Friday, 31 October 2014

Our Halloween Top Ten Children's Books!

We can't resist jumping on a halloween-ey bandwagon if we spot one (moving aside a few pumpkins and skeletons so we can actually fit on) so we thought we'd share our updated Halloween Top Ten Children's Picture Books.

In no particular order, let the ghoulish games begin!

1) Not Now Bernard by David McKee (Andersen Children's Books)

We've read this book again, and again, and again and we still can't get enough of it. Take one little boy named Bernard, throw in a rather preoccupied Mum and Dad, and a monster who lives in the garden and watch the story unfold with plenty of hilarious twists and turns.

As Charlotte gets older, she starts to analyse whether the monster is real or imagined, whether Bernard is actually the monster and we get into deep discussions about the whole thing. Most of all though this is still the most excellent fun to read aloud (particularly if you love doing very silly gurgly monster voices like we do!)

If you've never encountered Bernard and the Monster, Halloween is the best time to do so!

2) Cake Girl by David Lucas (Andersen Children's Books)

A witchy tale with a difference this, with the sublime and original story of a lonely witch and her confectionary creation Cake Girl. On her birthday a witch creates a marvellous cake-shaped girl but what is a girl without life? A few spells later and the witch finds Cake Girl to be a charming companion.

But Cake Girl wants more out of life. After all, why should the witch have all the magical fun! So when the witch bestows her magic powers on Cake Girl, what will happen next?

This is a simple but extremely charming story and it's as delicious to read as it is to flick through and gaze in wonder at the gorgeous illustrations. As sweet as a nut!

3) Mog in the Dark by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children's Books)

This is one CRAZY book. You may be familiar with lovely Judith Kerr's most brilliant feline creation Mog, but what happens when this lovely old lady lets the veil slip a little - and shows us a slightly surreal and dark insight into cat nightmares in "Mog in the Dark".

It's almost as if Judith Kerr woke up one morning and said "Oh bother to drawing all that cute stuff, I'm going to let rip!" - and let rip she does in such deliciously dark style that we cannot resist this book!

Imagine The Island of Doctor Moreau crossed with a serious acid trip and you're probably on the way to describing this particularly dark and gorgeous episode in Mog's adventurous life. We LOVE it!

4) Harry and the Monster by Sue Mongredien and Nick East (Little Tiger Press)

We do love a good monster tale, oh yes we do! "Harry and the Monster" by Sue Mongredien and Nick East dips into the recurring nightmare of a young boy who nightly falls asleep and dreams of a huge nasty dribbling snarling monster! EEK!

This isn't a cuddly monster. This isn't a nice monster, he's an absolute rotter but don't lose heart just yet, there's a nicely delivered twist at the end that flips things entirely around! Find out what happens to Harry in the end, in this particularly brilliant monster tale!

Special mention to Nick East's artwork which is utterly glorious in this!

5) Monster Day at Work by Sarah Dyer (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

A rather marvellous monster book from Sarah Dyer and though it's not particularly spooky or scary, it does show that monsters have a life outside running around scaring the bejesus out of people. Find out what happens during the average day at work for an office-bound monster!

We particularly loved the monster lunch!

6) Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children's Books)

This is a darkly delicious gothic tale that's kid-friendly but features more than its fair share of ghostly goings on. The most adorable ghost of all though is the Ghost Mouse of the title, a glorious little fellow named Ishmael who meets young Ada Goth and embarks on their first adventure together.

This is so brilliant, illustrated throughout in Chris's brilliant penmanship with an utterly wonderful little mini-adventure for Ishmael tucked into the back cover.

No better way to introduce your little ones to all things gothic! LOVE!!

7) Spooky Spooky House by Andrew Weale and Lee Wildish (Picture Corgi)

A lift-the-flap delight that's bound to send a shiver down your spine. "Spooky Spooky House" by Andrew Weale and Lee Wildish teases you at every page turn with calamitous and spooky goings on in a rattleshack old house.

Dare you discover the demonic delights within? It's an awesome book, like a literary ramble around a haunted house with a ton of brilliant little touches tucked away between its covers.

Definitely suitable for younger readers who will love the flaps and will love the final (not really) terrifying reveal at the end of the book!

8) The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen (Orchard Books)

This book completely blew our tiny little minds when it first arrived, clad in a very dark black box, nestling in dark paper. It's since become a real favourite at bedtimes despite its rather dark content. It's the story of Laszlo, a little boy who lives in a huge (and sometimes very dark) house. Laszlo isn't really sure he likes the dark as it nestles in the basement or behind the shower curtain in his house. One night, Laszlo's night light goes off - and suddenly the dark creeps into Laszlo's room! EEEEEEK!

Read on though, it's such a fantastic tale with a brilliant pay-off, from two utterly talented chaps!

9) Lockwood and Co - The Screaming Staircase / The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud (Doubleday Children's Books)

An absolute belter of a pair of tales from Jonathan Stroud, introducing us to an alternate reality where ghosts are a lot more dangerous than the whispy ghosties we're used to.

This is fantastic storytelling, harking back to a time when children's ghost stories didn't wrap the reader up in cotton wool and were properly spooky and scary. We meet Lockwood, Lucy and George - a team of mini-ghostbusters who become one of London's most respected team of spectre-smashers!

Suitable for older readers (and mums and dads who love a cracking good ghost yarn!)

10) No Such Thing by Ella Bailey (Flying Eye Books)

An absolutely glorious book that's perhaps more hilarious than spooky but it's such a lot of fun to flick through and read the tale of young Ella.

Strange things keep happening in her house, and she can't believe that there's a supernatural explanation for these goings-on. But can you spot the naughty little ghosties tucked away in each page spread?

A brilliantly satisfying halloween-flavoured book that's destined to become a firm favourite with your little banshees and ghouls!