After telling Marty about his find the following day, they decide to sneak out of the house that night to investigate. Their exploration turns out to be a bit more than either of them bargained for, and Charlie finds his summer vacation is suddenly a lot more exciting. Luckily, though, his mom has picked an interesting town for them to spend the summer.
Whether fending off bullies, hunting a mysterious dog, or dealing with an evil witch, there is never a dull moment for Charlie. One part mystery and two parts horror, Cullen Bunn has created a suspenseful novel that keeps the reader turning pages from start to finish. Highly recommended to anyone! This Totally Bites! Emma-Rose Paley is dark-haired, navy-eyed, pale-skinned and just saw her great-aunt turn into a bat. Now, on top of the upcoming school Halloween Dance which her friend Gabby has pushed her to help plan , and her parents working hard on a major gala for the museum, Emma-Rose wonders if she could be a vampire too.
Emma-Rose faces realistic kid-sized problems, some of which are even scarier than possibly being a vampire. While this book does have the potential to be a little too scary for sensitive kids my daughter insisted on sleeping with a bulb of garlic on her table after we read the scene where Aunt Margo turns into a bat it doesn't touch on any truly uncomfortable situations for kids or parents.
For kids who are trying to edge in on their parents' love of urban fantasy or paranormal romance, or who just love Buffy reruns, this is book, part of the Poison Apple series, is perfect. The desperate drama teacher, Mr. Monster and Me is the first book in a series about Gabby and Dwight, which, while it will appeal to younger children mine kidnapped them for almost a year are clearly aimed at struggling readers.
The reading level is 1. Marsh does a nice job of making it easy for readers to keep track of the limited number of characters by introducing them on the first page with clear visuals of each provided by the illustrator. I wish this had either been explored further or tied up. That said, Monster and Me may not be the perfect choice for reluctant readers who CAN read but choose not to read school-assigned texts.
A lot of these kids may already be reading much more complex graphic stories with complicated sequencing and vocabulary outside of school. But for the upper elementary reader who is reading well below grade level, this is an excellent choice. Seuss, and hopes that some day a young child will be reading his book at the local library. I believe Beaulieu will have his wish come true many times over. Some of the rhymes will have kids giggling madly; others will be enjoyed by certain kinds of adults, making it a good choice for parents and children to read together. The illustrations complement the rhymes beautifully.
Len Peralta does a fantastic job of adding the visuals to the rhymes, and children should be able to get the meaning of the rhymes without knowing all the words. However the book might be a good starting point to have children look up the words, which include a number of scientific terms. In many ways some enterprising teacher might even use the book as a starting off point to get kids interested in using the dictionary or some science topics.
Silly Rhymes for Belligerent Children is highly recommended for public libraries and school libraries.
Funny Books for Kids
Cody Mack is used to getting into trouble. First, this meeting is lasting much longer than most. The man, Dr. Farley, runs a special school for naughty kids. His parents quite readily sign the forms, and Cody leaves with Dr. Farley that afternoon. The teachers are all monsters: vampires, werewolves, and mummies. On his first day at Splurch Academy, Cody is thrown into the dungeon, where he is surrounded by rats.
He soon learns of Dr. Farley will be famous! Unfortunately, Farley has met his match with Cody! Told in short chapters broken up by comic panels, this book would be the perfect addition to any library. The short chapters keep the attention of young readers and aid in the pacing of the book.
The comic illustations are quite humorous, really adding detail to the story.
In the second book in the Splurch Academy series, Cody's nemesis, Dr. Farley, has been banished from the school. However, that doesn't stop odd events taking place at Splurch Academy. Horrible bugs are crawling the halls of the Academy. Farley is no longer around, so who is behind these horrible creatures? At a school full of monsters as teachers, Cody doesn't know who he should trust. His parents don't believe him, so he must once again try hard to survive his "term" at Splurch Academy!
As the second book in the series, the reader learns more about the mysterious Dr. Fear: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror edited by R. While technically aimed at the young adult age group, most of these short stories are quite tame and could be read by middle-graders. Some of my personal favorites include Jennifer Allison's The Perfects. In this tale, Hannah and her family have recently moved, and it isn't long before she's asked by a neighbor to babysit. She's seen the two children and a baby playing outside. However, when she shows up to babysit, she finds there is no baby, and the children are obsessed with watching gory television shows about surgeries.
When she hears a baby crying, she discovers, too late, what the family was having for dinner. Heather Brewer's Shadow Children deals with the ever-popular and familiar fear of the dark. Dax is convinced that his younger brother, Jon, is exaggerating when he begs to sleep with a light on, insisting that the shadows will get him in the dark.
Dax doesn't believe Jon until he sees Jon being pulled into the closet by the shadows. Fear is highly recommended attention to any library collection. Reluctant readers may gravitate toward R. Nocturne by L. Wizards of the Coast, Availability: New and used. Flannery Lane is a 15 year old girl who possesses the power of great magic, not that her over-protective Uncle Anatole will allow her to use it, though he is a powerful wizard himself!
That is, until her uncle is suddenly incapacitated by a curse. Now Flan finds that she is the only one who can perform the magic necessary to ward off the vampire suspected of break-ins and the disappearances of young girls in Wicker Street. After all, what else could be responsible, given that a gorgeous new-to-town vampire hunter has implored her to create a powerful talisman to guard against the undead?
