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Halloween’s Around the Corner: Beware

I’ve been saving some great picture books for this annual occasion, so get ready for fun, funny and entertaining Halloween books good for all ages. Also, the last four books are geared primarily for ages seven to ten.

The Monsters’ Monster, by Patrick McDonnell, is a sweet story that centers around a giant of a monster (who looks very much like Frankenstein) who is kind and sweet and was built by three small monsters looking for the scariest monster of them all. How they react, and ultimately learn from him, will bring a smile to all. The illustrations are a wonderful combination to the story and follow Mr. McDonnell’s signature drawings.

Trick Or Treat, by Leo Landry, is a great book celebrating this bewitching season. Oliver, a ghost, lives in an empty house and lives for Halloween when he can prepare for his big party. After all his spooky invites receive his invitation, one envelop accidentally falls at the feet of two children. Skeletons, witches and black cats are all in attendance; but then two unexpected children show up. Oliver decides to let them join in on the fun and so will you! The illustrations are delightfully painted with watercolor which adds to the party affair.

Hush, Little Monster, by Denis Markell, and painted with each page full of color by Melissa Iwai, is actually based on the well-known song: “Hush Little Baby”. Only this book takes on a cleverly spooky theme but still using many of the familiar beginning phrases. It begins with “Hush, Little Monster, don’t you howl. Daddy’s gonna give you a screeching owl.” This familiarity makes the book great fun and even better to read-out-loud!

Shiver Me Timbers! Pirate Poems and Paintings, by one of my favorite children’s poets: Douglas Florian, and wonderfully illustrated with India ink perfectly displaying pirate life by Robert Neubecker, is a ship-full of 19 skullduggery poems. The rhyming pitch along the way bounces with the language of that lost pirate swagger and lip.  If there was ever a book to be read out loud, it’s this one!

The Scary Places Map Book, by B. G. Hannessy, and intricately illustrated with many minute details by Erwin Madrid, is an amazing book that begs to be poured over and re-read many times. It begins with a Ghostly Galleon Cruise where you’ll tour the Seven Seas and Captain Davy Jones will be your navigator. Exploration has never been more fun, especially as you travel to places like Transylvania and Dracula’s Castle. There’s a map key and items to search for making this an interestingly different way to learn how to read maps!

Alfie is Not Afraid, by Patricia Carlin, is about harnessing your fear of the dark and deciding to not be afraid anymore. But it doesn’t actually work out that way when a youngster takes his brave puppy outside to camp in his backyard. But the puppy is as frightened as the boy and how and where they end up will not be a surprise. The ink paintings created digitally are a nice combination with the story.

My First Ghost, by Maggie Miller and Michael Leviton, and illustrated with a retro art atmosphere by Stephanie Buscema, is a book that comes with a free ghost!  Upon turning the first page you are introduced to your ghost and from there you learn how to take care of this transparent pet. There are tips on feeding, grooming and even playing. This book is great fun that will surely bring a smile to all who read it.

Frankenstein Takes the Cake, by Adam Rex, has to be one of the most ingenious picture books that takes many of the known spooky characters written about over the years and then takes a humorous swipe at them. There’s Frankenstein, who just wants to marry his undead bride, however his best man, Dracula, is more worried about the garlic bread that’s being served. Then there’s Edgar Allan Poe who complains continually about the raven evermore, so someone please just get the door!  The illustrations are abundant and also rich in humor and done in pencil, charcoal, oils and sometimes in Photoshop.

Skeleton Cat, by Kristyn Crowand, and brightly illustrated with digital media by Dan Krall, will get your toe tappin’ as you read about how Skeleton Cat is back for his tenth life and decides to be a jammin’ drummer. And – great rhythm goes right along with the drummin’.

Bedtime for Boo, by Mickie Matheis, and painted with each page in full color by Bonnie Leick, has little Boo having difficulty falling asleep after a night of haunting. But Mama Ghost knows how to soothe her little ghost. She invites him to listen to the comforting sounds of creaks and squeaks in the house. The rhythm of the rhyme will certainly soothe all who read or listen to this story.

Scream Street, by Tommy Donbavand, is a series of books that has black and white drawings sprinkled throughout. The latest books to come out in paperback are titled “Invasion of the Normals” and “Attack of the Trolls”. The first book began when Luke and his family are forced to move to Scream Street which is a community of zombies, vampires and the like. But the adventures that Luke encounters will make even the reluctant reader pick up these books.

Geronimo Stilton: This Hotel is Haunted!, is the newest of the many books in this wonderful series. Here is another fast-paced series that reluctant readers will thoroughly enjoy. Another Stilton book that goes along with this Halloween theme and an excellent read is “Return of the Vampire”.

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