Thursday, 31 October 2019

Time for a colossal spooky book extravaganza. Our pick of this year's spooky titles perfect for late night scares on Halloween!

Tonight's the night for dressing up, eating way too many sweeties, and scaring the bejesus out of your friends and neighbours with a spooky costume!

But it's also a good time to dig out a brace of fantastic new scary books perfect for tonight's shenanigans, starting with a Book of the Week winner par excellence.

"The World of the Unknown: All About Ghosts" is a reprint of the 1977 classic, back in all its glory with a new foreword by spooky guy Reece Shearsmith, and an "inside the back cover" quote from this very blog.

It's a childhood fave of mine, and it's fab to see it back to scare the pee out of a whole new generation of fans. An absolute work of genius bringing this back in time for Halloween 2019!

"The World of the Unknown: All About Ghosts" is out now, published by Usborne Publishing. 

How could we possibly let halloween pass without a few vampires around the place?

"Dracula Spectacular" by Lucy Rowland and Ben Mantle features a very different vampire - one that shuns the usual black gothic-like clothing for something far more sparkly and bright, in this spooky but delicious tale of being happy in your own skin, being kind to others, and being ultra-colourful too!

It’s tough being a vampire when you’re more giggles and glitter than beastly and bitter.

But will Dracula Boy dare to follow his heart and live life in technicolour?

Full of spooks and sparkles, Dracula Spectacular is a heart-warming story about learning to be brave, kind and above all, proud to be yourself. It bounces along fabulously with rhyming text and a heartwarming core message, perfect for tinies who might not want too many scares later on.

"Dracula Spectacular" by Lucy Rowland and Ben Mantle is out now, published by Macmillan Children's Books. 

More vampish fun now, with the grandaddy of all vampires!

"Bram Stoker's Dracula" with fantastic illustrations and a graphic-novel treatment by Ben Caldwell is a superb title in the All Action Classics range.

In 1897, Bram Stoker gave the world one of literature s most compelling characters - and, since then, Dracula has thrilled and terrified generations of fans.

Now the evil Count Dracula comes alive in an electrifying graphic novel that follows the vampire from his looming and ominous castle in Transylvania to Victorian London. 

Michael Mucci translates the tale and Ben Caldwell has created action-packed images, with meticulous attention paid to the finer details in each piece of art, from facial expressions to the historical accuracy of costuming, architecture and heraldry. Young readers will be completely transfixed! 

All-Action Classics are full-colour graphic adaptations of the world's greatest and most action-filled-stories. 

These books are produced by Eisner Award-nominated artist Ben Caldwell (Action Cartooning) and adapted by an exciting new generation of writers, cartoonists and comic artists. 

"All Action Classics: Dracula" by Bram Stoker, Michael Mucci and Ben Caldwell is out now, published by Sterling Publishing. 

From Vampires to Zombies, well an entire family of horrors in the fabulous "Moldilocks and the Three Scares - A Zombie Tale" by Lynne Marie and David Rodriguez Lorenzo. 

Forget Goldilocks and the three bears, here's Moldilocks - a small zombie girl starring in a delightfully zombie-tastic new version of the popular story.

Papa Scare (a monster), Mama Scare (a mummy) and Baby Scare (a vampire) live in a haunted house where they eat finger sandwiches and alpha-bat soup. 

One night, they go out to walk their dog (a bloodhound, of course) to let their soup cool down. While they re away, in walks the zombie Moldilocks, looking for food, a chair and a bed that s just right. 

Kids will love this hauntingly funny story with its surprise ending perfect for a snuggly read tonight while bats flit around outside!

"Moldilocks and the Three Scares: A Zombie Tale" by Lynne Marie and David Rodriguez Lorenzo is out now, published by Sterling. 

More you say? More? 

There's nothing like a dark twist on a well-loved tale, and we're finally delighted to meet a Bethan Woollvin Book (having missed out on all her previous fairy tale treatments, alas). 