Flan must hope that she can defeat the vampire before she becomes its next victim. Limited only by a few sentence fragments and slight predictability, Nocturne is a highly engrossing, satisfying, and quick read. Harkrader does an excellent job of giving the fantasy world of the novel life and depth and presents us with characters that fit well in that world, but that we, as readers, can fully identify with. Particularly satisfying is the strong female protagonist who is not afraid to speak out against the stereotype of the clumsy, faint-hearted heroine. Recommended for readers aged and for public library YA horror collections.
Zombiekins by Kevin Bolger , illustrated by Andre Brecha. Razorbill, Available: New. When Stanley, unaware that Zombiekins has awakened, brings it to school, chaos ensues as it escapes and starts infecting the students. Stanley and his best friend Miranda race sort of to survive the onslaught and transform the zombies back into students.
Zombiekins looks like the kind of book fans of the Captain Underpants books would love. Stanley is regularly victimized by the school bully, with even his best friend totally indifferent to his situation. Stanley is also shown as clueless and slow, especially compared to Miranda. Even his attempt at heroism is a failed joke. Upper elementary kids might go for the overall cutesy-creepy feel of the story, which is effectively reinforced by the illustrations, but the story comes across as very mean-spirited, and upper elementary kids get enough of that from their peers.
Zombie loving adults, though, will find a lot to enjoy. Adult zombie lovers, though, may want to check this out! Contains: violence, bullying, destruction of property. Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon. Dial, Ursula Vernon has a winning recipe with her Dragonbreath series.
Fast-paced, fantastical adventures combined with situations the average kid can relate to, a comic book style, and a dose of humor are a perfect match to beginning independent readers, reluctant readers, and five year old boys. Big Eddy, the komodo dragon who terrorizes the school, singles Danny out at lunch, and his teacher, Mr. In the first book, Dragonbreath , Danny flunks his assignment on the ocean, but his teacher gives him a second chance- one more night to get it right. Of the three volumes, this is my favorite. Volume two, Attack of the Ninja Frogs , introduces Suki, a Japanese exchange student who is constantly getting ambushed by ninja frogs.
Danny, a huge fan of ninja movies, takes her on the bus to visit his grandfather in mythological Japan, where they discover that Suki is the reincarnated queen of the ninjas. Chaos, involving ninjas, samurai, and a volcano, ensues. In volume three, Curse of the Were-wiener , I cheered the return of the vicious potato salad. All the students except Danny, who brought his lunch, start growing hair between their scales and acting strange I was a little lost on this one.
Since when are hot dogs hairy? Unfortunately, in this case, Danny does not have a mythological relative he can go to for help. Wendell, bitten by a were-wiener, clearly needs help, fast. The hunt for a solution includes risky searches of the school kitchen, a nighttime adventure in the sewers, rats, and a battle with the alpha-wurst. Of the three books, Curse of the Were-wiener is the scariest and freakiest- rats in the school cafeteria are much more of a possibility than ninja frogs from mythological Japan.
However, Vernon approaches the story with creativity and humor and uses color effectively to communicate the menace of the were-wieners, with their red eyes. Readers of the first two books expecting more of the same should probably know that Curse of the Were-weiner has a slightly darker flavor. After all, once you get past the covers and the sensationalistic name, this is, in fact, a reference book, one with the power to fascinate just about anyone, complete with a table of contents, detailed index, and compelling color illustrations.
Facts about food, art, and science, world records, the supernatural, and weird weather abound in this book. As tempting as Enter If You Dare! Anyone who doubts the intelligence or reading ability of those who read the book, though, had better think twice. Designed to draw kids in and respectful of their ability to soak up information, Enter if You Dare is a great tool and a fun book that all kinds of kids will enjoy.
Contains: mentions of decapitation, cannibalism, and the supernatural, and disturbing images. Aldwyns Academy by Nathan Meyer. Aldwyns Academy is a school of magic, an academy that every young aspiring wizard wishes to go to. Well, all of them except for Dorian. He wants to be a great warrior like his father, but his mother, a powerful sorceress in service to the king, wants him to follow in her footsteps and has pulled a lot of strings to make sure that happens.
The only one who seems to have any faith in him is Caleb, an unlikely half-orc wizard in training who has no other friends. Together, these mismatched heroes will discover why dire wolves, bugbears and ghosts are invading the school grounds and threatening the academy. Aldwyns Academy takes off running and continues the high-adventure marathon from the first page to the last. The author also does a fine job of presenting a moral lesson in the form of Caleb, the half-orc child. Children who love fantasy stories are sure to like this one. Reviewed by: Bret Jordan. Zombies falls into this trap.
The book presents images of video games such as Left for Dead and Dead Rising, and shows the covers of George Romero movies, which are rated R. In short, images are shown of products that are not appropriate for kids, and given the reading level, it could easily end up in very young hands. While Xtreme Monsters: Zombies has plenty of colorful and gross imagery that kids might enjoy, librarians will want to be aware of its content, and elementary school media specialists might want to pass on this one. Penguin Group, ISBN Meet Olive, an 11 year old girl new to the neighborhood whose family has just moved into a mansion with quite a past.
When Olive dons them, she learns there is far more to the strange, dark paintings that seem permanently affixed to the walls than she thought — she can actually step inside and enter the paintings. In one painting, Olive meets Morton, who, along with three guardian cats, helps her discover the true nature of the sinister Aldous McMartin and his granddaughter Annabelle.
Olive inadvertently releases Annabelle from her painting, and now Annabelle is intent on bringing Mr. McMartin back to life so he can reclaim his mansion at the expense of Olive and her family. Beautifully detailed illustrations are interspersed throughout the story, adding to the highly descriptive narrative.
