Friday, October 30, 2015
Ten children's Halloween books that you absolutely should have on your shelves (or better still, in your lap being read!)
When they're finally tuckered out and tucked up in bed, what better time to shuffle through your book collection for a halloween treat.
Without further ado, what would we recommend for a top ten terrifyingly scary list?
1) "Not Now, Bernard" by David McKee (Andersen Children's Books).
It's actually a little unfair to keep this one for Halloween. It's good for all year round, but there's no monster better than the grumpy child-eating monster betwixt the pages of this book. We recently re-read this and even though both Charlotte and I love it so much we know it off by heart, we still love that shocker of a moment when Bernard ends up monster-tum-fodder. EEKS! David McKee's book is actually more about parents not listening to or paying attention to their kids and this was even before the advent of smartphones. Make of this what you will!
2) "Darkness Slipped In" by Ella Burfoot (Kingfisher Books)
We jest, we love this - it did used to scare the bejabers out of Charlotte but she finds it quite amusing now. Interesting to note how many times the darkness crops up in children's books manifested in a very similar way (see also Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen's awesome "The Dark" for further spooky reading!)
3) "Night Post" by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder (Improper Books)
We do love the scene with the witches as they circle around in the darkened sky (see how many you recognise!)
We've longed, begged, pleaded for Ben and Laura to do another book together. As it stands, this is utterly sublime and we can't stop going on about it once you get us started. Just do the decent thing and go geddit!
4) "No Such Thing" by Ella Bailey (Flying Eye Books)
Weird things keep happening and they can't all be blamed on her adorable moggy. Could someone else be to blame? Someone ethereal, let's say?
Children will absolutely love spotting the spooky little characters who are REALLY behind all the nocturnal goings-on in this pitch-perfect tale. We always expect great things from anything Flying Eye publish and we were definitely not disappointed by "No Such Thing" which is an utter halloween delight!
5) "Dear Vampa" by Ross Collins (Hodder Children's Books)
Flipping a vampire tale firmly on its head in the form of a family's letter to their dear (dead) old Grandad Vampa is pure genius.
As with all Ross's books, his deliciously detailed illustrations are a treat, picked out here in delightfully vampish hues of black, white and red as the Pire family (geddit?) cower in terror from their new sun-kissed happy neighbours.
It's enough to make an old vamp run away screaming!
6) "The Ghost Library" by David Melling (Hodder Children's Books)
Bo shows them that there may be a better way to repopulate the empty shelves. How about coming up with the spookiest and scariest stories of their own?
Delightful and whimsical, with tons of glorious characters (we love the ghosts who sort of materialise half-way through the book shelves as they creep in to listen to Bo's storytime). Absolutely perfect halloween storytelling by a master of mischief!
7) "Cordelia Codd - It's ALIVE!" by Claire O'Brien with cover by David Roberts (Orchard Books)
Claire O'Brien's rib-tickling series is perfect fare for reading by torchlight under the covers on a spooky halloween night. Look out too for Claire's other brill books "Cordelia Codd - Not Just the Blues" and "Cordelia Codd - Frankly Ruby, I don't give a Damn!" also from Orchard Books and also look out for a very special review of "It's Alive" SOOOON!
8) "Lockwood and Co - The Screaming Staircase" by Jonathan Stroud (Doubleday)
"Lockwood and Co" kicked off in grand style with this first book "The Screaming Staircase" and it restored our faith in ghost stories for (older) children, which I thought had become too diluted and safe. It's the story of Lockwood, Lucy and George - a trio of ghost hunters roving the streets of an alternate-reality version of London in search of spirits who plague the world of the living. These ghosts can kill and maim, they're not the intangible wailers of other tales and this is what makes the book series really quite scary and disturbing as all three are frequently teetering on the edge of danger. Two further books in the series "The Whispering Skull" and "The Hollow Boy" will have you quaking in your slippers come Halloween Night so if you (like me) are a fan of cult telly like Sapphire and Steel, or old Hammer Horror stuff then this should be your first port of call.
9) "My Teacher is a MONSTER!" by Peter Brown (Macmillan Children's Books)
A chance meeting in the park with the teacher in question is quite terrifying but soon leads the two to band together to solve a rather sticky problem involving a lost hat.
Peter's books are deliciously illustrated and beautifully observed and this monstrously entertaining tale is no exception. So next time your teacher gives you a black mark for your spelling, or howls at you from across the classroom for passing notes and giggling, take heed, they're maybe not quite as horrible as they seem.
10) "I'm Coming to get YOU!" by Tony Ross (Picture Puffin)
We love the way the story builds up excitement, tension and scares to the point where the twist in the tale is revealed - and it's a doozy.
We have seen rather too many books ripping this story off (we'll let you discover what the twist is and whether you think we're right or not) but none done better than here in "I'm coming to get YOU!" - with such a delicious pay off at the end that it's an utterly essential monstery halloween read.
We hope you've enjoyed this year's list. Do drop a comment in the box below if you've got a particular halloween fave you'd love to share with us and our readers, we are always on the hunt for new spooky books!