Monday, October 31, 2011

Penny’s S.C.R.E.A.M.

Super Creepy Reading Extravaganza A la Mode

Did you know that nagging is super time-consuming? And super distracting? I just found that out. I was so busy nagging all my friends to come up with super creepy reading lists that I kind of sort of totally forgot to make my own.

But you know what? It’s okay that I kind of sort of totally forgot to make my own list because super creepy reading shouldn’t be restricted to October. Isn’t it fun to cozy up with a scary book when it’s cold and snowy? Or while lightning flashes and thunder rattles your nerves? Or by a campfire with owls hooting nearby?

I’ve decided I was meant to forget to come up with a Halloween reading list for you. Forgetting made me remember that I need to remind you all year round about the joy of reading super creepy stories.

So tomorrow pack away your costume, your fake cobwebs and paper bats, but keep your night light handy. You’re going to need it!

Norman’s S.C.R.E.A.M.

Super Creepy Reading Extravaganza A la Mode

Why do they make kids go to school on Halloween? You should have the day off like I do. I don’t have to go to school on Halloween. Or Valentine’s Day. Or Arbor Day. Or any day. I’m a turtle. I already know everything there is to know. So, while you’re struggling to keep your eyes open during social studies or trying to shrink down in your chair so the teacher doesn’t call you to the board to work that math problem, I’m putting the final touches on my costume. Not to rub it in. (By the way, if you were a turtle, it’d be easier for you to avoid being called on in class. You’d just hide in your shell. Of course if you were a turtle, you’d already know everything there is to know and wouldn’t be in class in the first place. What a shame you weren’t born a turtle.)


by Derek the Ghost, with illustrations by Scott M. Fischer


Harper-HarperCollins, 2011

You really shouldn’t complain anyway. It could be much worse. At least you don’t go to Scary School. At Scary School humans go to school with zombies, werewolves, and vampires. The monster students aren’t the big worry, though. The teachers are the scary ones, and by scary I mean they kill a lot of students. Maybe your teacher bugs you, but I bet you don’t have to worry about getting eaten. Each chapter is a short story that introduces a different character. My favorite chapter is the one about Dr. Dragonbreath. Any student who breaks one of his five rules gets eaten. In this story, all but two kids in his class break the fifth rule on the first day of school. There’s also Principal Headcrusher who has huge hands that can—well, her name speaks for itself. The book’s main story is about the Ghoul Games. At the end of the school year the students of Scary School will compete in different games against schools whose students are all monsters. The stakes: Winners get to eat the losers. The book’s narrator is Derek the Ghost who haunts the school since he died in science class. He knows everything that happens in Scary School and promises there will be more books about it. This book cracked me up. You should definitely find a copy to read right now. Oh, wait. You can’t. You’re in school right now. What a shame.



by Julie Gardner Berry,

with illustrations by Sally Faye Gardner


Grosset & Dunlap-Penguin, 2010

Even though the mortality rate at Splurch Academy isn’t as high as at Scary School, it would be even worse to have to go there. For one thing, Scary School has a great chef that prepares tasty meals for the students. And Scary School students get to go home every day. Splurch Academy is more like a prison. It’s where boys who act up are sent. Headmaster Farley claims he can get them to behave. Cody Mack isn’t there long before he discovers that the faculty are all monsters and that Farley, a vampire, has a plan to control the boys by switching their brains with rats’ brains. The illustrations don’t just show you what you’ve already read, they’re cartoon panels that tell part of the story. This book is funny, but it’s also exciting when Cody Mack and his new friends try to escape Splurch Academy. They also have to work together when they’re rats to get their brains back in their bodies. There’s some mystery, too—the librarian mummy helps them out, but they don’t know why. There are four books out so far in this series. I’ve read three. Probably some afternoon while you’re taking a pop quiz, I’ll kick back and read #4.


by Jessica Swaim, illustrated by Carol Ashley


Wordsong-Boyds Mills Press, 2010

After school you may need a break. Why not go someplace fun to unwind? Someplace like Scarum Fair. The poems in this book tell you how at Scarum Fair you can get bug tattoos that come to life, be in a coffin race, or ride on the Scary-Go-Round. The poems are half funny, half creepy and the illustrations are half ghoulish and half comical. This is the perfect book for a half-invisible turtle like me. Extra bonus: I had Morzant read SCARUM FAIR and it gave him nightmares.