Reviewed by Kelly Fann. Penguin Young Readers Group, Benjamin Franklinstein Lives by Matthew McElligott and Larry Taxbury intertwines history and science to create a very light-hearted tale about Benjamin Franklin reappearing in the 21st century and his subsequent friendship with his neighbor, Victor Godwin. Ben believes his Custodian has woken him to do the work of the Modern Order of the Prometheus, but there is no Custodian in sight, only Victor, a young scientist in the making. Lively dialogue, humorous situations, and fantastic illustrations create an entertaining read in Benjamin Franklinstein Lives.
A Vampire is Coming to Dinner! Each page gives one of the rules and the page then folds out to show a devious little boy in process of breaking the rules, to the dismay of the visiting vampire. All is well at the end as both child and vampire appear in a surprise popup, having a good old time!
Audiobooks for Road Trips with Kids
The art is clever and the mischievous little boy tormenting the vampire by breaking every rule is sure to get giggles out of children as they appreciate the sight gags. Contains: Rampant rule breaking! Ghost Dog Secrets by Peg Kehret. At the encouragement of a ghost dog, he starts to bring food and water to the German shepherd, and soon realizes that the dog is being abused.
Peg Kehret does a great job of capturing the emotions of a dog lover. The ghost dog subplot was an afterthought at best. Kehret does a good job of navigating the moral gray area that is sometimes associated with rescuing neglected pets. The discussion of animal abuse and rescue was a little heavy-handed at times, but it does have a lot of good tips for animal lovers. I do recommend this book for children that love dogs, but not so much for children looking for something spooky.
Review by Cherylynne W. Available: New and Used. Brief, simple text accompanies color photographs of children in the garden planting and taking care of the pumpkins as they grow. The candid photos will draw young readers into the story, and there are some good opportunities to talk about gardening, plants, and the life cycle- Pumpkin Circle is about much more than Halloween.
Young readers may just love the pictures, though, especially in the last few pages, which show creatively carved jack-o-lanterns glowing in the darkness-a wonderful finish for the life of a pumpkin, as the cycle starts over again. This is a perfect preschool read aloud that can also be enjoyed independently by children in the early elementary grades. Candlewick, ISBN The other letters appear throughout the book representing different creatures and items of Halloween.
Kontis includes some alphabet book in-jokes, as when the letter J apologizes to the jack-o-lantern for picking another word, saying "J can't always be for jack-o-lantern". Q, always a hard letter to get creative with, successfully breaks the mold, and S and X come up with an imaginative pairing. Unfortunately for the letter B, booted from his early place in the alphabet, other letters keep stealing his costume ideas.
The letter P is a pirate, with the same costume as B's buccaneer; Y's yeti is identical to B's Bigfoot. Readers will cheer and jump when B finally gets the last word! AlphaOops goes a step beyond the typical letter representing a word in that the letters themselves have been given some personality. It is a wonderful read for kids who have become acquainted with the alphabet and is engaging enough that parents will enjoy sharing it with their kids.
Once Halloween has passed, children and adults who love this book will want to check out the first book in the series, AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First. A few months ago, he could only look at the pictures, but now he can read a lot of the words, and he will look at, talk about, and try to convince me to read the recipes and make them… right away! The introduction is dramatic and hooked him immediately, and the pictures are gorgeous. Other recipes that did allow the kids to participate a little more were still trickier that we thought they would be- when we tried making "Funny Bones" we discovered that it's a lot more difficult to dip pretzels with marshmallows in melted chocolate than it sounds.
We had fun, but our final product looked nothing like the picture! Still, there are a lot of suggestions on how to create a creepy-but-not-too-creepy spread for a Halloween party, and the author's "mom-sense" attitude meant that I felt a lot more comfortable trying the recipes.
Ghoulish Goodies contains creative and easy to read recipes, attractive pictures although we would have liked to see more , and some simple ideas that could really impress guests at a Halloween party. It's a lot of fun to look at and to read. Unlike a lot of Halloween "idea" books, the recipes really are something you can see kids enjoying.
But for the recipe-impaired, don't be deceived into thinking that the author's recipes are quite as "easy" as they look. If your kids like to cook, and like Halloween, they'll get very excited about Ghoulish Goodies. My son was thrilled to see us review it here. Just make sure to supervise closely, both for safety's sake and to intervene if the level of frustration gets too high. Recommended for families and for cookbook collections in either the children's department or general nonfiction collection in the public library.
Librarians, make sure you seek it out for your Halloween displays. Not only are these titles in high demand for older children and teens, but they are an incredible storytelling resource. Finally, there are some truly creepy and scary tales about ghosts, witches, shapeshifters, and the supernatural. More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has longer stories. Many of them have sudden endings. Scary Stories 3 continues with more detailed and sometimes complicated stories.
The volume wraps up with a couple of mildly funny stories. All three books have detailed notes and bibliographies provided by the author. With just a few strokes and some shading, Gammell ups the scare level considerably. Tormented, skeletal faces, ragged clothes, distorted and indistinct figures, glowing eyes and teeth, empty chairs, empty baskets, empty clothes The Scary Stories Treasury i s highly recommended to libraries and readers who do not already own copies of the Scary Stories books, and recommended as a reference volume for school and public libraries.
Appropriate, based on maturity of the reader, for grades 4 and up. Contains: Violence, gore, cannibalism, deception, the occult, witchcraft, murder. Review by Kirsten Kowalewski. Adam Gidwitz connects several of the stories from the Grimm Brothers and original content by following two children with very familiar names- Hansel and Gretel- on a winding, terrifying journey. While some of these stories will seem familiar, and there are predictable elements, there are still plenty of surprises along the way.
