AND BOO TO YOU TOO!
Halloween is creeping up on us yet
again. And you’re experiencing the changes Autumn brings to us. Cooler weather,
greyer skies, and colorful leaves floating to the ground. Make a big pile of
them and jump on in.
I love spooky stories, don’t you? Especially
if I’m tucked under at comforter with a mug of something hot. The stories in
this first review are just the right amount of scary and silly.
Beneath the Bed and Other
Illustrated by Letizia Rubegni
Mister Shivers receives a box
wrapped in brown paper and containing a tree branch, a doll’s eye, a piece of
an old quilt, and a toy’s rusty head. Beside the box is a dead rat. The note
that he finds in the box asks Mister Shivers to share the stories. Since he
loves scary stories. Here’s what he wrote. In the first story, a boy is
challenged to spend the night in the town’s haunted house. He finally convinces
his sister to go with him. They search house and find nothing scary until they
get to the attic bedroom. Underneath is something staring at them. Read to the
story to find out what’s there. In the second story a girl ends up with a hair
stuck in her throat all the way to her stomach. Since it doesn’t go away after
several days her mom takes her to the doctor who pulls it out, only to discover
that it’s not a hair. What is it? The third story tells of a boy who doesn’t
heed a warning to leave on the ratty quilt wrapped around an ugly statue his
mom bought. Guess what he does? In the third story, Oliver always forgets to
bring his toys in from outside. One night during a fierce storm, the toys get
even. The final story is about something scratching on a girl’s window. Her
parents keep telling her to just go to sleep because it’s only a tree branch.
Is it? Funny scary stories make this a good fit for a beginning reader who
likes to be given the shivers. The illustrations are just right for the book.
Teachers will have fun sharing these stories with their reading level 1
BIBLIO: 2019, Acorn/Scholastic, Ages
5 to 7, $4.99.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Early Readers
The next story is a bit more
sophisticated, but still fits the bill of being scary and sweet.
Fantasy lovers won’t be able to put
this book down. The sequel to Grim Lovelies is full of intrigue, danger,
romance whether welcomed or not. The main character, Anouk, is a beastie, the
lowest form of entity in this world. She can be switched from her owl form to
that of a human. Other of her beastie friends are a mouse, a wolf, and a cuddly
dog. Though beasties do seem to have specific special powers, Anouk is rare in
that she possesses the ability to perform magic. Other creatures in this world
are humans or pretties, goblins, and the “haute,” a.k.a. “shadow rulers” who control
the others and possess magic. Then there are the “snow children,” who only
appear when it snows. They also are magical, but it’s best not to kiss them.
And let’s not forget the witches, because they’ve made a mess of things, which
means that evil forces are taking over the world, killing everything they
touch. Anouk sets off to save everybody by going through the trials it takes to
become a witch, but before she goes, she turns down a prince who rules the
world. He thinks that as a married couple they can save everybody, but Anouk
doesn’t trust him. Lots of trials and tribulations later, our heroine and her
stalwart friends contain the evil power, but not without much peril and damage.
There are a number of parallels to the current state of our world to be
inferred from this delightful book.
BIBLIO: 2019, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Books for Young Readers, Ages 14 +, $17.99.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Young Adult
Yeah, yeah, I know I said these
stories would all be scary, but I figured I’d scared you enough. So, we’re finishing
with something sweet.
Illustrated by Mark Teague
Part of the Scholastic/Acorn series for
early readers, the audience follows the plights of Poppleton, the pig. In the
first story the reader learns ways to be a good neighbor, helpful, but not
overbearing. Poppleton moves from the city to a less densely populated suburb.
He meets his new neighbor, Cherry Sue, who brings him flowers as a welcome
present. Then she invites him over for oatmeal and later for cheese toast and
later still for spaghetti and sauce. This is very nice at first but even
kindness can be overdone. Finally, Poppleton gets so tired of having the spend
so much time with Cherry Sue, he squirts her with his hose. She’s horrified
until Poppleton apologizes and explains he likes to be by himself every once in
a while. Cherry Sue, it turns out, is delighted. She likes quiet time herself. Poppleton’s
next adventure is at the town library, his favorite place to go on Mondays.
Here he spends the day quietly reading a book. It might be an engrossing book.
Or a sad book, for which he’s glad he brought tissues. Whatever he reads, he
stays there all Monday and is happy as a hog in slop.
Poppleton’s last adventure for this
book is about the pig helping his friend Filmore who’s sick in bed. The only
way Filmore will take his pill is if it’s hidden in one of Cherry Sue’s delicious
cakes. But Filmore can’t know what slice of cake the pill is in. His friend
drive Poppleton to distraction until they’re both sick in bed. Guess how many
cakes they go through until they feel better? Beginning readers will find these
BIBLIO: 2019 (orig. 1997,)
Scholastic, Ages 5 to 8, $4.99.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Early Reader