Prepare to be Scared (only a little)

Somehow Halloween has snuck up on us again but fear not – despite the trick or treat, the scary monsters and the dark night, keep safe and warm inside with a book or two. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Well there is absolutely nothing wrong with it of course, BUT … how safe will you be?

Perhaps making a noise yourself will cancel out all those things that go bump in the night on this scary evening, but how? Well Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Room on the Broom witch and her cat may just be able to help you. Whoosh! Went the Witch is interactive and noisy. The board book has characters to spot on every page and a sound button to be used throughout the story for a good cackle and the occasional whoosh.

Spooky Night! (The Not So Little Princess) by Wendy Finney and illustrated by Tony Ross (Andersen Press) is the fourth book in this delightful series which finds our little princess growing up but still being scared of things that go bump in the night – who isn’t at any age? Are you brave enough to go on a hunt with the princess and her best friend Ollie around the castle? Good, for a great adventure awaits. An ideal book for developing readers with its full colour illustration, short chapters and more complex language.

Then there is Pretty by Canizales, (Templar Publishing) the not-so-wicked looking witch on the front cover may have a big nose with a wart but this story is all about accepting yourself, warts and all, for who you are. The witchy theme just makes it perfect for this spooky and magical time of year. A charming story with a very important message, cleverly told.

Halloween this year falls on a school day so why not learn more about a school no human ever sees, a night-time school for ghosts ghouls and perhaps the occasional monster. Learn about their jingling and jangling, slipping and sliding and perhaps even their frilly knickers too in First Day at Skeleton School, a hilarious and warm-hearted tale by Sam Lloyd (Bloomsbury).

School is over for the day, now what to do? Often a question posed by little ones. Scary Hairy Party by Claire Freedman and Sue Hendra (Bloomsbury) may just have the answer for you but are you brave enough to open its vibrant front cover and learn more?? Packed full of fun and adventure and quite a few ideas for party games as well as being a great story, you will love the rhyming text, the vibrancy and the energy of this book.

Last but not least remember that this is a scary time of year, there are unusual creatures about, some may be lurking in your house BUT maybe, just maybe, there are some that are friendly too. Helen Bate’s The Creature (Otter-Barry Books) introduces us to one such creature and I don’t know if you will but I fell in love with him and now I’m not afraid any more …

Not scared yet but still in the mood to find another story that might just make you look over your shoulder? For slightly older readers Maudlin Towers: Curse of the Werewolf Boy by Chris Priestley (Bloomsbury Children’s Books) may just fit the bill. Mystery with a bite is what is promised from this book and is certainly delivered but don’t worry, you’ll be laughing too. The School Spoon has been stolen which makes life much more exciting for Mildew and Sponge who had thought school was boring. Its exciting but there is also now a challenge, find the Spoon or Christmas is cancelled. With ghosts in the attic – or is it something more sinister, time machines and werewolves this books is a must-read. Chris Priestley is a master of the weird and wonderful and this book a showcase of that and more.

Again for our junior audiences another book of ghosts, ghouls and the most crazy battles. Spectre Collectors: Too Ghoul for School by Barry Hutchinson (Nosy Crow) is inspired by the authors own childhood adventures and ghost-hunting organization. Meet Denzel who wants to get his maths homework done, after all good children do that don’t they, but finds the ghouls just keep interrupting. Can he run Spectre Collectors and be a good pupil at the same time? Well there is lots to learn, it may not always be the most orthodox education but it may save a few problems … hopefully. Find out if Denzel can learn fast enough to outwit the supernatural.

Watch out for beasts is the message from Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton’s Invincibles. The Invincibles: The Beast of Bramble Wood (Nosy Crow) is almost true to life so be prepared when you read on, camping in your back garden may never be the same again … With a tent, campfire, marshmallows camping in the garden is such fin for Lucas and his friends. Little sister Nell is jealous but has to go to bed at 8.30pm!! It’s just not fair so a plan is hatched. Pretending to be a beast is such fun until big brother chases little sister Nell and her friend Freddie into the woods where they hear … the beast?

Halloween is not just about ghosts and ghouls but witches and perhaps the occasional wizard too. Scaredy Cat, Scardey Cat by Phil Earle is A Storey Street Novel (Orion Children’s Books) and the fourth and final in the series. Sad to see a series end of course but the adventure it delivers is a brilliant read! Kay is still timid and anxious but when she meets Wilf with his cloak, pointy hat and suspiciously wand-like walking stick it may be just what she needs.

On the subject of wizards Stories of Witches and Wizards by Enid Blyton (Enid Blyton Entertainment: Hachette Children’s Group) is a fabulous collection of short stories from this well-known and much-loved author. Featuring 25 stories this book is not only perfect for dipping in and out of this Halloween but at any time the imagination of your young readers needs a touch of magic and sparkle. Plus there are not only witches and wizards but all manner of fantastical creatures from pixies to goblins and brownies. Brilliant bedtime reads and ideal for parents and children to share these are lovely family stories to keep the dark nights jolly and fun.

YA readers I have not forgotten you in this selection. Prepare to be truly scared if you dare to pick up Scarecrow by Danny Weston (Andersen Press). Jack is on the run with his dad, from some powerful people. Scotland seems to be a good place to lie low, a remote lodge in the highlands should be safe, shouldn’t it? Very quickly this gripping adventure turns into a supernatural thriller when an apparently ordinary scarecrow becomes frighteningly real, alive, hungry and angry. As the powerful enemies draw closer the scarecrow could be a link to and offer hope of survival.

For those of you who prefer the more practical side of things there is the perfect book and one to share with friends and family too. Fold-up Halloween Fortune Tellers has over 25 different projects for you to make. With all the detail you need provided, wonderfully printed pages and lots of tasks as well as questions these will provide hours of fun and would be great at a party too. Created by Bloomsbury Children's books.

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