Most of them are interesting and fun, and blend well into the original tale. Parents may want to read ahead. Gidwitz shows obvious enthusiasm for these stories as both a reader and as a storyteller and teacher who has thought about and seen for himself the impact these stories have on children. Grades It shows the magical equipment that will be needed before approaching a dragon, along with what is required once the dragon accepts the young girl or boy as an apprentice.
Each type of dragon is carefully examined to let the young apprentice know what to look out for and what not to do. This guide is a well thought out book about dragons that is presented almost like an enlistment guide for a dragon academy, told from they Dungeons and Dragons mythology standpoint.
I could easily see this book being handed out to prospective Dragon Riders a generation or two before the story of Eragon was written. It reads like a factual textbook, though far more interesting. Twelve questions are asked and the results are presented on the next page where the child can see which dragon best fits him or her. Finally, each page is loaded with artwork that is sure to interest anyone who loves to look at dragons. This book covers almost everything a young monster-hunting wizard might need to know before going out on a weekend of adventure.
It tells what supplies the young wizard will need and gives detailed instructions on how to make things like staffs, wands, potions, clothing and backpacks. Helpful camping tips are also provided for when the young wizard finds himself in the outdoors or in a dungeon. Not only are tips provided, but also detailed instructions are given as to how to create a lamp, put together a campsite, finding food, avoiding traps and navigating. Rotruck has done an excellent job of putting together one of the most entertaining instructional books I have yet seen.
Not only are the activities illustrated, but the book is packed with original illustrations and images pulled from the later editions of the Dungeons and Dragons rule books. Availability: New and Used In. Can Derek and Ravine help Abigail before something truly awful happens to her? Or to them? Those who read and loved the first book will definitely like this one, too.
Special note for series readers: I recommend reading this series in order. Review by Stacey L. Jitterbug Jam practically begs to be read aloud. It succeeds on its own merits- the illustrations, and even the physical book, take a backseat to the narrative. The illustrations and design of the book are absolutely worth exploring, though. Using a variety of styles, Alexis Deacon creates a vision of a monster world that will suck the reader right in. Background colors are muted grays, yellows, browns, and greens. The monsters would blend in, too, without the heavy lines that separate them from their surroundings, and their clothes, which pop out with color.
The placement of the words and illustrations on each page accentuate the narrative. For example, the illustration on the first page is a small picture of our narrator, Bobo, surrounded by empty space. Speech balloons provide an informal approach to dialogue that will be familiar to those comfortable with a graphic format as well.
Jitterbug Jam is the story of a little monster hiding from the boy under his bed. Evin is a mischievous young man living in a small village who dreams of excitement and adventure. He and his friend Jorick soon find more adventure than they bargained for when gnolls ransack their village and kidnap everyone. Nothing is what it seems, as friends become strangers, and enemies become allies. Monster Slayers is a book for young readers. There is a purpose in the shallowness though, one that should catch the reader by surprise as the plot twists and morphs into surprisingly good story.
The author does a fine job of creating creatures that the young reader will easily be able to visualize. Older readers who are fond of their Dungeons and Dragons days will remember those times as they see the rogue in Evin, the fighter in Jorick and the magic-user in Bet. Read it! They have had a lot of fun looking at the pictures, hearing the story, and chanting the words, though. The customer appears to float, rather than walk, and then he inserts a straw into one of the books and begins to suck on it!
Once he notices the boy, the customer makes an abrupt exit, and when the boy discovers that the words have been sucked right off the pages, he quickly gives chase. Venturing into the cemetery, the boy realizes he has encountered a vampire! Luckily, the vampire, named Draculink, has developed an allergy to blood, and the only food he can digest is ink, sucked from the pages of a book. Of course, Draculink's inability to drink blood doesn't stop his urge to bite, and he turns the boy into an ink drinker as well, inspiring an ironic, insatiable desire for books.
This darkly funny early chapter book will be a favorite of any teacher, librarian, or parent who has ever tried to reach a child who dislikes reading, and the fast moving plot, believable voice, humor, and mild scariness will appeal to many reluctant readers. It's a perfect short read-aloud for a younger child who has developed an attention span for longer stories than those found in picture books, and the first book that, between the action-packed story and evocative illustrations, actually created a physical reaction in my son- he ran around with his tongue sticking out, demanding a straw, for at least an hour, and begged to hear the story again.
If you can find a copy, The Ink Drinker is a must have for any library collection and nearly any reader.
Highly recommended for all libraries. The Fox River flows for miles through Wisconsin and Illinois, and when Donna Latham announced that she was writing and collecting ghost stories from the surrounding towns, area residents reached out to share their tales. Others, like "Another Cup for Willa", about a woman who is visited by the ghostly presence of a dead friend on her birthday, are personal recollections.
Often the two seem to overlap. The first story, "The Train Track Ghosts" is one of these. The storyteller's voice is so vivid that you can almost see him sitting on the author's porch, but underneath the trappings of the tale he tells is a recognizable urban legend. The quality of the stories vary. Others feel awkward- although the plotting is good, the author frequently uses complex vocabulary, and her attempts at dialogue and writing in dialect often seem forced. Latham also chose to illustrate her book with a strange and cluttered collection of clip art, which is distracting and interrupts the flow of her stories.
