Halloween is now just two weeks away. My kids are still flip-flopping on their costume choices and the Trick-or-Treat candy has been bought (and not yet eaten by me!). We've got some pumpkins to buy and carve still and a corn maze not yet solved but we did make sure to get out our Halloween pictures books and start reading them. We have our favorites around here and I wanted to share them with you, in case you were on the lookout for some to share with your kids. A couple of these are old favorites, a couple are new this year but all of them are ones we'll be keeping around to read each year at this time.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
Room on the Broom follows and slightly clumsy witch as she travels on her broom. As she goes, she drops different items, like her hat and her wand, and makes friends when she drops to the ground to find them. She picks up the animals that have found her items along the way, until they become too heavy and the broom breaks. They encounter a hungry dragon along the way who wants to eat the witch but the animals scare off the dragon together. The witch makes a fancy broom with enough room for all of them and they head off together at the end of the book. It is truly adorable and one of our favorites. It's not specifically Halloween, but the main character is a witch, so we call it a Halloween book around here. The rhyming and repetition are perfect for children and makes it easy for young kids learning to read or for those who like to memorize their stories. The book is cute, not scary, which also makes it a perfect Halloween book for younger kids and we've been reading it for years and have still not tired of it. This one comes recommended by all of us!
Scaredy-Cat, Splat by Rob Scotton
Splat wants to be the scariest cat in school during his class' Halloween party, but doesn't have a scary costume. Splat is a bit of a scaredy-cat himself and finds that all of his friends costumes scare him more than his own. When his teacher reads a scary story in class, Splat get so scared he topples over his jack-0-lantern. When the lights come back on, the class is scared of a new creature in class! But it turns out to just be Splat with his own jack-o-lantern stuck on his head. The class loves it and Splat is happy to be the scariest cat in class. We haven't read any other Splat books as a family, so I'm not sure what the normal structure of these books are. Scaredy-Cat, Splat is loved by both of my kids (ages 6 and 3) but not nearly as much by either me or my husband. It's much more of a silly story for kids centered around a clumsy cat than a funny book for adults. There's no lesson to be learned or plot that matters at all, but the kids love it. And since we only bring this out in the fall, it really doesn't even matter that much. It's definitely not a book I could read over and over, but since my kids love it and giggle so much during it, I've kept it around. This book comes highly recommended by both my kids and is considered acceptable, if completely uninteresting, by me.
This book follows Jasper Rabbit, a regular rabbit who loves carrots. He eats them all the time, even steals them from the field near his house. At least he does until he thinks the carrots start following him. They show up everywhere. And no one else seems to notice. Finally Jasper has enough of the creepy carrots and comes up with a plan to make sure they stay in the field where they belong. The end has a funny twist so I won't spoil it here. But this is a perfect Halloween book for young kids. It isn't too scary, but is creepy enough to keep them on the edge of their seats and feeling like they're reading an actual scary story. And it's funny and interesting enough to keep parents from falling asleep reading after reading. Plus, all of the illustrations are done by Peter Brown, one of our favorites that I've mentioned on here before. In my book, those add up to a great children's picture book. And it's a Halloween book that can be kept out all year-long without feeling out-of-place. This book comes highly recommended by my whole family!
On the off-hand chance you are looking for your baby's first Halloween book or are shopping for a baby you know for Halloween, this is a great board book. The rhyme is perfect for the littlest kids and short enough to keep their attention. You can even sing the lines, if that's your thing. The book follows five little pumpkins who start out sitting on a gate. Each one says something about the night and the end has them rolling off together into the night. It's cute, short, simple, and easily memorized. It's been awhile since I've read it and I can still recite the entire book by heart. I'm pretty proud of myself. But in all honesty, that's part of what makes this so great for young kids. They can remember the lines on the pages themselves through the rhyme and the pictures and it makes them feel proud and excited to 'read' the book on their own. This fun, simple board book makes a great Halloween starter book for babies and toddlers and comes highly recommended by me and both of my kids!
That is our list of current must-read Halloween picture books. Since we're always looking for new books to read, I'd love it if you'd share your family's favorite Halloween pictures books with us in the comments!
It's no secret that I love to read. When we had kids, it was important that they love to read as well. So we started reading to them when they were babies. When they were old enough to look at books themselves, we made sure they had access to all kinds of books. And now that my son can read by himself, he begs me to take him to the library at least once or twice a week. And that's one request I have a hard time saying no to.