Well, it’s about time for trick-or-treating. With all the time you spend stuck at school, you probably didn’t have time to come up with a great costume. Here’s a Halloween tip: Go as a turtle. It’s a little known fact that they hand out the best candy to turtles.

And don’t stay out too late. It’s a school night.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beverly’s S.C.R.E.A.M.

Super Creepy Reading Extravaganza A la Mode

You haven’t heard much from me on this blog. What business is it of yours what I read? What business is it of mine what you read? But it seems the only way to get Penny off my back about her S.C.R.E.A.M. project is to post a Halloween reading list. So let’s just get on with it already.

I’ve decided to use my list to educate you about different types of ghosts. Halloween without ghosts is like April Fool’s Day without pranks—you wouldn’t be as jumpy, but then what’s the point?

Ghost Type A: Crabby

Some ghosts are sad, some are mischievous, and some ghosts are just plain ticked off. Being half-invisible and irritable, I’m only an encounter with a hungry crocodile away from being a crabby ghost myself.

by Jacqueline K. Ogburn,
illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Houghton Mifflin, 2005

Miss Cora Lee Merriweather has a reputation for being a bit of a crank, but people don’t care about that as long as she’s baking her famous cakes. Then she dies. Do people miss her? No, they do not. Do they miss her cakes? Yes, they do, the selfish ingrates. Other bakers try to move into Cora Lee’s shop. The ghost of Cora Lee scares them all away, except for Annie Washington who’s determined to stay no matter how much trouble Cora Lee causes her. Cora Lee makes a deal with Annie: If Annie bakes a cake good enough to make Cora Lee cry, then Cora Lee will stop haunting the shop. It takes awhile for Annie to figure out the right cake to make, but when she does, Cora Lee isn’t such a crabby ghost any more. Do you want me to tell you what kind of cake Annie makes for Cora Lee? Nice try. Read the book yourself. If you’ve got the notion that maybe I’d be less crabby if somebody made the same kind of cake for me, I’ll tell you that Penny did last week. Do I seem less crabby to you?

You probably noticed Cora Lee isn’t a scary ghost. And the illustrations in this book aren’t grim or creepy in the least. They’re full of cheerful baked goods and bright colors and even a happy yellow cat. If dark and morbid is more your thing, I’ve got a recommendation just for you.

Ghost Type B: Victim of Foul Play

by Mary Howitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
Simon & Schuster, 2002

The ghosts in this book didn’t die of natural causes like Cora Lee did. They were the victims of foul play. The ghosts aren’t part of the original story, which is a classic poem by Mary Howitt who died over 120 years ago, and who may be a ghost herself for all I know. The gist of the poem is that a spider tries to lure a fly into his web and eventually succeeds by telling her how pretty she is. It’s supposed to be a lesson about being leery of anybody who tells you only what you want to hear. The illustrator added his own story that plays out as a couple of ghosts of the spider’s victims trying to warn away the fly. Unlike the illustrations in THE BAKE SHOP GHOST, these are dark and morbid from the start, when the eight-legged fiend greets the dainty fly, to the end when the fly is bound tight in the spider’s web along with other bugs’ corpses, the shadow of the spider with a knife and fork in hand looming.

You’re looking a little pale there, so it’s probably time to introduce you to the next type of ghost.

Ghost Type C: Friendly

by James Kochalka
Top Shelf, 2008
I assume you already know about Casper, but do you know about Johnny Boo? He’s less the haunting type of ghost and more the kind you’d like to hang out with on a summer day. He’s a caring friend who likes to play and eat ice cream. He has “Boo power” which he mostly uses for good. In this first book in the series, Johnny Boo and his best friend Squiggle (also a ghost) meet an ice cream monster. Johnny Boo keeps a stash of ice cream hidden in a hole in the ground so ice cream monsters won’t find it. But Johnny Boo is nice so he decides to share his ice cream with the ice cream monster. The ice cream monster greedily gobbles all the ice cream and in the process accidentally swallows Squiggle. Johnny Boo is also a clever ghost, so he helps Squiggle find a way out.

The ghost in the next book isn’t scary either. She’s a loving dog.

Ghost Type D: Dearly Departed

by Eric Rohmann
Roaring Brook, 2011

Bigfoot has a policy on this blog against books that have a dog who dies. To that I say, tough. I love this book and I’m going to tell you about it.