However, she does a good job of fitting in local history and background without overwhelming the narrative, a difficult thing to do, and does a nice job at establishing the setting for her stories, so she accomplishes what she set out to do rather well. While Ghosts of the Fox River Valley is an interesting read, there isn't enough new material here to recommend it for all libraries. However, public and school libraries and local history buffs in the area Latham describes in her book ought to take a look. In particular, school libraries and upper elementary or middle school teachers may want to consider it in connection with teaching to social studies standards that focus on local history and language arts standards focused on speaking, listening, and writing, as Ghosts of the Fox River Valley is a good resource for beginning an oral history project.
Beyond possible uses in the classroom, the same kids who love Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories books will love having ghost stories set in their area available to them. Recommended to public and school libraries and local history collections in the area of the Fox River Valley.
The Nose by Nikolai Gogol , ill. It's not just any nose, either, it is the nose of one of his customers, a self-important bureaucrat named Kovaliov. Terrified to leave the nose where it can be connected to him, Yankelovich sets off to hide it, but his furtive behavior attracts official attention. In the meantime, Kovaliov wakes up to discover he has no nose. Covering his face with a handkerchief, he starts down the street, where he spots his nose, dressed as a fine gentleman and high official.
Kovaliov hesitates to approach a social superior, even a former appendage, but he wants his nose back and confronts the nose, who denies any connection with him. Eventually a police officer returns the nose confiscated from Yankelovich, but it won't stick to Kovaliov's face!
About the Reading List
Kovaliov is unable to show his face in public without ridicule, shutting down his social ambitions, as the nose-posing-as-officer has become a sensation. Then one day Kovaliov wakes up to find the nose back on his face, firmly attached. Anyone looking for logic or narrative structure in The Nose will be disappointed. The pieces don't fit together neatly It is nightmarish in some ways- finding a nose in his breakfast must have been pretty stomach-churning for Yankelovich, and when he abruptly disappears from the story the imagination finds ominous ways to fill in the blanks. Gogol is an important figure in Russian literature, with a talent for the surreal who wrote in a different time and a different context, and he wasn't writing for children.
The setting, names, and characters may seem alien to many children, the vocabulary is advanced, and the social satire will probably fly over kids' heads. But when it comes down to it, this is one giant, horrifying, absurd joke about a nose, and kids definitely get that. Reading it out loud, it is almost impossible not to at least giggle. Gennadij Spirin's illustrations will make certain that kids get the joke.
Many pages are framed with incredibly detailed drawings of St. Petersburg, Russia, the setting of the story, and observant readers will spot the bizarre giant nose in its plumed hat traveling the streets in its elaborate horse-drawn carriage. Everything in the full page illustrations seems slightly exaggerated, so the most absurd elements aren't jarring, and readers won't even realize how far they are suspending disbelief until they are well into the story.
Spirin's representations of the nose are amazing. Some of them seem very cartoony, but in full uniform, the nose does appear to be its own person, so to speak. And, in fact, this book has been used to teach upper elementary students about personification and figurative language. Although it's a picture book, very young children won't be ready for it, but elementary and middle students may enjoy it, especially with some guidance. It's also a good choice for older students looking for a nonthreatening introduction to Russian literature, and readers of any age who like a touch of the bizarre.
Jeff Szpriglas has created a guide to fear. Phobias, superstitions, killer animals, monsters, cryptids, scary movies and more- Szpirglas examines them all in Fear This Book. The book is much more than a list of fears, though. The author also explains the physiological and psychological reactions to fright, and details experiments and therapies that have been used to understand fear.
Silver Dragon Codex by R. Mirrorstone, Jace, the young high wire acrobat must help Belen, a beautiful dancer, acquit herself of the charges being brought by a white robed mage from Palanthas. Surely the beautiful young girl cannot actually be a silver dragon in disguise Jace, Belen, and a few others from the circus head off to determine the truth behind the story. Along the way they are confronted by werewolves and a chimera, and the truth turns out to be far more complicated than it first seemed. I say this is the weakest entry so far because the other stories in the series are well thought out and all of the varying story lines are wrapped up neatly by the end of each book.
I find this to be important in a YA novel. The Silver Dragon Codex leaves many things unexplained, and also suffers from problems with continuity and weak writing. I also found this book to be a bit darker than the others, and for some reason it came across a bit dull. Perhaps it is because the characters are less likable than the ones in previous novels, or perhaps the problem is the overly complicated plot. Although this is an okay book, and readers following the series may want to try it, it is nowhere near as good as previous books in the series.
Contains: Fantasy Violence without gore. R eview by KDP. The Gates by John Connolly. Poor little Samuel is not having a good time. His parents have recently split up, he's very smart but tends to annoy or creep out most adults, and he perplexes most of the kids his age. He decides to go trick-or-treating 3 days early in order to show initiative and he and his little four legged pal Bosworth stumble across the beginning of the end - a bored uppity couple and their equally bored friends.
When boredom overtakes the Abernathys they decide to give the dark arts a try - mix in a few scientists who are trying to create an artificial black hole a few countries away and you have the opening to the gates of hell. It may sound a bit far-fetched or over the top, but readers will find themselves engrossed by sweet little Samuel and his wonderful dog. Not to mention the demons who are having a harder time at this taking over the world thing then they expected - I mean no one ever tells demons to look both ways before crossing the street.
I laughed, I smiled, I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. But at the same time I really felt that this was a novel for adults, thinking back on their pre-teen years. With a splendid use of the English language and a dry but light sense of humor, the author has written a fun book that many will enjoy. Review by KDP. The Composer is Dead is a pretty sophisticated picture book.