As you may know, this week is Children's Book Week. Children's Book Week promotes reading among kids and celebrates those who teach our kids to read. I couldn't pass up a chance to participate in this celebration and joined in the Children's Book Week Giveaway Hop! This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, KidLitFrenzy, Classic Children's Books, and Mymcbooks.
- Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
- Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
- Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
- Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown
- Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dawn by Mary Pope Osbourne
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Rules of the giveaway:
- You must follow me one of these ways to enter: RSS Feed, Email, Linky, Twitter, or Goodreads.
- You may gain extra entries by following more than one way.
- You must be 13 or older
- You need to live in the US. (I'm sorry!)
- The giveaway opens May 7th and ends May 13th.
- If you win, you need to respond within 48 hours of being notified or a new winner will be chosen.
- Alternatively, if you don't like any of the above books, you may pick a book of your choice (up to $12) as long as it qualifies as a children's or YA book.
- I am not responsible for items that are lost or damaged during shipping.
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This is a Giveaway Hop, so be sure to head over to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for the full list of blogs hosting giveaways.
In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Story Siren as a way to share the books we've gotten during the past week. I didn't get much, but that's actually a good thing. My pile of books is already way too big. Here are the few I did pick up this week anyway:
I bought Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout for my Kindle app from Amazon and I'm really excited to read it. I've heard tons of great things about this series (as well as her Lux series which I also haven't read yet) and I'm hoping it lives up to the hype.
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins was another Kindle book I couldn't pass up. I've been curious about this since I learned that The Hunger Games wasn't the only series Suzanne Collins had written. I can't wait to read more from her. And something completely different!
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake is the only book I checked out from the library this week. I need to get caught up on books but I can't go to the library and come back with nothing! I'm definitely intrigued by this one. I just hope it doesn't end up scaring the crap out of me!
That's it for my mailbox this week. What do you think? Which one should I read first? And don't forget to leave me a link in the comments so I can come and check it out your mailbox too!
Level: Middle Grade
Published: January 23, 2012
"You think you're a fairy godmother or something?" I asked. "Or something," Michael agreed. Edda is tired of her nickname, 'Mouse', and wants to be braver. But when her house is burgled on her thirteenth birthday, Edda is more afraid than ever. That is until new boy Michael Scot starts school. There's something peculiar -- and very annoying -- about know-it-all Michael. He claims to be a great alchemist who can help Edda overcome her fears by teaching her to build a golem. But surely they can't bring a giant mud monster to life? Can they? (Summary from Amazon)
How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is written from Edda's point of view. The book opens with Edda sitting on her front lawn after burglars have broken into her house and taken her birthday presents. We learn that Edda has moved around quite a bit in her 13 years, is nicknamed Mouse because she is always scared, and has only ever felt at home in this house. Until she no longer does. To keep her parents from moving again, she decides she's going to stop being Edda the Mouse for good and start being brave. And her new friend, the strange new student Michael Scot, is going to help her. Edda confides in Michael that she is scared and together they set out on an adventure that he promises will cure Edda of her scaredy-cat ways and maybe even keep the school bully away from her for good.
Alette J. Willis does a wonderful job writing this coming-of-age story. As readers we are given the chance to watch Edda grow from a scared little girl into a brave teenager who believes in herself. As the mother of a preschool girl, this is the kind of book I will want my daughter to read as she gets older and Edda is the kind of character I want her looking up to and relating to. While Edda doesn't always make the best choices, she always learns from her mistakes and makes everything right in the end. There isn't a lot of depth given to the secondary characters and the younger readers may not understand who Michael Scot is or why he is so strange, but the main characters are all very well written and relatable to the younger readers.
How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is full of suspense and real-life situations. While the title and cover suggest a scary, horror-filled book, the characters are never in much danger. Other than the burglary at the beginning and the short-lived fear the characters feel when faced with the Golem, the book is never too scary. This is ultimately a story about friendships, believing in yourself, working together, and facing your fears, not an action-adventure horror story about monsters.
And that is my favorite part. I would be perfectly happy for my kids to read this and they would be happy to pick up a book with the promise of a Golem inside. Teaching kids how to overcome fears by facing them head-on, that friendships aren't always easy but always worth it, and that you should always stand up for yourself, whether to the school bully or to your parents, is very important. When a book has both those lessons and a just-right amount of suspense and monsters for the younger readers, we can all be happy with it. I would definitely recommend How to Make a Golem and Terrify People to anyone over the age of eight.