"Hansel and Gretel" by Bethan Woollvin is a good place to catch up though, wrought in Bethan's darkly delicious style, retelling the tale of the two lost children - but this time from the perspective of the kindly old witch who lives in the gingerbread house. 

The two lost children are found in the forest, scattering breadcrumbs to help them find their way home. But the goodly witch is worried that the crumbs will attract birds and mice to peck away at her gingerbread house. 

When the kids spot the house it's time to snack on witchy-poo's lovely domicile - and before long those two rotten kids are causing all kinds of havoc!

Wait for the twist at the end, it's absolutely perfect for halloween!

"Hansel and Gretel" by Bethan Woollvin is out now, published by Two Hoots Books. 

Finally, everyone's favourite witch is back for an all new adventure!

"Winnie and Wilbur: The Bug Safari" by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul shrinks the awesome Winnie and her long-suffering moggy Wilbur down to ant-size!

When Winnie and Wilbur discover life in miniature, the bugs in their garden suddenly seem very big indeed. It's the start of an exciting safari. But when excitement turns to survival, mini Winnie and tiny Wilbur would rather be their rightful size again. There's one small problem: teeny Winnie can't wave her whopping wand! EEK!

Bugs, minibeasts, and creepy-crawlies are endlessly fascinating to children and they come under the spotlight in Winnie and Wilbur's latest adventure, perfect for would-be witchies and bug-hunters. 

"Winnie and Wilbur: The Bug Safari" by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Even an author normally renowned for her rather cosy little tales was no stranger to spooky stories...

"Tales of Tricks and Treats" by Enid Blyton is a fabulous anthology of 30 stories from Enid's 'dark period' - featuring brilliant bite-sized tales to send a tremor down your spine.

Shiver to the delights of The Magic Rubber, don a pair of Dame Roundy's Stockings, and dash home for a refreshing beverage from The Magic Teapot.

These are superb little tales that are perfect to be read out loud by torchlight on a balmy Halloween evening.

With cover and internal art from Mark Beech, it's a fantastic booky keepsake you'll want to bring out every Halloween!

"Tales of Tricks and Treats" by Enid Blyton and Mark Beech is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

More monstrous goings on in our next spooky book choice...

"Nelly the Monster Sitter: The Hott Heds and No.87 is the third book in a hilarious and horrorstruck new series from Kes Gray and Chris Jevons.

Nelly isn't scared of monsters, in fact she loves nothing better than to babysit for her monster neighbours - and this time it's the turn of The Hott Heds at Number 87.

Ever swum with a Water Greep, or played hotscotch with a Hott Hed? 

Every time Nelly rings on a new monster family's doorbell she's up for a new challenge. 

Come on her monster-sitting adventures in this laugh-out-loud funny third book in the NELLY THE MONSTER SITTER series.

"Nelly the Monster Sitter: The Hott Heds at Number 87" by Kes Gray and Chris Jevons is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

More books for younger readers now, and a new book in a series we loved to bits last halloween. 

"Mrs Blackhat and the ZoomBroom" by Mick and Chloe Inkpen sees the return of our fave witch in this hilarious rhyming picture book from the creator of the bestselling Kipper series.

Mrs Blackhat has a new broom. And it's not just any broom: it's a whizzy new ZoomBroom, with buttons, bleeps and its very own app!

But what will Mrs Blackhat do when the battery runs low?

Maybe it's time for some old-fashioned magic ...

A wickedly funny Halloween tale, with a timely message about embracing technology and good old-fashioned magic.

"Mrs Blackhat and the ZoomBroom" by Chloe and Mick Inkpen is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

No Supertatos next but a fabulous new character just perfect for this spooky time of year from a dynamic book-creating trio!

"Christopher Pumpkin" is the latest creation from Sue Hendra, Paul Linnet and Nick East.

Meet Christopher Pumpkin - the Halloween pumpkin who doesn't want to be scary in this hilarious new rhyming adventure.

Christopher Pumpkin is delighted to be magicked to life by a witch - until he discovers she wants him and the other pumpkins to get her creepy castle ready for the spookiest party ever! 

