Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Our Spooky Halloween Book Blowout with witches, ghosts, and things that go "BOOK" in the night!

Halloween is definitely one of our favourite times of the year. The nights have drawn in, and there's that wonderful wintry atmosphere on the way, the perfect sort of weather to get tucked in with a spooky book or two.

We're bringing you a selection of fantastic titles old and new so let's kick off with an absolute corker of a blog favourite...

"Meg and the Romans" by David Walser and Jan Pienknowski is another new addition to the classic "Meg and Mog" range. Though the late Helen Nicol is a very tough act to follow, David Walser is establishing a whole new set of stories for these beloved character, and in this particular book we see Meg and Mog disappearing back to Roman times - and encountering a rather bombastic Roman Chief!

Their new friend is in need of help! But will Meg's spell get him to London - or should we say Londinium?

Find out in this colourful new adventure and find out more about what Romans were really like. 

It's a fun entertaining romp, and it's lovely to see these books continuing, still brilliantly illustrated by Jan Pienkowski. 

"Meg and the Romans" by David Walser and Jan Pienkowski is out now, published by Picture Puffin. 

Next up, don't panic, it's a "Celebrity" book but by a celebrity who can actually write up a storm. Tom Fletcher has been busily working away producing a couple of middle grade crackers, but this one perfectly fits our spooky theme. 

"The Creakers" by Tom Fletcher and Shane Devries is a tingly little tale perfect for spooky bedtimes. What silently waits in the shadows at night? What's under your bed, keeping just out of sight?

Do you ever hear strange, creaking noises at night? Ever wonder what makes those noises? 

Lucy Dungston always did until one morning, Lucy discovers that all the grown-ups have disappeared!

Chaos descends as the children in Lucy's town run riot.

It's mayhem. It's complete madness. To most kids, it's the best fun ever!

But Lucy wants to find out the truth. Lucy lost her dad not long ago, and she's determined not to lose her mum too. She's going to get her back - and nothing is going to stop her . . .
. . . except maybe the Creakers.

It's a hugely atmospheric story with a touch of humour underpinning the shivery scary stuff. Special mention has to go to Shane Devries, and some of the most incredible character art we've ever seen - that guy is going to be HUGE in children's illustration if there's any justice in the world. 

"The Creakers" by Tom Fletcher and Shane Devries is out now, published by Puffin. 

More fantastic witchy stuff now, from a dear departed master of mirth. Terry Pratchett's children's books are just as stunning as his 'grown up' stuff and here's a brilliant book of stories that will tickle your ribs on Halloween. 

"The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner" by Terry Pratchett, with all new illustrations from Mark Beech gets a timely re-release and it's even more of a fun read than ever. 

Imagine a terrifying war between wizards, a strangely rebellious super-ant called 4179003 (you try thinking up unique names for all your kids when you're an ant!) and a time-travelling television (who wouldn't want one of those) all brought together in a crazy set of stories shot through with Pratchett's trademark wry humour.

Can you imagine that poor old Mr Swimble could see a mysterious vacuum cleaner in the morning, and make cheese sandwiches and yellow elephants magically appear by the afternoon?

Welcome to the wonderful world of Sir Terry Pratchett, and fourteen fantastically funny tales from the master storyteller. 

Bursting from these pages are food fights, pirates, bouncing rabbits and magical pigeons.

And a witch riding a vacuum cleaner, of course! Mustn't forget that. 

"The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner" by Terry Pratchett and Mark Beech is out now, published by Corgi Children's Books. 

This next book was a well deserved book of the week, but we really wanted to make sure it got a mention here too - as it's just so spooky and fantastic!

"Hide and Seek" is the atmospheric story of two children who go out into the woods to play. 

Poppy and Cy have lost their beloved dog. In order to try and cheer themselves up they decide to go into the woods to play a game of Hide and Seek. 

It's Cy's turn to hide first, and he's come up with the perfect place to hide - somewhere Poppy will never find him!

As time passes, Poppy begins to walk further and further into the woods - and Cy starts to wonder if his sister will ever find him, even getting a little scared as he waits in his woodland shelter made of old branches.

Will Poppy ever find her missing brother before darkness draws in?

