Saturday, 31 October 2009

Spooky Books for Halloween

It is Halloween and all things spooky will be happening, children will be trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins and having great parties. To help with the entertainment adults could read their young children Liz Martinez and Mark Beech’s story of The Everyday Witch published by Bloomsbury.

With Mark Beech’s illustration in the style of Quentin Blake adding colour and atmosphere to this story of a little boy who strongly suspects that his mother is a witch and accompanying the humorous rhyming text of Liz Martinez there is plenty to enjoy listening to and detail galore to pore over.

When Jimmy peeps though his curtains one night and sees his mother flying on a broomstick with the pet cat Tiddles he is determined to prove that she does not lead a life of potion brewing and spell casting! When he thinks that he has finally proved himself right he finds stripy stockings on the washing line – help!

If further entertainment in the form of story telling is required Winnie the Witch finds herself in possession of an Amazing Pumpkin. Children will delight in the story of Winnie and Wilbur enjoying their vegetables, particularly pumpkin – they may even learn to like them too! The fun comes when Winnie, laden with her greens, finds it difficult to get home from the market so decides it is time to grow some instead! All does not quite go according to plan and Winnie’s magical spells once again create a riot of colour and fun. With captivating and detailed illustration as well as hilarious text Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin, published by oxford University Press, should keep its young audience entertained for hours and may even provide some inspiration to budding gardeners.

Another picture book, this time with magic flaps to lift comes from the talented Nick Sharratt. What’s in the Witches Kitchen? Encourages children to actively engage with the story and make it their own as they decide whether the witch is storing ‘tasty cheese or bats with fleas’ in her fridge. Will it be ‘pooh lizards fart or yum cherry tart’ in the oven and so the horrible by hilarious rhymes continue. With one on every double page spread and a simple repetitive story this book will delight the little ones, have them reciting some truly awful ideas, searching the kitchen for all things horrible and generally having a great time!

Finally to entertain toddlers during the day –shouldn’t they be in bed by the time of the party? – there is Scary Doodles written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrated by Anja Boretzki – before the children get their hands on it! This is a wonderful take on the traditional colouring book. A spiral bound hardback this invited children to accessorize the many illustrations and add their own splash of colour as well as their own goulish creations! Add spiders to webs, draw creatures in a cave and decide what the witch has in her cauldron. Not for the faint-hearted and perhaps best to play with during daylight hours this is a wonderful celebration of ghouls, ghosts and witches. Just grab a pencil and let your imagination run wild!

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