Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Creepy Halloween fun! Picture books for kids who love to be scared silly! (ages 4 - 8)

Some kids love the delicious spine-tingling feeling of scary stories, while other kids want fun monster stories at Halloween time. Here are three picture books we've had fun sharing with our young children. Tomorrow I'll share the seriously scary stories our older children enjoy - come back if you dare!
Little Goblins Ten
by Pamela Jane
illustrated by Jane Manning
NY: HarperCollins, 2011
ages 3– 8
available at your local library, your favorite bookstore, or on Amazon
With a spooky twist on the classic nursery rhyme “Over in the Meadow,” Jane has created a perfect read-aloud for Halloween. Starting with “a mommy monster and her little monster one,” Jane keeps the wonderful rhythm and rhyme key to a good nursery rhyme, full of rich vocabulary and alliteration. You’ll have fun counting the 10 little goblins hiding, growling and cavorting in their forest home. Jane Manning’s illustrations are deliciously creepy, and yet fun enough not to be really scary. “‘Trick or treat?’ asked the mommy; / Treat!’ cried the one. / So they skipped off together / For some Halloween fun!”
When A Monster Is Born
by Sean Taylor
illustrated Nick Sharratt
NY: Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan, 2007
ages 4–8
available at your local library, your favorite bookstore, or on Amazon 
When a monster is born, this book tells young readers, “there are two possibilities—either it’s a FARAWAY-IN-THE-FORESTS monster, or it’s an UNDER-YOUR-BED monster” And so starts this very funny monster tale, with each page posing new alternatives. “If it’s a FARAWAY-IN-THE-FORESTS monster, that’s that. But if it’s an UNDER-YOUR-BED monster, there are two possibilities.” Young kids will soon figure out the pattern, as the book follows what happens if the monster is under your bed, comes to school, eats the principal and wanders through the town. The artwork is full of bright neon colors featuring furry, round monsters on black backgrounds, giving it a modern look that emphasizes the humor of the story. Taylor’s predictable pattern will engage kids as they chant with you, “That’s that.” Here is a fun preview to give you a sense of this creative story:

In The Haunted House
by Eve Bunting
illustrated by Susan Meddaugh
NY: Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ©1990
ages 4–8
preview available on Google Books
available at your local library, your favorite bookstore, or on Amazon
For kids who love the thrill of the scare, In The Haunted House is a great story that revels in the delicious spine-tingling feel of a good fright. With creepy rhymes that are perfect for reading aloud, Bunting follows two pairs of feet through a haunted house.
“Who’s in the closet, dark as a tomb
Rattling his bones in the gloom-gloomy-gloom?” 
As the feet run from room to room, they discover frightful surprises at each turn. The suspense is deliciously creepy, but never too scary. Meddaugh’s illustrations also create a perfect balance for young readers, lending a silly note to some of the hair-raising creatures. The twist comes at the end, as readers discover which pair of feet (big or small) was really scared. This Halloween book will surely prompt giggles and gasps.

The review copies came from our local library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.

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