The humor, vocabulary, and need for context are not simple at all. My four year old, who is in the target audience for picture books, loves music, and always wants me to identify the individual instruments in orchestral music, was totally baffled by the story. What are musical notes and what do they look like? What are the names of the percussion instruments?
What does a conductor actually do? What are all those names at the end of the book? The illustrations were often confusing. Which silhouetted instrument in the illustration is an oboe and which is a clarinet? Who are all the dancing people and why are they dancing?
What makes The Composer Is Dead really interesting is the audio CD that accompanies it, which actually plays music by the individual instruments as the Inspector interrogates them. This was fascinating and really brought the story to life. Recommended for elementary and middle school libraries. Aladdin, ISBN: What beasts, you ask? Why, your standard run-of-the-mill trolls, goblins, gryphons, and fish-headed giraffes.
Ulf also happens to be a werewolf. His friends include the human vet, a fairy, and a giant. They work together to keep bad guys from hunting and hurting various mythical monsters. In this book, the bad guys have rounded up some young trolls and are planning on hunting them for sport, so Ulf and the rest of the RSPCB head off to figure out what is going on. Think of the violence along the lines of reading Wile E. Coyote attempting to catch the Roadrunner- it sounds far worse then it actually is. Most of it is actually rather silly and will garner giggles from the young ones.
The book is written in a large typeface that will be appealing to many of the younger crowd, and there are occasional drawings that are quite good. The book is a fast read, and there is a lot of action jammed into a short number of pages, so as an adult, expect for it to whiz right by. As far as characterization, there really isn't much.
Ulf is a boy who wants to be included and to help, his curiosity and sense of adventure gets him involved in something he was told to stay home from, and in the end he saves the day. The morals of the tale include not judging others, not harming animals, and that everything has a right to live. In the end this is a quick read that kids a bit young for the Harry Potter will enjoy.
Many adults have a vision of childhood as a time of innocence, but children have a dark side. Children push boundaries to provoke reactions- to find out where the line really is, and who cares enough to keep them safe. Where the Wild Things Are is the story of Max, a little boy with a big imagination who is sent to his room for making mischief, and finds himself in a strange world where he easily overcomes the terrible Wild Things and becomes their king, the wildest of them all. The words are almost unnecessary- it all takes place in the imagination.
The story resonates with many children but it is a journey to a dark and sometimes frightening place, and very sensitive kids may not be ready for it. You never know, though… my own four year old, who is afraid of goblins and sleeps with his lights on, listened quietly and examined the illustrations carefully.
Highly recommended for children of all ages, and an excellent choice for reading aloud. By Phillipe Goosens Clarion Books, Only Sarah can hear and see the ghost, but its mere presence gets in the way of her relationship with her parents. Seeing them in a cloud around Sarah, though, it hits home that even little lies add up to a lot of misery.
Available: Used. Anne Rockwell once again presents an accessible text aimed at preschoolers and kindergarteners. The same class that appeared in Show and Tel l Day , also a collaboration with her daughter Lizzy, is now preparing for the school Halloween parade. The illustrations are colorful, with a gentle humor, and complement the text well. The illustrations are a dead giveaway that readers should expect a tickle to the funny bone.
There is a lot to see in the illustrations for those readers who really want to take the time to look. But the illustrations are just part of what makes the story work. Halloween Night will probably be most appreciated by kids in grades Review b y Kirsten Kowalewski. Hassan, illustrated by Betsy Bowen. Dhegdeer is a monstrous cannibal woman endowed with incredible strength, speed, and hearing, whose evil ways have cursed the lush Hargrega Valley in Somalia, turning it into a desert wasteland. She builds a hut next to her house to lure and trap unwary travelers needing shelter and water, and enspells Bowdheer, a jar in which she stores human flesh, to alert her if anyone touches it.
As she looks for food for the weary travelers, she accidentally bumps into Bowdheer, who wakes a very hungry Dhegdeer. Dhegdeer is a character from Somali folklore used to scare children into good behavior. Vivid colors are painted in broad strokes over black gesso, giving the illustrations a shadowy feel. While figures are outlined in black, they are indistinct. No child would want to see that face in person! This book is a project of the Minnesota Humanities Commission and Somali Bilingual Book Project, which is intended to preserve heritage languages there is a considerable Somali population in Minnesota and increase English literacy skills for refugees.
As a bilingual title, the same text appears in both English and Somali on facing pages, and can be enjoyed in either language. Teachers may find possible curriculum connections with this book as well. Highly recommended for folktale collections in the public library and in elementary and middle school library media centers. Mirrorstone, ISBN: A Practical Guide to Vampires presents itself as a nonfiction handbook compiled by a vampire hunter and enthusiast.
The author describes their habits and haunts, and gives advice to the reader on how to track and hunt vampires, and survive to tell the story. The pages look yellowed and stained, and there are handwritten notes throughout. A Practical Guide to Vampires is visually impressive. The illustrations are beautifully done and dynamic in nature, and will capture the attention of even reluctant readers. Interest in this book is not limited to kids, though. Adults with interest in vampires may also like it, and will note some dry humor that more literal minded kids will miss, as well as an oblique reference to Twilight.
A Practical Guide to Vampires works just fine as a stand alone title, a handsome and compelling addition to the growing collection of handbooks to the supernatural. Highly recommended for elementary and middle school library media centers and general public library collections. Contains: references to blood-drinking. Stargazer Publishing, This book has it all- secret tunnels and talking animals, mad science and real monsters. This is the perfect Halloween themed book for in class reading in elementary schools and early middle schools.
