Halloween’s coming and what better time to read mysterious fiction than after the sun goes down? All of these books, except the last book, are good for ages nine and older. The last book is an early chapter reader book good for ages seven to nine.
Scare Scape, by Sam Fisher, is a riveting read from start to finish. Morton just moved with his family to an old mansion that seems to be filled with unusual elements such as secret passageways. While he is mowing the lawn, he comes across a stone gargoyle in the ground that magically grants both him and his sister a wish. The story takes on a “Monkey’s Paw” type story-line where both siblings receive much more than desired. There is also action in this story, as well as a mystery involving the previous owner of the house. And you’ll get to see what some of the monsters look like in which Morton and his sister have to deal with. These strange looking beings, by Sam Bosna, are found in the middle of the book with a full-page spread describing each one.
Zombie Baseball Beatdown, by Paolo Bacigalupi, is much more than just a zombie story. Three middle school buddies smell something strange coming from the local meatpacking company and soon discover that the cows are living in filthy conditions and don’t appear to be normal. When their baseball coach becomes strange as well, they are very suspicious. This very clever book involves several levels of interest. The story weaves values of courage, loyalty and friendship throughout, as well as humor. But, this great mystery will certainly draw even the reluctant reader in because of the zombie component.
Rules for Ghosting, by A. J. Paquette, is a fast-paced ghost story that has short chapters and is not overly long with only 257 pages. A twelve-year-old ghost, Dahlia, has been stuck in an old manor for years and has no memory of who she is or how she died. Oliver and his family have just moved into the large house to prepare it for auction. He is determined to not move again and wants to make this house his permanent residence. Meanwhile, a special ghost arrives to help Dahlia move on. But this special ghost is kidnapped by a ghost hunter. Now Dahlia must break the most important law: never contact the living. She contacts Oliver to get help. You’d better make time before opening this book because once started, you won’t stop!
The Music of Zombies, by Vivian French, and illustrated with drawings sprinkled throughout by Ross Collins, is actually the fifth Tale in the “Five Kingdoms” series. However, you do not need to read the other four books in order to thoroughly enjoy this well written book. But be forewarned, you WILL want to pick up the rest of her “Kingdom” books as they are terrific also. Prince Albion expects a great celebration of his kingdom and himself. But he tends to find trouble every step of the way. And this is where a zombie makes life difficult – when he wants to play his fiddle in the talent contest. The story has mystery throughout, but expect to find a lot of humor as well. This book would be a perfect read-out-loud to the entire family!
Gustav Gloom and the Nightmare Vault, by Adam-Troy Castro, and illustrated with pictures sprinkled throughout by Kirsten Margiotta, is a sequel to “Gustav Gloom and the People Taker”. Gustav can’t ever leave his house and yard. He has made friends with Fernie who lives nearby. They are both facing a new danger: an enemy named October. He is attempting to get inside Gustav’s home in order to locate the locked up vault that contains nightmares. Even though the outcome is predictable, it doesn’t slow the pace of anticipation as pages will likely be turned to reach to end.
Scary School: The Northern Frights, by Derek The Ghost, and wonderfully drawn illustrations sprinkled throughout by Scott M. Fischer, is a delightfully funny story with just the right amount of scary elements to obtain a nice balance of good vs. evil. This third book (which you don’t need to read the other two to enjoy this one, but you still will want to read them as well!) finds Charles and his friend, Lattie, at Scream Academy, as exchange students. They find themselves surrounded by other students, which includes trolls, ogres and witches. Even their principal and teacher are quite unique: an abominable snowman and the Headless Horseman, respectively. But the big climax of this fast-paced story is when they have to confront a huge ice dragon in order to save their beloved school.
Ghost Buddy: Always Dance with a Hairy Buffalo, by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, is another delightful tongue-in-cheek story featuring a most helpful ghost: Hoover. He usually gives his expert advice to Billy as he’s always attempting to help him. But problems ensue when one night at a museum, Hoover meets his match with a ghost of an Indian princess and this is when the roles are reversed and now Billy gets to advise Hoover.
Goblins, by Phillip Reeve, is an exciting tale that features Skarper who is a goblin but wants to learn how to read and write. There’s also Henwyn, a cheesewright, who wants to be a hero and Princess Eluned who has been taken captive by a giant but doesn’t want to be rescued. These well-written characters make for an adventure with twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat! There are great lessons learned as well: power can corrupt and don’t judge others. The only thing you need to do with this book is make sure you have time because once you begin, you won’t stop!
The Lonely Lake Monster (The Imaginary Veterinary series), by Suzanne Selfors, and filled with imagination drawn by Dan Santat, finds Pearl and Ben helping Dr. Woo at his hospital for imaginary creatures. But Pearl finds something mysterious out in the middle of the lake and poor Ben is suddenly captured by this mysterious something and taken captive. Now what will Pearl do? This is an excellent series with just enough outstanding pictures to keep the new chapter reader going!