Friday, October 31, 2014
Get into the Spirit: Halloween Tricks and Treats
Wickle Woo Has a Halloween Party - from Nosy Crow, illustrated by Jannie Ho
For kids age 3 months to 3 years, this is a fun first Halloween board book. Wickle Woo has invited all this friends to his Halloween party, but where are they. Young kids can pull to the large, sturdy tabs to find out who has arrived. This offers a nice alternative way to play peek-a-boo and learn animal names at the same time.
Dog and Bear Tricks and Treats by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
For kids age 3-7 years. Dog and Bear are back, this time with three short Halloween that are sure to make kids laugh. In one, bear thinks he has found a costume that looks just like he does, not knowing he is looking in a mirror. In the second story, dog and bear are excited that kids are coming to trick or treat, but why do the keep ending up with more and more candy. And lastly, dog and bear go trick or treating together, but a ghost won't give them treats because they have no costumes on…or do they?
Ol' Clip-Clop, A Ghost Story by Patricia C. McKissack
For kids age 6-9 years. This picture book for older readers is a nice introduction to the kind of scary tales many kids begin to like at this age. Mean John Leep rides his horse over to the house Widow Mayes rents from him, to evict her for not paying the rent. But when she gives him the money, a coin falls out and Leep hides it from her in his boot, takes the rest and tells her to get out by morning. All the way home, he hears the clip-clop of a horse behind him, who stops when he stops and goes when he goes. He makes it home, goes to bed and is never seen or heard from again…Dark, creepy mixed media oil painted illustrated enhance the story's creep factor.
Junie B., First Grader: Boo…and I Mean It! by Barbara Park
For kids age 6-8 years. Junie B. is back for a fun Halloween and is perfect for kids who don't like scary stories, like Ol' Clip-Clop. First grader Junie B. is afraid to go trick or treating this year, after all, she still remembers the 5 scary secrets about Halloween Paulie Allen Puffer told her last year. How can Junie trick or treat if there are real witches and ghosts everywhere, and if candy corn isn't really corn? Is Junie brave enough to overcome her fear, and figure out a costume sure to scar any real witch or goblin away so she can trick or treat like everyone else?
Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti
For brave kids age 7-10 years. Normally, I don't care for fairy tale retellings - the Grimm Brothers did it so well in their Kinder-und Hausmärchen back in the early 1800s. But there are exceptions, and this is one. This wonderful new retelling of Hansel & Gretel is done with spare, straightforward language that is the hallmark of a Gaiman story and is complimented by stark black and while India ink illustrations so that text and illustrations magnify the creep and scar factor many times over. Behold…
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
For kids age 8-12 years. Yes, I am a big Neil Gaiman fan, but lets face it, Coraline belongs an any list of scary stories for Halloween, after all, that's what the day is all about. Coraline has moved into a new flat with her very preoccupied parents. Lonely, she goes exploring and discovers a better, more attentive mirror image of her mother and father behind a locked door that is sometimes bricked up, sometimes open. It's nice visiting, but when they want her to stay forever, it's time to go home. Besides, they had strange big black button eyes. But when she gets back to her real home, Coraline discovers her real parents are now trapped in the mirror world. Can she rescue them? And the three other children she finds trapped in there, too? Even I was creeped out by Coraline, but loved it as well. It is short and makes for a great nighttime read aloud, but only with kids you know can handle it.
Doll Bones by Holly Black
For kids age 10-14 years. I'm not a big fan of creepy doll stories, yet I find myself reading them and I loved this book when I reviewed it. An old china-faced doll named the Queen has always been the center of a game played by three friends - Zach, Poppy and Alice. But now, they are in middle school and are too old to play their game. When Poppy starts to have dreams about a dead girl who won't be able to rest until the Queen is buried in her empty grave, the three friends embark on a ghostly adventure. But, is the Queen really haunted or just the creation of over active imaginations? The scar factor on this isn't too bad, but it is definitely creepy in places.
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough 12+
For kids 12 years and older. This is one of my favorite creepy books, but not everyone's cup of tea. Two sisters are sent to live with their aunt in an isolated English village, held captive by a evil that has gripped the residents for generations. Now old sister Cora must solve the mystery of Long Lankin and the ghost children in the local graveyard in order to save her younger sister Mimi from their fate. The book is based on an old folktale and ballad that repeats throughout the novel heightening the tension. A good haunting story if you are up to it.