Equal parts scary, mysterious, gross and silly, it's pure fun. It's definitely recommended for all collections aimed at fostering a love of reading. Green Dragon Codex by R. Scamp is one of the smaller boys in his town, and has always been picked on by the larger boys.
He has learned to be quick to run and light of foot when the bullies are about. Then comes the fateful day when Scamp flees from the bullies into the darker parts of the forest, and comes across a chest laying next to the body of a large, dead, green dragon. What is contained within the chest will take him on an adventure where he will encounter tragedy, magic, dwarves, dragons, daemons and a race more ancient then humankind.
They meet with strange and often scary things along the way. They learn that being family means being there for one another when you really need it, to trust in themselves and that perhaps nothing is "born" evil. Can they save all of Krynn before the strange black hooded, red-eyed mage gets what he wants?
This is a YA book, though it is entertaining enough for adults. Most adults will find the characters rather thin but still amusing. Green Dragon Codex is good for the 12 and up crew, and a nice introduction to fantasy for the younger generation. Contains: some mild violence, evil plots and plans, ADHD behavior saves the day. Brass Dragon Codex by R. This is a very simple and straightforward tale of friendship, what it takes to be a friend, and how to have friends you have to make sure that first of all YOU are a good friend. Our story starts with a young Brass Dragon discovering that his parents have been done in by an evil Blue dragon.
The little dragon is lonely and unhappy now that he is living alone and looks high and low for a friend. Meanwhile a little gnome gets himself kicked out of the city for an invention gone wrong - but he has an even better idea, if only people would listen to him. The dragon and gnome cross paths in the desert and learn the truth about friendship while helping each other to reach their goals. It's a really sweet story that many will enjoy.
For the adults, there may be a bit lacking in the character department, but I handed this book off to my 11 year old son and it seems to be right up his alley. I would recommend this for the 10 and up crew depending on their reading ability. For those concerned about violence - the Brass Dragon's parents are killed, and there is a bit of violence, though none of it is overly gory.
I would not give this to my 7 year old, but the middle school group should be fine. Something strange is going on at 56 Water Street. Derek and Ravine see the lights turning on and off and find out that they are the only ones who can actually see the house: to everyone else it is just an empty lot. When they work up the courage to go into the house, they find out that the ghost of a teenaged girl in the house has made it visible because she wants their attention Strangway has created a believable world using simple and accessible language that is also creatively descriptive. Her characters are of the brave, mischievous kind that kids will identify with and love.
At times, the writing is repetitious from chapter to chapter, but rather than being a detriment to the story, this makes it ideal as a chapter-a-night ghost story for the year old range. Those anxious to find out what happens need not worry, however, as 56 Water Street is a quick read at pages. Recommended for public libraries, particularly those wishing to acquire more titles by Canadian authors. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
Nobody Bod Owens is, in most respects, your average kid, except that he lives in a graveyard. After his parents and sister are murdered when he is just a toddler, he is adopted by ghosts in a cemetery near his home and is given a rare gift: the Freedom of the Graveyard, which allows him to do many of the same things as the ghosts, including walking through walls. However, there is one thing that he can't do, which is leave the graveyard. Leaving could put him in danger of being found by Jack As always, Neil Gaiman creates an atmosphere at once terrifying and captivating for all ages.
The accompanying black and white illustrations, courtesy of Dave McKean, add to the atmosphere of the story and are placed well throughout the novel. Gaiman's characters display a greatness of depth that is not often seen in literature for this age range. The main characters are also seen at various stages of their youth, making them easy to identify with for children, teens and adults alike. This is a page-turner that no reader will want to put down until every page has been read.
Winner of the Newberry Medal, this title is recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with children's literature collections. Notes: Contains violence, murder and potentially disturbing scenes. Turn the page and even things that might be scary to kids or mice are portrayed at their most benign and cutest. The book ends on a positive note, making it a good choice to share with first-time trick or treaters. Flashlight Press, Available: Pre-order for April 1st. Ethan has a problem. How will he ever get to sleep without his nightly scare?
There is a subversive appeal to I Need My Monster. Instead, he quickly takes control of the situation. While shadowed, they are whimsical and colorful, and scary monster claws and tails turn out to be attached to bright yellow, purple and green creatures more comic than they are frightening.
Although I Need My Monster is targeted at year olds, kids at the younger end of that spectrum may not have the sophistication to appreciate or understand the humor, and some of the word choices and illustrations could have a powerful impact. Particularly with the preschool crowd, this is a book to share and discuss.
I Need My Monster is a great choice for middle and upper elementary kids who have outgrown their fears of the monster under the bed, and now enjoy a delicious scare, especially one leavened with humor. Monsters on Machines by Deb Lund, ill. Robert Neubecker. Harcourt, Monsters on Machines will be a hit with the preschool and early elementary crowd. It has plenty of monsters, both silly and scary, with gleeful delight at running construction machinery and pride in building a house. From the very first page the monsters are safety conscious, donning hard hats and earplugs, they enthusiastically eat lunch, using their monster manners, take their naps without a fuss, and clean up their construction mess at the end of the day.