Ella, the dog, dies at the beginning, but before she does she tells her boy, Gus, that she will never leave him. On Halloween Gus gets into trouble with some skeletons out from their graves. They think he’s one of them because he’s dressed as a skeleton. When they realize Gus is a living person, they plan to eat him. Ella has never left Gus, though, and she appears in time to help him. Together they summon all their bone-loving dog friends who chase the skeletons away. This book is sad and a little scary (because of the skeletons, not because of the ghost dog) and funny. Mainly it’s a touching story about eternal love and devotion. Did I cry when I read this? What’s it to you?

I’ll wrap this up with the kind of ghost that’s likely to give you chills.

Ghost Type E: Combo

by Jane Kelley
Random House, 2011

Cora Lee stuck around after she died to keep baking. The spider’s victims stayed to warn future bugs to beware, although they didn’t do a very good job. Ella stayed with Gus because she promised she would and because she loved him. Anger is what keeps the ghost in this book from moving on. She’s also lonely and confused. When a family moves into the house she’s been trapped in for eighty years, she takes a special interest in the eleven-year-old twin girls, Hannah and Anna. Hannah, the lonelier of the two, is more receptive to the ghost and can eventually hear her when nobody else can. The ghost is happy to finally have a friend and there’s only one way she can think of to keep Hannah with her forever. What makes this book especially fun to read is that the ghost is the narrator. She can read minds, so she knows everybody’s thoughts. Best of all is how she gradually divvies out clues about how she became a ghost and why she’s angry. Not knowing right away what terrible thing happened in the closet or what “ildred” means or what’s hidden in the attic builds tension. As you read you get nervous about the ghost’s intentions. In the end it turns out that not even the ghost knows the whole story of her death. That’s all I’m going to tell you, otherwise I’ll ruin the story for you. Besides, I’m busy.

You probably won’t be hearing from me again until the next time Penny pesters me to death. Then I’ll come back as a Type A ghost and make her sorry she didn’t leave me alone.

Happy Halloween and all that pumpkin rot.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lenny’s S.C.R.E.A.M.

Super Creepy Reading Extravaganza A la Mode

Halloween is almost here. The best part about Halloween is witches. There are two great things about witches:

1. Witches can fly on their brooms.

I can levitate, but that’s not the same as flying. I like how witches can zip and zoom around.

2. Witches have cats.

I have a secret. I like cats. Don’t tell anybody my secret or I’ll play a Halloween trick on you.

by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Dial-Penguin Putnam, 2001

One book about a witch I like a lot is ROOM ON THE BROOM. Lots of people think witches are wicked, but witches can be nice, too. The witch in this book is really nice. She lets a cat, a dog, a bird, and a frog ride on her broom with her. The frog is one rider too many, though, and the broom breaks. The friends crash in a bog where a dragon tries to eat the witch. The cat, dog, bird, and frog trick the dragon into thinking they’re a monster and scare the dragon away. Another thing about witches is that they can do spells. This witch uses a spell to fix her broom. Only she doesn’t just fix it up the way it was. She makes it even better with comfy chairs, a nest, and a sprinkler for the frog. I wish there was room for me on that broom! This is a book I like to have read to me so I can look at the pictures while I listen to the rhyming story.

by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
Feiwel and Friends-Macmillan, 2009

This book is about a little girl who wishes she could fly like a witch. I know how she feels. The story is written as a type of poem called a sestina. There’s a part at the beginning of the book that explains what a sestina is, but I didn’t read that part. I was in a hurry to see if the girl was going to get to fly. She wears a witch costume. The first time she tries to fly on her costume broom, she leaps from a porch railing and crashes. She’s so sad. But then she gets right back on that broom and tries again. And she flies! When I read the words I feel her happiness at being able to fly. It makes me think some day maybe I’ll be able to fly, too. The words give me goosebumps. And I think maybe this book isn’t only about flying. It makes you feel like you can do anything if you believe and try.

