anna and Hannah, are becoming embroiled in rifts that begin to pull them apart. This story is full of twists and turns and with the story being told by the ghost, the book is decidedly mysterious clear to the end. This book is good for ages nine and above.
Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist: The Unicorn’s Tale, by R. L. LaFevers, and delightfully interspersed with drawings by Kelly Murphy, is actually book four in a series. However, it’s not necessary to read the others to enjoy this book. Nathaniel is the world’s youngest beastologist-in-training, but all he really wants to do is track down his missing parents. But his progress is slowed when a unicorn falls mysteriously sick and his duty is to help it immediately. There is also a nefarious man on their tracks whom they must avoid. You will love all of these books and they’d be wonderful to read out loud to family members. This book is perfect for ages eight and above, but good for all ages as a read aloud.
Vampirina Ballerina, by Anne Marie Pace, and painted by LeUyen Pham, is a reverse on the normal desires of little girls. This young vampire wants to be a ballerina but she has some challenges to overcome: find a night class, never look in the mirror at her form and not wear pink. This delightful and funny book is perfectly painted with watercolors, pen and ink.
The Spider and the Fly, a classic poem written back in 1829 by Mary Howitt, and reinvented with masterly illustrated hues of blacks and grays throughout by Tony DiTerlizzi, is the tenth anniversary edition of this book that won a past Caldecott Honor award back in 2003. The book opens with a creepy, daunting old house and the opening line begins the well-known poem: “‘Will you walk into my parlor?’ said the Spider to the Fly.” The pages are full of this dark imagery and emits an old-fashioned feel of horror movies back in the 1920’s. It’s easy to see why this won the coveted award.
Monster Mash, by David Catrow, is hilariously fun with the basis of the words from the classic 1962 song by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and Lenny Capizzi. I hear this song played every year around Halloween and every time I hear the original song, it makes me smile. So many puns and fun elements that no wonder Catrow was able to make a rockin’ smash with this “Monster Mash”. And he does more fun graveyard tom-foolery throughout with his lively creations, from Frankenstein to multi-eyed ameba-like monsters to skeletons singing with microphones. If this book doesn’t get your toes tappin’ and fingers snappin’, I don’t know what will!
The Boo! Book, by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, and wonderfully and uniquely illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli, is a highly imaginative story that features a curly-haired child whose book is inhabited by a mischievous ghost. The ghost taunts, turns words and stories upside down and even sucks the child into the book. The story isn’t scary; it’s fun and inventive. Ceccoli used plasticine puppets, digital photography, photoshop and acrylics on paper. What a fun read-aloud!
Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble, by Tracey Corderoy, and illustrated with pen, brush-pen and digitally enhanced by Joe Berger, is a rollicking read of rhyme time. A youngster wants her granny, a witch, to be like all the other grannies with normal pets and normal clothes and hair. But when her transformed granny seems too boring for words, she must figure out a way to change her back. Her remedy might just bewitch you!
The Biggest Pumpkin Surprise Ever!, by Steven Kroll, and illustrated by Jeni Bassett, is based on the New York Times bestseller for the season but this book features lift-the-flaps as you search for pumpkins on every page. The book is made with sturdy paper and pages and the pictures fill every page.
Apples A to Z by Margaret McNamara, and illustrated by Jake Parker, is the perfect picture book to celebrate the close of the harvest season. This alphabet book takes Fox, Bear and friends through the process of apples from seeds to apple pie. There is much to learn in this simple, easy to read book, as youngsters learn about buds, blossoms and nutrition. The “V” page lists many varieties of apples and there’s more information and activities about apples found at the back.