The Children’s Book Review | October 8, 2014
It’s time to do the Halloween hustle and get books for Halloween into the hands of your ghouls and boys. Run, don’t walk, or you may find you have an “Evil Librarian” hot on your heels. We’ve selected a variety of titles which include a beautiful picture book that explores being outside in the dark, a spooky novel featuring witches in training, and a non-fiction book for teens that explores phobias and being “scared stiff.” Don’t get spooked, all of these books are treats and not tricks!
A Monster Selection of Halloween Books for Kids
… And Kids Books Perfect for Halloween
By Lizi Boyd
Publisher’s Synopsis: Inside a tent it’s cozy. But what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight! Told solely through images and using a spare yet dramatic palette, artist Lizi Boyd has crafted a masterful exploration of night, nature, and art. Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals that there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.
Ages 2-6 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | Aug. 12, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1452118949
By Stephen Wunderli; Illustrated by Tim Zeltner
Publisher’s Synopsis: The leaves fall, the wind blows, and one little pumpkin seed tries and tries to be scary. But he doesn’t scare anyone . . . not the snowflakes in winter, not the bees in spring, not even the watering can!
The wind tells him to be patient—he’ll be scary soon enough. But waiting is hard. Will the little seed ever be really, truly scary?
This simple story is more than a fun Halloween read—it is a heartwarming tale perfect for any child who can’t wait to grow up.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | Aug. 12, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0805097085
Bramble and Maggie Spooky Season
By Jessie Haas; Illustrated by Alison Friend
Publisher’s Synopsis: Bramble, a persnickety but lovable horse, and Maggie, her patient owner, build an even stronger friendship as they brave the surprises of autumn.
In their third adventure, Bramble and Maggie explore a new season together — fall! Leaves crunch underfoot. Acorns ping off rooftops. It all makes Bramble feel wonderfully spooky. But Bramble’s frisky-pretend-scary gait makes Maggie jumpy, and soon Bramble really is nervous. There are alarming new sights and sounds everywhere, like Mr. Dingle’s scarecrow. When Maggie takes a fall, will she want to get back in the saddle? And when Halloween comes, can Maggie trust Bramble to brave the tricks and lead them both safely to the treats?
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Candlewick | Aug. 12, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0763664503
By Jason Segel
Publisher’s synopsis: A New York Times Bestseller!
Jason Segel, multitalented actor, writer, and musician, teams up with New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Miller for the hilariously frightening, middle-grade novel Nightmares!, the first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and a group of kids who must face their fears to save their town.
Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!
Charlie Laird has several problems.
1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
3.He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.
What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.
And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers | Sept. 9, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0385744256
By Clete Barrett Smith
Publisher’s Synopsis: Nick is a natural born businessman. His schoolmates think he’s a heartless hustler, but secretly he’s just trying to earn money to help his mother, who works two jobs. Eager to be part of the popular circle, Nick wheedles an invitation to Hayley’s upcoming Halloween party by agreeing to get her the answers to a test. His goofy friend Burger wants to be part of the deal too, and he nearly blows it for Nick, but desperate Hayley finally caves. Nick and Burger are riding home high on their success–even on their old, beat-up bikes–when they see a delivery van careen off the side of the road. The boys could have sworn that the driver was a bear . . . but that couldn’t be right. Or could it? Turns out the van is carrying a load of costumes. With the driver nowhere in sight, Nick’s first thought is about how much money he could get by selling the merchandise. Burger just wants to try them out, for fun. In the gorilla costume he chooses, Burger is very convincing. Is that just Burger fooling around, as usual, or is there something strange about these outfits? Once again Clete Barrett Smith makes a wild premise believable and funny in a story perfectly pitched to middle graders.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | Aug. 5, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1423165972
Little Dead Riding Hood
By Amie Borst; Illustrated by Rachael Caringella
Publisher’s Synopsis: When you’re the new kid at school, you know things are going to suck; but when you’re the new kid and a vampire, it bites.
Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being a 12-year-old vampire for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets, and tomato juice is out of control. In order to keep their vampire-secret, Scarlet’s parents resort to yet another move. At her new school, Scarlet not only has a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When Scarlet meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will finally be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Jolly Fish Press | Oct. 14, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1939967893
The Broken Spell
By Erika McGann
Publisher’s Synopsis: What do you do when a spell goes haywire?
Who would ever think magic could be boring? Certainly not Grace, Jenny, Rachel, Adie, and Una, especially after their disastrous first encounter with witchcraft. Now they’re stuck learning dusty old theory—until the radiant Ms. Gold comes into town. Before long, she has the coven turning into blond bombshells, creating cute pets out of thin air, and taking fabulous flying lessons!
But the daring friends make a magical mistake that drags the past into the present. Suddenly Grace has to work out who she can really trust…
Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | Oct. 7, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1492602965
Publisher’s Synopsis: He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.
When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).
Ages 12-17 | Publisher: Candlewick | Sept. 9, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0763660383
Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias
By Sara Latta
Publisher’s Synopsis: Fear is a primal human emotion, and it often does play an important role in keeping us safe from threats. It’s part of our evolutionary makeup, after all. But fears can also spiral out of control, and if your perfectly reasonable fear of snakes has metastasized to the point that you run screaming from every uncoiled hose, then (news flash!) you’ve got yourself a phobia. Human phobias are strange, diverse, and actually have the power to teach us a lot about who we are and where we came from. And in this book, author Sarah Latta blends biology, psychology, history, and pop culture to provide a comprehensive account of 50 essential fears, from arachnophobia to zoophobia. Additionally, the book includes:
– An explanation of the history behind each phobia, and a discussion of notable people who have suffered from the fear
– Sidebars that highlight famous phobic moments from history and pop culture
– Updates on how successful various phobia treatments have been
Phobias are no laughing matter if you’ve got one, but sometimes the first step to overcoming your fear is understanding that sometimes we’re afraid of a lot of really weird things. So whether you’re looking for perspective, information, or just want to know what Madonna and David Beckham are afraid of, this is the book for you. (Bibliophobes, however, should probably keep their distance.)
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Zest Books | Feb. 4, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1936976492
If you’re looking for more halloween books for kids, check out this Halloween book list: Best Halloween Books for Kids: Scary, Spooky, and Silly; and be sure to peruse all of our articles and book reviews tagged with Halloween Books for Kids.