Boyds Mills, 2011

This book has another little girl dressed as a witch for Halloween. She goes out trick-or-treating with her little brother who wears a ghost costume. Two tickets for the HEEBIE-JEEBIE JAMBOREE appear. They decide to go and they find out that the jamboree is held at a cemetery. Because they’re wearing costumes they fit in with all the other creepies who are going. There are vampires, mummies, ghosts, skeletons, black cats, and every other type of Halloween-y creature you can think of. They aren’t scary, though. They’re bright and colorful and all having fun. The jamboree is like a fair, but with things witches and monsters and goblins would like. The carousel has skeleton horses. Brooms are ridden at the rodeo instead of bulls. Witches compete in a brew-making contest. There’s a pumpkin pie-eating contest, too. There’s even a fortune-teller, but she’s not a psychic beagle like Briar. The girl and boy get separated, so the girl has to look all over for her brother. She’s finds him, but not before going all through the cemetery and seeing all the jamboree happenings.

by Dav Pilkey
Blue Sky Press-Scholastic, 1995

Next to witches, costumes are the best part of Halloween. This is a funny book about a dog named Oscar who is a dachshund. Dachshunds are long dogs with really short legs. On regular days when it isn’t Halloween, the other dogs, and some cats, too, make fun of Oscar. They call him “Wiener Dog.” He doesn’t like that. And he doesn’t like the Halloween costume his mom makes for him. The costume is a hot-dog bun. Because he’s a dachshund, when Oscar wears the hot-dog bun costume he’ll look like a real wiener dog and get laughed at even more. His costume also makes it hard to run. Everybody knows that when you go trick-or-treating you have to go fast, fast, fast so you can get lots of treats. Oscar is having a horrible Halloween. Then a pumpkin-headed creature scares all the mean dogs into a pond. Oscar is low to the ground and he sees cat feet sticking out of the pumpkin-headed creature’s long gown, so he isn’t scared. Oscar chases the cats away. Then he goes into the pond and lets the mean dogs grab on to his floaty hot-dog bun costume while he swims to shore. The best Halloween treat Oscar gets is that he doesn’t get laughed at any more.

by Matthew McElligott
Walker-Bloomsbury, 2010

Most people have to get haircuts once in awhile. Not beagles like me, but some other dogs do. I’m not sure about cats. Until I read EVEN MONSTERS NEED HAIRCUTS I never wondered about monsters’ hair before. Now I know monsters need haircuts, too. The monsters in this book are lucky because they know a boy who’s a good barber. He borrows his dad’s barbershop when there’s a full moon and all the monsters come to have their hair doneI like the pictures. My favorite is of the boy braiding Medusa’s snake hair. He has to do it while he’s blindfolded so he won’t turn to stone. I think you’d look good with a Frankenstein’s monster haircut.

When I’m not practicing flying or looking for cats this Halloween, I’ll be reading these books. I bet all my Halloween treats you’ll like them as much as I do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oliver’s S.C.R.E.A.M.

Super Creepy Cozy Reading Extravaganza A la Mode

Here are some books I like to read this time of year. They aren’t super creepy.

by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

Greenwillow-HarperCollins, 2006

This is not a Halloween book. It’s a book about autumn. I have it on my list because Halloween wouldn’t be the same if it happened in the winter, spring, or summer. Fletcher is a fox. He notices a tree’s leaves start to change color. He thinks something is wrong with the tree. When the leaves fall off the tree, Fletcher tries to put them back on. The autumn wind blows them off again. At the end, a wonderful thing happens that lets Fletcher know the tree is okay. You’ll have to read this book to find out what happens. I know you’ll like Fletcher because he cares about the tree and never stops trying to save it, even though it doesn’t need saving. Fletcher would be a good friend. The drawings show all the colors of autumn. When I look at the drawings, I can feel gusts of autumn wind and smell autumn leaves.

by Anne Mortimer

Katherine Tegan-HarperCollins, 2011

When it’s time for Halloween everybody carves faces into pumpkins. I like this book because it shows where pumpkins come from. In the story, Cat asks Mouse to tell him about pumpkins. Together they plant pumpkin seeds. Mouse shows Cat how to take care of the seeds so they’ll grow into a plant. The plant grows the pumpkin. Mouse and Cat make a scarecrow to scare away the crows that want to eat the pumpkin growing on the plant. When the pumpkin is ready, Mouse carves a cat face into the pumpkin for Cat. PUMPKIN CAT is a simple story, but a good one. And the drawings are nice. Mouse’s and Cat’s fur coats look real. I wanted to touch them on every page.

