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Some Seriously Spooky reading...

Halloween. Celebrate it or not we all know that it happens every year and that it will be evident all around us. If you do celebrate and enjoy the fun and games associated with it then you may well be looking for some reading material to entertain you. If you don’t celebrate or mark it you may still be interested in the ideas around it and it has generated a wonderful outpouring of imagination from children’s authors and illustrators a selection of whose books I am about to share.

I am not someone who particularly enjoys Halloween but I am fascinated by the idea of witches, wizards, of the fantasy world and of the literature that has sprung up around the concept of Halloween. These are books that want to scare us in a very gentle and thrilling way and so I requested (and have also been sent) a few to share here with you …

For the littlest of our readers, those who are intrigued and interested but need to be guided and reassured through some of the scary ideas…

From Little Tiger

Count and Slide Book … Five Spooky Friends Danielle McLean and Rosaline Maroney, introduces five little friends to little ones who can practice their counting skills and enjoy the tactile sliding and lifting parts of the book as they meet witch pumpkin, bat, cat, ghost with simple non-frightening language this is a charming little board book.

Nosy Crow

...says We’re Going on a Pumpkin Hunt … Goldie Hawk and Angie Rozelaar brings us a delightful rhyming adventure in a board book which takes us on a hunt, for a pumpkin and along the way we will find spiders, bats, witches and other spooky surprises, again perfectly pitches to be non-frightening to the youngest readers and in fact lots of silly fun!

HarperCollins Publishers

Bring us an hilarious picture book. The Good, The Bad, and The Spooky by Jory Jon and Pete Oswald is not only a book to enjoy, but also a book that comes with stickers so that readers can decorate their own Jack-O-Lantern. Read the story first though to find out if Bad Seed can find a costume for the big night or if there will be no trick-or-treating for anyone!


…bring us Rita Wants a Witch by Marie Zepf and Mr Ando. Some of you may have met Rita for she has already appeared in a series of books (there are 5 others at current count) and in each Rita is wanting a something. This time she wants a witch for magical mayhem, spell and potion making, to help her fly her broomstick – Hilarious Halloween fun.

Walker Books…

…don’t want us to forget about witches either and their delightful picturebook by Michelle Robinson and Briony May Smith introduces us to Betty who is busy brewing her first ever potion… It is not a question of whether this potion will work (or maybe it is?) but can Betty find the ingredients? Vampire fans, fairy dust, werewolf whiskers … is she big enough and brave enough to gather them all? A stunning celebration of all things magic.

Oxford Children’s Books…

…bring us yet more magic with another marvellous Winnie and Wilbur title. Turn back the clock, here is an instalment in the series that takes us right back to the beginning. Winnie’s Best Friend by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul takes us back to the moment when Winnie and Wilbur first meet, it is not a smooth ride as we are about to learn. Winnie has her big black house but she needs friends, here sisters don’t quite do the trick, will that scruffy black cat be the one…?

O’Brien Press…

…bring us a Halloween tale set in Dublin with a Dublin vampire who loves living in his creepy tree in a moon-shaped park. The problem for this vampire is that sometimes he wonders if there is more out there, more to explore. Ready to venture into some of the spookiest places in Ireland? Join Vampire and friends in Una Woods’ Spooktacular picture book adventure around Ireland A Spooktacular Place to Be.

Little Tiger…

…want to remind us however that no matter how scary some of these books may have been

S Marendaz and Carly Gledhill take spider off on a big bold (and the illustrations truly are) adventure and whilst she sets off in a brave mood it is not long before her scaredy friends call her home, again and again. Can Spider show them that there is really nothing to be scared of – is she right?!

Older readers do not fear (honestly please don’t) for there are books in this selection for you too. A selection kindly sent to us by Little Tiger for some spooky scary reading have allowed us to share with you…

The Skeleton Keys series which continues with The Wild Imaginings of Stanley Strange. If you think that you have a wild imagination just wait until you meet Stanley. He has been created by Guy Bass, illustrated by Pete Williamson and I am sure that they too have the wildest of imaginations for creating such a character and a series! Each book is a stand-alone, but they make great companions to one another and there are now 5 to enjoy. In this one it is time to open some hidden doors into secret worlds. Collect your imaginary friend, be prepared for the most dreadful dinosaurs and the odd rampaging robot and a story so unbelievable that it must be true!

Another book from another series by Guy Bass and Pete Williamson (I did say they have the most amazing imaginations didn’t I) is Stitch Head: the Monster Hunter. In this series there are 6 books. Again, you can choose to read them alone or link them up but just be warned, in this title someone who us very small is about to take a very big gamble. A mad professor’s completely forgotten creation needs you, reader and friend, to help him risk everything and find a way to save all his friends. Are YOU brave enough?

Finally (last but never least) we have a couple of books from Little Tiger’s YA imprint Red Eye to share with you. Now these really are books for those who don’t have a faint heart, who don’t get that queasy feeling too easily and maybe, just maybe they are best read in the daylight? But of course maybe I am just a scaredy cat!

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell is creepy and compelling reading. Find yourself transported to Dunvegan School for Girls. A school that has been closed for many years and is now in face a family home. Students and teachers are no longer there but they may have left something behind them. It is when Sophie arrives to spend the summer with her cousins that strange things begin to happen. Cameron is a brooder, Lilias has an unnerving fear of bones and Piper is well – a goody too shoes sums it up. All well and good but it is the girl with the room of antique dolls is the true curiosity for she is the one who should not be there … well I did warn you!

Cruel Castle by Bryony Pearce is a masterpiece of spooky scary writing, Pearce’s trademark and very much a book for our older readers. Marcus Gold is an evil millionaire (typical). Grady is stuck in a job working for him and wants nothing more than to get our and away. A team-building trip to a remote castle seems to present the ideal opportunity. All too soon it becomes clear that this remote castle is far from ordinary, and the team-building exercise is far from ordinary. As the challenges become ever more life threatening Grady faces a giant task, one that will have you gripped as you read on compelled and compelling all to come right in the end.


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