Robert Neubecker skillfully uses vibrant color to bring his ink drawings to life, and his illustrations make it almost possible to imagine that the pictures were drawn and colored by a monster-loving child. Both Lund and Neubecker use every space they can to involve kids in the story, even using the inside covers, which have miniature drawings of construction machines on them, to give parents and children the opportunity to make the book a truly interactive experience by talking about and matching the machines. All in all, Monsters on Machines is a great choice for active, mud-loving, mess-making kids, especially those fascinated by monsters, machines, or construction of any kind.
Monster Musical Chairs by Stuart J. Murphy , ill. HarperCollins, The plot is pretty simple. By the end of the game and the book , your child will be saying the words with you! Monster Musical Chairs is part of the MathStart series, which is intended to get kids to see the fun in math, and the focus of this particular book is subtraction, targeted to ages 3 and older. In the back of the book, there are suggestions for activities and additional books for parents who want to use the book for direct instruction and to extend mathematical exploration.
Even if you never look at that back page, though, you and your child can still rock to the imaginary music of five whimsical monsters racing around a bunch of chairs. And who knows, maybe along the way, the kid will learn a little math. Coraline by Neil Gaiman. When I saw the advertisements for the movie Coraline , I knew that with a 7 year old I would have to watch the film so I quickly grabbed the book off the shelf to make sure I'd read it first.
How weird it all is I read it in just about a half an hour or so Little Coraline is bored. Both of her parents work at home, but they are always busy with work, and rarely have time to play with her. She wanders about their house a flat converted from a much larger house and visits with the neighbors. They don't seem to really notice her, though- everyone talks at Coraline rather than to her.
She enjoys exploring and eventually comes across a door in her flat that opens to a brick wall. Her mother explains that it used to be a door that went into the neighboring flat, but now it's bricked up in case they rent it out. Suddenly strange things crawl through the night, and the door that once led to a wall of bricks, opens to a long dark hallway, and a world disturbingly similar to the one she just left Coraline uses her strength, intelligence, cunning and determination to find her missing parents, and to get back home. As an adult I thought to myself - this book will scare the crapola out of little ones!
In the back, though, Gaiman states that the book was frightening to adults but an exciting adventure to children. Perplexed, I handed it off to my 7 year old. With a little help, he made his way through it. Not only did he manage to read it, but there were no nightmares. He was thrilled with it and can't wait for the movie. I'm still perplexed as to how this book brings out such completely different emotions in children and adults.
I don't know that the movie will be able to pull it off I have a hunch that the movie might encourage leaving the light in the hallway on at night. If you are an adult, don't let that stop you from reading this wonderful book. Think of it more like Alice in Wonderland and not the Disney version either , or The Wizard of Oz , focused on the scenes with the flying monkeys and the witch. Highly recommended, excellent novel.
Read it to 7 and up, readable by 10 and up. Review by K D P. Grimly packs a lot into each illustration, too. Contains: zombies, child kidnapping and imprisonment, implied cannibalism, and a variety of creepy creatures. A lush, nearly decadent book, A Practical Guide to Faeries is exactly what it advertises, a guide to finding, dealing with and surviving faeries.
With beautiful art on every page, along with textured spots and even recipes, it teases every sense, pulling children and adults into the world of the Feywild. This book is high fantasy, but doesn't forget the darker side of fae, profiling fae who drink blood and try to drown adventurers and realms where you age a year a day.
The fae's trickiness and love of jokes some of which can be harmful to humans are also mentioned often, lending a tone of adventure and danger to the fairy tales. With its vivid art and fun "guided" style it's a great addition to fantasy collections whether library or public. Reviewed by Michele Lee.
All ages. Little Wolf helps his father with chores in this bilingual edition. Exes et al. God Made Wonderful Me! Learning that God cares for all creatures comforts a worried bird. What happens when a fix-it fellow needs help himself? Grandfather returns in this sequel to The Last Polar Bears.
A fourth grader decides that breaking rules is sometimes the best choice. The community pitches in to grow a garden in a vacant lot. A year-old working as a horse groom for the Union Army surreptitiously joins the troops. Yours for Justice, Ida B. When Jake accidentally unlatches the gates of all the animal pens, chaos ensues.
Books for Pride Month - Canadian Children's Book Centre
Hoping for a snow day, Ruthie invents a song and dance to summon a snowfall. A high school senior meets an Australian girl with a mysterious past. Floating pinecones find homes along a river's winding path. The boldest knight in the Kingdom of Armpit embarks on a quest to best a slimy villain. Audrey, Wait!
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Audrey becomes famous after dumping her boyfriend, who writes a hit song about her. Leigh Purtill introduces an overweight aspiring actress with a big heart. A year-old and her friends try to make a Los Angeles newcomer a star. Will her anti-prom letter in the school newspaper destroy Cindy's social status? In Louisiana, a girl discovers she is able to communicate with spirits. A princess and her friend uncover clues to discover who is threatening her. Joining Drama Club is Too Hot! And Sorority offers Zeta or Omega? Children learn how to save the earth in this board book, which comes with a reusable shopping bag.
First published in , this is the story of a butterfly. What Colour Is Your World? Mother moon finds her lost moonlet amidst a lot of otters. This cumulative tall tale concludes with a flea circus. Sally's new socks won't stop growing. A toy airplane and a stuffed dog fly through the Paris sky. A boy befriends a Martian he meets on the moon. A girl makes a butterfly-shaped kite so she can enjoy butterflies all winter.
George, illus. A girl and her family emigrate to America from Russia and view the Statue of Liberty. Geese leave their pond to explore the world. In this space-age mystery, a girl searches for her missing archeologist parents. A new player replaces Hutch at shortstop. The ghost of John Brown seems to haunt a boy and his family.