If you're familiar with Anthony's amazing books where nothing's quite as it seems, you're absolutely going to love this one. Each beautifully painted spread really is a treat for the eye as you spot hidden objects tucked into each scene, and enjoy the story. It's utterly fantastic stuff!

"Hide and Seek" by Anthony Browne is out now, published by Picture Corgi. 

Last but by no means least, we're calling on a rather awesome Time Lord for 12 superbly spooky stories to read from your hiding place behind the sofa...

"Doctor Who: Tales of Terror" brings together 12 amazingly spine-tingling stories inspired by the awesome BBC TV series, featuring strange creatures from across time and space, and an absolute TARDIS-full of chills. 

With writers such as Jacqueline Rayner, Mike Tucker, Paul Magrs, Richard Dungworth, Scott Handcock and Craig Donaghy contributing to this brilliant anthology, each story stars an incarnation of the Doctor on a brand new adventure in time and space.

It goes without saying that each story also features a frightening nemesis for the Doctor to face, and some of the most popular companions join in so there are appearances from favourite friends such as Sarah Jane, Jo, Ace and Donna.

Illustrated by Rohan Daniel Eason, Tales of Terror will delight, excite and frighten Doctor Who fans everywhere.

"Tales of Terror" is out now, published by BBC Children's Books. 

Wolves can be pretty terrifying, right? Let's meet a wolf who REALLY puts the scares on a poor little rabbit...

"Wolfy" by Gregoire Solotareff is the story of a young wolf who is taken out hunting by his uncle for the first time. Wolfy has never seen a rabbit, but after an unfortunate accident on their hunting trip, Uncle ends up dead and Wolfy has no choice but to try and find help.

He meets Tom, a Rabbit. Tom has never seen a wolf before but agrees to help Wolfy bury his poor uncle - and soon the two become firm friends.

The problem is, when you're a big scary wolf, even if you're a friend sometimes you can take things a bit far. Wolfy does just that, scaring poor little Tom so badly that the cuddly rabbit hides in his hole, boards up the entrance and never wants to come out ever again.

Can the two somehow repair their friendship?

This is such a quirky and fun book that we just had to include it in our Halloween roundup (even though it's not really TOO scary for little ones, they'll definitely enjoy Wolfy and Tom's friendship).

"Wolfy" by Gregoire Solotareff is out now, published by Gecko Press.

Another creature stalks the wilds of Africa now...but is it as terrifying as it seems?

In "A Mighty Bitey Creature" by Ronda Armitage and Nikki Dyson there's definitely something strange in the neighbourhood as various animals find themselves bitten on the bum by a mysterious creature.

This Mighty Bitey Creature scares Frog so much that he dashes off to warn his friends - but when they too get bitten, it's up to the bravest animal in the jungle to make a stand. What will Lion think of this miscreant?

When the big reveal happens at the end, this book elicited such a big "Awwwww" from Charlotte (hope that's not too much of a spoiler).

Hilarious and entertainingly written, beautifully illustrated. It still builds up enough tension and excitement for a Halloween story for tinies so check out "A Mighty Bitey Creature" by Ronda Armitage and Nikki Dyson, out now from Walker Books. 

Last but by no means least, we couldn't resist squeezing in another wolfishly good book.

Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen are once again combining their considerable talents for another one of their fantastically original and wildly entertaining stories in "The Wolf, The Duck and the Mouse".

Mouse tiptoes through the forest one evening, minding his own business when he's unceremoniously scoffed up by a wolf. You might think Mouse's story ends there but not a bit of it. Mouse finds himself in Wolf's dark tummy, and realises he's not alone...

Duck is also in there, and he's actually living the life of riley, not wanting for anything.

Aside from there being no windows - there's always something to eat (thanks to Wolf's rapacious appetite). As Duck tries to win mouse over to his way of living, the two realise that perhaps they really ought to try and escape. Then the real hilarity begins.

It's an absolutely bonkers story that just works so beautifully, and though we're probably pushing it a bit to give it a Halloween theme, it does have a few deliciously dark moments as you'd expect from Barnett and Klassen.

Superb stuff!

"The Wolf, The Duck and the Mouse" by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen is out now, published by Walker Books. 
(All books kindly supplied for review).