by Helen Cooper

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999

The characters in this book don’t want to carve pumpkins. Cat, Squirrel, and Duck want to eat pumpkin soup. Cat always cuts the pumpkin, Squirrel always stirs, and Duck always adds the salt. There’s a big fight when Duck decides he wants to be the stirrer. Duck runs away. When he doesn’t come home, his friends go out to find him even though the woods are scary. They don’t find him, but when they get home he is there. They decide to let Duck stir the pumpkin soup. It’s okay that he makes a mess. They’re just happy to be together again. This book is full of autumn-y pictures with orange pumpkins and brown leaves. It makes you want to cozy up inside on a cold fall day with a bowl of pumpkin soup. And also with your friends.


by Leslie Patricelli
Candlewick, 2010

Petra, Andy, Penelope, and Zack are puppies. Petra can’t get to sleep because she’s scared of a monster. She thinks the monster wants to eat her and the other puppies. They make cookies for the monster to eat instead. They set out the cookies at bedtime, then watch to see if the monster will eat them. She doesn’t, so the puppies eat the cookies themselves. And then the monster comes. The monster is fun, not scary. They all have a cookie party together. My favorite pictures are the ones of the puppies in their bunk beds. If you look closely at the pictures you might see that the monster isn’t really a monster at all.

by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Henry Holt, 2006

This book is about another kind of party—a Halloween party. Las brujas is Spanish for “the witches.” Las brujas go to the party. So do los esqueletos, los fantasmas, and los muertos: the skeletons, the ghosts, and the corpses. The story is told in rhyme with some Spanish words mixed in. Even if you don’t speak Spanish you can tell what the Spanish words mean. The los monstruos—the monsters—travel on Halloween to the haunted house where they’ll have their party. The pictures are soft and dreamy. During the party some other Halloween visitors come to the house. These visitors scare los monstruos. Who are the visitors? No voy a decir.

Adiós. ¡Feliz lectura!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Morzant’s S.C.R.E.A.M.

Tuesdays with Morzant:

Super Creepy Reading Extravaganza A la Mode

Zulko, humans. Today I’m presenting my suggestions for Halloween reading. I don’t claim to entirely understand Halloween and its morbid trappings; however, I cannot deny that I’ve experienced the allure of the macabre. I’m particularly taken with the notion of zombies. At first my interest in zombies was piqued because I was under the impression that they are real, and, as a student of Earth, I wanted to learn all I could about them.

by Charlie Higson
Hyperion-Disney Book Group, 2010

It was while reading THE ENEMY by Charlie Higson that this misunderstanding began. I believed the book to be a historical account of a devastating illness that ravaged London, England, afflicting every human being sixteen years of age and older with a dreadful disease that rotted their flesh, inhibited their vocal abilities, and made them crave human flesh. I was dismayed when I could find no further account of the events described in THE ENEMY. It was then that Bigfoot informed me that zombies are no more real than are Ewoks. This clarification didn’t dissuade my interest in zombies, nor did the later revelation that the antagonists in THE ENEMY are not technically zombies. They’re merely humans infected with a disease that makes them crave human flesh, as opposed to corpses who crave human flesh. That resurrection from death is compulsory to becoming a zombie was a distinction I failed to comprehend at first. Although it isn’t technically about zombies, THE ENEMY inaugurated my fascination with zombie literature. While I’m still at a loss to understand my desire to read about monstrous undead humans who eat other humans, I cannot deny that desire exists. Due to my innumerable scientific obligations, I haven’t yet read as extensively in the zombie genre as I’d like. Here’s a sampling of books that I intend to read to further my understanding of zombies and their appeal to readers:

THE DEAD: AN ENEMY NOVEL by Charlie Higson
Hyperion-Disney, 2011

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2011

Beach Lane-Simon & Schuster, to be released October 25, 2011

ZOMBIE IN LOVE by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Scott Campbell
Atheneum-Simon & Schuster, 2011

by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by Adam McCauley
Sterling, 2009

