Saturday, 29 October 2011

Halloween just happens to fall at one of the darkest times of year when it is also beginning to get cold and thoughts turn to warm crackling fires as well as fun and games around them, so what better way to entertain yourself this Halloween than with a selection of great books which can be read in the warm and in the light (if you so desire)!

To begin with we must cater for the youngest children who will be going to bed the soonest and will need a story to send them off happy into dreamland. The best book for this, in my opinion at least, is Mouldy Monsters (Campbell Books, 9780230753954) by AnnaLaura Cantone. This book takes the fear out of monsters, after all some of them are afraid too, and shows that most of them are also very silly! In addition to a funny story there are touch-and-feel elements on every spread - I love the ‘Mello Jello’s’ with their pink tutus and the ’Fuzzy McWuzzies’ with their blue fur, though by far the most popular with children is the green bogies from the ‘Booger Beloogas’!

Then comes the wonderful Debi Gliori who has provided us with just the title for sharing with toddlers. The Scariest Thing of All (Bloomsbury, 9780747599692) from its cover of purple hues and red spiky writing, with the exception of the cute bunny, one gets a sense of mystery before opening up to a bright and colourful meadow of long grass … Lots of larger than life scary things BIG spiders among them, are counterbalanced by a vibrancy and cute factor that is very reassuring. This book is the perfect read for little ones afraid of the dark and just a little scared this Halloween.

If you are story telling to a party of little ones then Elizabeth Baguley and Marion Lindsay’s Ready Steady Ghost (Oxford University Press, 9780192792648) is a good choice with its rhythmical text, swirly ghosts floating across blue pages and a very funny story about a ghost who isn’t actually much good at haunting!

Next come the younger readers who will adore the latest Horrid Henry and not only for its 3D moulded cover allowing curious fingers to prod the torch in awe! If you can believe it Horrid Henry has reached the grand old age of 20, he has a film, a TV series and now a very special book too. Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire by Francesca Simon (Orion Children’s Books, 9781842551356) finds Henry up to his usual tricks, scaring everyone, including himself, with some monstrously funny results. Read this one if you dare, for Halloween!

More advanced and older readers will love the second Bansi O’Hara title. Bansi O’Hara and the Edges of Halloween by author and Armadillo reviewer John Dougherty, (Random House, 9780440867920) may have been published back in April but is the perfect read this Halloween for its fast paced and frightening adventure story. Bansi is longing for a quiet life but life has other ideas and this adventure finds Bansi back in Faerie to rescue her mum from the Dead Cruach whilst trying to cope with Granny and Nora Mullarkey. One wonders which will be more difficult! A great adventure with lots of humour, the perfect cheering read for this Halloween.

So get your teeth stuck in to one of these great stories rather then a toffee apple this Halloween and you are guaranteed to have a great time!

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