I absolutely love Halloween. But Halloween should be fun, not spooky or gross. I like pumpkins and ghosts, not severed hands and people jumping out at me. Regardless of how you celebrate Halloween this year, enjoy it with books.
Children's Book of Mythical Beasts & Magical Monsters (DK, https://www.dk.com/ca)
There are three sections in this book – nature and nation, magic and mayhem and quests and battles, with each section offering a number of mythical beasts and magical monsters including werewolves, Okuninushi and the white rabbit and the rainbow snake, among others.
You are able to look at the similarities and common elements in myths from around the world as well as the relationship between gods of different cultures. You can read tales and look at some of the creatures up close.
Each section has different bits of information so you can learn more about the creature and how it was viewed in the world. There are lots of labelled illustrations to help explain Goddess Durga, a Hindu warrior who uses her destructive power to triumph over evil. We learn of her multiple forms, her family connections and one of her epic battles.
Cool book with lots of information about the creatures we see in books and movies.
Creak! Squeak! Halloween (DK, https://www.dk.com/ca)
What's Halloween without a flap book? In this book, little ones are invited to the castle to celebrate Halloween, but they have to go through a pumpkin patch, into a house, through a room and into a forest before arriving at the castle. Along the way, kids are invited to look behind doors, the steam of a cauldron and a hole in the tree to discover who is behind it – stuffed frogs, witches and black cats. The book is a mix of cartoon illustrations and real objects, including stuffed animals. This is a cute book with lots of colours and fun flaps.
Dracula Spectacular (PGC Books, https://www.pgcbooks.ca/)
The Draculas, Mr. and Mrs., live in a dark and spooky house. Then one day, Dracula child arrives. But right from the beginning, he wasn't interested in what his parents were teaching him. Instead of pouncing and frighting people, he asked his teddies to join him for tea and wore bright and colourful outfits. His parents insisted he be like them until one night Dracula boy goes out and meets a little girl, and everything changes.
I like this book by Lucy Rowland and illustrated by Ben Mantle. The story is cute. I like that Dracula boy is exactly who he wants to be and he doesn't change for anyone. And at the end, Dracula boy paves the way for other monsters to be who they want to be, too. The illustrations are cute, too.
The Ride-by-Nights (PGC Books, https://www.pgcbooks.ca/)
What a unique book by Walter de la Mare (and illustrated by Carolina Rabei). As kids get ready and go trick-or-treating, witches are also out, silhouetted against a purple sky. As the witches play tricks on each other, we get to see their faces and notice they aren't any different from ourselves. We learn about the various constellations as the witches fly through the sky both in words and the constellation displayed in the night sky.
Scritch Scartch (Raincoast Books, www.raincoast.com)
Claire isn't interested in her dad's job, writing about the ghosts that “haunt” Chicago and showcasing their stories on his tour bus. Claire is a scientists, and ghosts don't exist. One night, forced to help her dad on his bus, Clair sees a boy dressed in white with sad, dark eyes at the back of the bus. But when she goes to check it out, the boy is gone. Then things start happening – scratching, voices in the dark, the number 396 everywhere she looks and then the boy with the dark eyes begins to follow her.
“Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something and Claire needs to find out before it's too late.”
I don't like to be scared and I scare easily. This middle grade book had some moments, but would be fine for people like me. I liked that the author shared a part of Chicago's history I obviously didn't/wouldn't know about. I also liked the side story of Claire and her friend Casley and the importance of understanding everyone has something going on in their life.
Villains (DK, https://www.dk.com/ca)
Disney. DK. Villains. Can anything be more perfect?
I am a HUGE Disney fan and often like the villains. I was Maleficent for Halloween long before Angelina Jolie picked up the role (and therefore made you realize perhaps she wasn't as much of a villain as Disney claimed.)
Some villains, like Ursula and Cruella De Vil get multiple pages, showcasing not only themselves but their evil lairs. Some characters get lumped into a category such as Filled With Greed, featured Madame Medusa, Bill Sykes and Tamatoa. Each character is described and offers an illustration.
There are very few villains I didn't know, which likely tells you how many Disney movies I have watched.
Villains is a great book for people who love Disney and want to see more of their favourite characters.
Lisa Day is the author of two book blogs, Book Time, where she reviews a variety of books for a variety of readers and offers author Q&As, and followsummer.com Follow her on Twitter @LisaMDayC, Instagram @LisaMDayC and @LisaMDayReads, and check out Book Time at https://booktime584.