Zombies aren’t the only beings whose authenticity perplexed me. My Earth friends delight in taking advantage of my naiveté. Convincing me of the existence of fictitious creatures is one of their favorite pastimes. Norman especially takes pleasure in deceiving me. Recently he directed me to THE MONSTEROLOGIST: A MEMOIR IN RHYME, a book that ostensibly presents research accumulated by a scientist specializing in the studies of exceptional Earth creatures. That the “research” is presented as poetry probably should have alerted me to the fictive nature of this book. But perhaps I can be forgiven for falling for Norman’s trick given that THE MONSTEROLOGIST includes descriptions of some beings I know do exist, namely: the yeti; the Loch Ness Monster—who I have never met personally, but Penny told me her great uncle Bill used to date her; and, of course, extraterrestrials—although in retrospect I’ve never heard of Zargon 9 and I’m incredibly well-travelled. Or perhaps it was my newfound enthusiasm for poetry that distracted me from Norman’s joke. Whatever the case, once I determined the book was indeed a work of fiction, I noted that not only are the poems pleasing to hear read aloud, they’re quite amusing. For example, one poem describes how a yeti came out from hiding to steal and then abscond with the Monsterologist’s spaghetti. The yeti/spaghetti rhyme tickled Mortimer as well. Another favorite of mine is the poem about the Verbivore who subsists on a diet consisting of words that describe actions. Not only are the poems entertaining, the accompanying collage-style illustrations give the reader much to contemplate.

Conclusion: Norman intended to give me a trick, but I was the recipient of a treat.

by Linda Ashman, illustrated by David Small
Simon & Schuster, 2003

Because I rather enjoyed the combination of monster lore with poetry, I sought out similar collections and discovered THE ESSENTIAL WORLDWIDE MONSTER GUIDE. Like THE MONSTEROLOGIST, this book contained beings I know to be real, such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. It also introduced me to new beings to wonder about such as the Alicanto, the Domovik, and Ki-lin. The underlying narrative—mostly shown in the lively watercolor illustrations—is of a girl, boy, and basset hound taking a tour of the world by way of hot air balloon in search of monsters. A country of origin is listed for each “monster” they encounter. I’m uncertain if those origins are meant to represent where the myth of each creature was born, or where the creatures actually reside. I do tend to believe this book is fiction. Either that, or the author didn’t research her subject matter as studiously as she should have; the poem about Bigfoot suggests he’d steal a person’s coat during a blizzard—inconceivable. Amusing, but inconceivable.

Good-bye for now, humans. This Halloween may the zombies you encounter be costumed trick-or-treaters and the candy corn you eat, plentiful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Violet’s S.C.R.E.A.M.

Super Creepy Reading Extravaganza A la Mode

I’m Violet and I love Halloween because I love treats and costumes and carving pumpkins and running through corn mazes and making spider decorations and making witch decorations and making skeleton decorations. But do you know what the best part of Halloween is? If you don’t know I will tell you that the best part of Halloween is that you get to read Halloween books. And if you don’t know what some good Halloween books to read at Halloween are I will tell you.

by Caroline Stutson, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Marshall Cavendish, 2009 (originally: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1993)

This is a good book to read at Halloween and it is a really good book to have read out loud to you at Halloween because the words are sing-songy and there are sentences that repeat that you can say out loud along with whoever is reading this book out loud to you.

This book is about a person’s tapping toe and the black cat and the witch and the bat and the ghoul and the other Halloweeny creatures who want to get the tapping toe. The person with the tapping toe is sitting on a dock and the person’s legs are dangling over the edge of the dock and the person’s tapping toe is all alone at the end of the person’s bare foot where the black cat and the witch and the bat and the ghoul and the other Halloweeny creatures can grab it. That probably sounds scary but this is not a scary book. It is a funny book because the creatures don’t get the tapping toe because the witch stops the black cat and the bat stops the witch and the ghoul stops the bat and the tapping toe is safe and at the end of the book you find out that the tapping toe is a little girl’s toe and she is tapping her toe to the music she is playing on her violin and then all the Halloweeny creatures dance to the music.

by Richard Egielski
Arthur A. Levine-Scholastic, 2011

If you like Halloween books that have lots of different Halloweeny creatures you will like THE SLEEPLESS LITTLE VAMPIRE. The little vampire is trying to go to bed but he can’t fall asleep and he wonders if it’s because of all the creatures who are making noise and those creatures are spiders and bats and cockroaches and a werewolf and skeletons and a witch and ghosts and all those creatures are dancing and making noise. But there is a surprise reason why the little vampire can’t fall asleep but I’m not going to tell you what the reason is because that would ruin the surprise. I like this book and the pictures in this book are fun to look at and I like the ghosts who look surprised even before the surprise ending and I like that the little vampire’s cuddly sleep-time toy is a Frankenstein’s monster and that his blanket has pictures of skulls on it.

