I love Halloween, and nothing says Halloween to me like a fresh crop of spooky books. Give these little frights a try.
Frangoline and the Midnight Dream by Clemency Pearce
Frangoline does what she’s told during the day, but at night she escapes fearlessly into the night. The moon provides the conscience to this tale, warning, “Little ones should be in bed!” to which he hears the reply, “I’ll do exactly as I please! I’m Frangoline!” She’s not scared as she passes the hooting owls, or as she wakes the fierce creatures in the night (they’re actually a little afraid of her), or as she tiptoes through the graveyard. OK, when the dead rose from their graves, that did freak Frangoline out a bit. Luckily the moon was there to scoop her up and take her back home. I’ve made it sound scarier than it is. It’s actually quite charming and delightful.
Little Jordan Ray’s Muddy Spud by Gris Grimly
I’m a big fan of Gris Grimly’s spooky illustrations, but until I visited Baby Tattoo Books at NY ComicCon, I didn’t know he was an author as well. Little Jordan Rays’ family is poor. They have but one muddy spud found in the field, and Little Jordan Ray’s parents send him off to barter it for the best offer. He comes across a peasant who won’t barter for the spud, but instead sends the boy for Sergeant Jock’s mystical socks. Sergeant Jock would be willing to part with the socks if he had the blue balloon from the troll. See where this is going? Each crazy, mysterious creature sends Little Jordan Ray further along the journey until he finds someone who will take the spud (spoiler: not actually a spud) and he makes all of the barters down the line until he returns to the peasant for a most happy ending.
The Sleepless Little Vampire by Richard Egielski
Poor little vampire! He can’t get to sleep. Is it because of the bats flipping Flappity! Flap! Or the werewolf bawling? Awhoo! Awhoo! Cockroaches, witches, skeletons… it turns out all of these creatures of the night can be very noisy. But wait! Why is the little vampire trying to go to sleep in the night in the first place. When the sun comes up, it’s time to say Good Morning, Night Creatures!
Mustache! by Mac Barnett
You may think this book an odd inclusion for my Halloween list, but my husband’s Halloween costume was but a single 70′s-style mustache I purchased for him at the costume shop. And, the book is hilarious. King Duncan is a terrible king. He is also terribly handsome. Instead of repairing roads and fixing playgrounds, he put up billboards and statues of himself. When his subjects complained, he presented them with a glorious banner of his image, someone went and defaced it with a mustache. King Duncan ordered more and more posters to cover every wall in the kingdom with his image, but more mustaches appeared, painted in by every single subject in the kingdom. How would the king fit them all in jail? The answer to that may just be the answer to everyone’s problems.
One Spooky Night: A Halloween Adventure by Kate Stone
This lovely book is a winner on form factor alone. The book layers die-cut pages with printed sheets of translucent mylar for a marvelously spooky layered effect. In it, a little monster walks through the spooky night. The monster’s shape looks an awful lot like Max in Where the Wild Things Are. That little monster isn’t scared as he goes through the night, regarding friendly ghosts and smiling at jack-o-lanterns, until he makes his way to his final spooky destination – a costume party, of course!
The I’m Not Scared Book by Todd Parr
There may be a trick-or-treater on the cover, but this book is great for more than just Halloween. It’s a nice book to talk about fear with the littlest readers, and what we can do to face our fears. Each spread names a fear and what you can do to help. “Sometimes I’m scared of the dark. I’m not scared if I have a night-light.” Or, “Sometimes I’m scared of what’s under my bed. I’m not scared once I clean everything out and see all my favorite toys.” This book provides great conversation starters about how to feel better when you’re scared.
3:15 Season One: Things That Go Bump in the Night by Patrick Carman
Quite the opposite of The I’m Not Scared Book, this book is designed to give you chills, perfect for your budding horror fans. Kids who enjoy Goosebumps will likely enjoy this, and I’m intrigued by the multimedia storytelling. First, you listen to an audio introduction at 315stories.com. Then you read that story up until the gripping conclusion. Then you log back on to see a live action retelling of the end of the story. Sure, these are a little cheesy, but they’re spine-tingling enough without getting into Steven King territory.
For more Halloween books, check out some of these previous Halloween book posts … if you dare.
Disclosure: These books came to me in a variety of ways. I received review copies and advance reader copies of some, and others I picked up at ComicCon and Book Expo, where Mac Barnett drew a mustache on my finger.