Chris just can't bring himself to hang cobwebs and cook curried slugs - he's much more into bunting and fairy cakes!

A delightful story about blazing your own trail, perfect for reading aloud!

"Christopher Pumpkin" by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, with illustrations by Nick East is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Finally a gorgeous new book for fans of the "I Love" book series. 

"I Love Halloween" by Emma Dodd and Giles Andreae is a fun-filled Halloween picture book, perfect for sharing with even the littlest monsters!

It's Halloween today. Woo-hoo! There's so much spooky stuff to do.

Join the fun making ghost cookies, preparing pumpkins, making witches hats and dressing up . . . before setting out on a trick-or-treat adventure!

Little ones will love reading the gentle rhyming story together and looking at all the bright, colourful illustrations.

It's a much-loved series given a spooky turn but without any scares or shivers, perfect for a bedtime snuggle after trick or treating!

"I Love Halloween" by Emma Dodd and Giles Andreae is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

More for tiny toddlers this time, and a series that we absolutely adore - with a perfect halloweeny-type creature celebrated in time honoured fashion.

"That's Not My Bat (its ears are too hairy)" by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells is a fabulous halloweeny-coloured tribute to our leathery-winged pals.

Bats are amazing creatures, but little ones will love the interactive and sturdy board book filled with lots of different colours, textures and a fun bouncy text to read along with.

Can you believe this book series is celebrating its 20th anniversary? Nope, neither can we, and this is definitely the perfect trick-or-treat bag filler for tiddly kiddywinks.

"That's Not My Bat" by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells is out now, published by Usborne.

Equally adorable from Usborne is the fabulous Halloween story for Poppy and Sam.

"Poppy and Sam's Halloween Party" by Sam Taplin and Simon Taylor-Kielty sees the twins dressing up and ready for a spooky time.

Rusty the dog has gone missing

Can Poppy and Sam find him in time for their Halloween party? 

Little children will love looking through the peep holes and touching the textured pages in this charming book with bats, pumpkins, spiders and the adorable animals of Apple Tree Farm to spot on every page. 

And of course, don't forget to spot the duck on every page!

"Poppy and Sam's Halloween Party" by Sam Taplin and Simon Taylor-Kielty is out now, published by Usborne. 

One more to squeeze in (or should that be out?) before we go, a monster filled delight indeed!

"There's a Troll on my Toilet" by Catherine Jacob and Mike Byrne is a superbly funny story perfect for this time of year. 

It's not just trolls you'll have to worry about, there are all manner of spooky monsters inhabiting the house. There's a strange vampire granny in the attic, a selfie-snapping Werewolf downstairs, and a Mummy creeping around smooching with Frankenstein's monster. 

From award-winning tv correspondent Catherine Jacob, and bestselling illustrator of Sproutzilla vs Christmas Mike Byrne, comes this super spooky and super fun picture book.

Go grab your witch's hat, watch out for the icky sticky green slime, and get ready for a frightfully good time.

Because this is one haunted house that you will love exploring!

"There's a Troll on my Toilet" by Catherine Jacob and Mike Byrne is out now, published by Scholastic. 

Finally a book that wants your BRAIIIIINNNNNNSSS! Your creative brains, don't worry! "The Monster Book of Zombies, Spooks and Ghouls" by Jason Ford is a truly brilliant drawing, art and activity book destined to become something we spend an awful lot of time with - as we love nothing better than drawing and doodling spooky stuff.

Jason has pulled together some of the most excellent drawing and art prompts imaginable, so get your best coloured pens, pencils and crayons - plus a dash of invisible ink and perhaps some squeezed out bat-juice (ew) for a spooky artistic and fun book that (whisper) positively encourages you to draw all over it (note to kids - don't do this with any of the other books in our roundup, OK?)

It's absolutely superb and perfect for halloween artistic endeavours for all ages.

"The Monster Book of Zombies, Spooks and Ghouls" by Jason Ford is out now, published by Laurence King Publishing. 

(all books kindly supplied for review).