by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Flash Light, 2009

This is another book about a boy who has trouble falling asleep at bedtime except this boy is just a regular boy and not a vampire and the reason he can’t fall asleep is that the monster under his bed is on vacation and the replacement monsters aren’t scary enough. One replacement monster doesn’t have long enough claws and one replacement monster has a silly, long tongue and there are other replacement monsters that the boy doesn’t think are good under-the-bed monsters for him. The pictures of all the monsters are fun to look at and the story is funny not scary and the boy finally falls asleep but you will have to read the book to find out how he is able to fall asleep because I’m not going to tell you.

by William Bee
Candlewick, 2008

Monsters like under-the-bed monsters can be scary but this is a book about a creature that even monsters are scared of and that creature is a frog. The monsters in this book are a goblin with a striped hat, a blue troll, and an ogre who carries a fork with him in case he runs into somebody he wants to eat. You wouldn’t think a frog could scare monsters but this frog protects Mrs. Collywobbles from the monsters who come to her house and he protects her by eating the monsters and that is funny because he swallows them whole even though they are bigger than he is. After the goblin and the troll and the ogre have been eaten up Mrs. Collywobbles kisses the frog to thank him and then some funny things happen that I won’t tell you about because you’ll have more fun reading this book if you are surprised at the ending. And I bet you are thinking that the frog eats Mrs. Collywobbles at the end because that would be surprising but I promise that is not what happens.

by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm
Random House, 2008

Halloween isn’t just about vampires and witches and skeletons and ghosts. Halloween is also about treats and costumes and what costume you wear to go trick-or-treating in so that you can get treats. This Babymouse story is about how Babymouse wants to be a zombie for Halloween but Felicia the mean cat and the other mean girls tell her that only boys wear scary costumes so Babymouse feels like she has to wear a fairy costume instead. And then Felicia invites herself and the other mean girls to Babymouse’s Halloween party and Babymouse gets stuck going trick-or-treating with them and she doesn’t have any fun because they make her do mean tricks to the neighbors like throwing eggs at their houses and they also steal candy from little kids. I like Babymouse books especially when Babymouse has daydreams and in this book she daydreams that the Creature from the Black Locker lives in her locker and that Felicia is a blood-sucking vampire. At the end of the story Babymouse puts on her zombie costume and the mean girls get scared away and Halloween is saved.

by Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick, 2007

Mercy Watson is a pig and she’s like Babymouse and doesn’t want to wear a frilly Halloween costume. Mercy doesn’t want to wear any costume at all. She just wants the trick-or-treat treats and so she wears the princess costume that Mrs. Watson makes for her. The costume is funny and there is a picture of Mercy in her costume and it is pink with a big pink bow and she has a tiara too and in case you don’t know what a tiara is it is a fancy crown that princesses wear. Mercy does not look happy about wearing the costume but she loves buttered toast and she thinks she will get buttered toast if she wears a costume and goes trick-or-treating. If you have gone trick-or-treating you know that buttered toast is not one of the treats that people give trick-or-treaters so it is funny that Mercy thinks she will get buttered toast on Halloween. Mercy always causes lots of problems in her books even though she doesn’t mean to and she causes problems in this book by chasing the neighbor ladies’ cat and then a lot of people in costumes chase Mercy while she is chasing the cat and that is funny. Mercy doesn’t get get buttered toast when she goes trick-or-treating but everybody gets buttered toast at the Halloween party at the end.

by Maryann Macdonald, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
Dial-Penguin, 2006

This is another book about Halloween costumes and I like this book a lot because it has a good story and good pictures. It’s about a girl named Angela who has an older sister named Bernadette and every year Bernadette wears a better Halloween costume than Angela and gets more attention than Angela. Every year Angela wears the costume that Bernadette wore the year before but then Bernadette has an even better costume so Angela is never happy with her costume. Angela finally has a good Halloween the year she decides she won’t copy Bernadette any more and she makes a costume all on her own and she dresses up as a ghost with a hat. When Angela and Bernadette go trick-or-treating there are lots and lots of other kids trick-or-treating and they are all wearing Halloween costumes and those costumes are fun to look at and my favorite is the wolf costume but I also like the dinosaur costume and the alien costume and all the other costumes. There are lots of good ideas in this book for Halloween costumes but I still don’t know what I will be for Halloween.

What do you think my Halloween costume should be?