Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Books for Kids

Over the last couple of days, I have been sharing some books I found on Amazon with some of the little ones.  When I found them, they were all free, and some of them still are.  Here are some of them:

The Witch's Big Night
Sally Huss

Genre: Children's Books, Holidays
Publisher: Huss Publishing
Publication date: 9.29.2014
Pages: 42

Date read: 10.21.2014

Summary: The Halloween witch in this story is very perturbed by the visitors who come to her door.  No candy for them, instead she offers spiders, smelly dead fish, or a handful of worms. She's scary and grumpy.  Her frustration stems from the fact that not one of the trick-or-treaters has the gumption to trick her, except for one kindly skunk.  A tub of bobbing apples does the trick.  How he does it is for you to find out.
            Full of amusing rhyme and whimsical illustrations that will delight even the most outrageous Halloween characters in your household.

This was a cute story and reminded me a lot of that famous Christmas story about being woken up by Santa.  

The kids loved seeing the things she was giving to the kids who came to her house and felt bad for her because she was getting so frustrated with no one trying to trick her.  In the end, they were very happy she became friends with the skunk and that she was finally happy.

I Am Not Afraid of Monsters
Sharlene Alexander

Genre: Children's Books
Publication date: 3.31.2013
Pages: 34

Date read: 10.21.2014

Summary: This book is perfect to read at bedtime and also for young readers.
            "I Am Not Afraid of Monsters!" is full of surprises, you just will have to read the book to find out what they are...
            The fun story with a great message is definitely one that will keep children's attention as they anticipate what will happen next.
            There are beautiful colorful pictures on each page that both parents and children will enjoy.

The words itself were cute-ish.  But the pictures that were used in the book were really all over the place.  I expected cuteness from the cover, but they have nothing to do with each other, don't even look like they belong in the same book.  I felt as if the author picked a bunch of random pictures and then wrote a story around them.  To me, it was just eh and was sort of disappointing, which made me glad that I didn't spend any money on it.

The kids didn't seem to enjoy it either.  This was one of the rare occasions that no one asked me to read it a second time.  I do have a little boy that I read to who loves monsters and asked if he could sit down with my Kindle and look at the pictures.  When we talked about them, he said that some were silly, but others he really liked.

How Will You Carve Your Pumpkin?
L.T. Baker

Genre: Children's Books, Holidays
Publication date: 10.6.2014
Pages: 15

Date read: 10.21.2014

Summary: A fun Halloween read for kids ages 0 through 8.

This was a really cute story, but (yes, there's a but) I didn't like the way it ended and I don't think it's a good book for kids over the age of 5 or 6.  The artwork is well done.  It's lots of different faces that you can carve on your pumpkin, but done in a very creative way.  I think if there had been some more faces and more thought put into the end, this could have definitely been a 5 star book.  But as it is, it just seemed to fall flat.

The kids loved being able to see the different faces and, even after we put this book away, talked about the kind of faces that they could put on their own pumpkins at home.  As a follow-up for the story, I gave them orange pumpkins made out of construction paper along with plates of all kinds of things that they could use to decorate them.  When we were done, we created our own "How Will You Carve Your Pumpkin Book?" which we have in our reading area.  It was really neat to watch them compare this book with the one we created.

Alice in Halloween Land
Peter Joseph Swanson

Genre: Children's Books, Holidays
Publication date: 8.21.2014
Pages: 25

Date read: 10.21.2014

Summary: Alice the ghost follows the Easter Bunny down his rabbit hole to the center of the earth.  She must find out what happened to Halloween.  She enters a wonderland of holidays, while searching for Father Time.

I am obsessed with anything Alice in Wonderland, so any time I see something that had that idea in mind when it was written, I have to grab it up.  This story replaces Alice with a ghost by the same name and the White Rabbit with the Easter Bunny.  When it's almost Halloween and Alice sees him rushing past her, confused by the colors of the leaves, she has to find out what is going on and follows him down the hole.  When she gets to Halloweenland (Wonderland on Halloween crack), she meets up with lots of different characters (who look vaguely familiar) rushing to get ready for the Easter holiday because Father Time has things all messed up.  The beginning of this story is great and I really got into it.  I loved the similarities and how fun it was.  But, right around the time we meet up with this book's version of the Queen of Hearts, things start becoming just a little, well, eh.  The end of the story just seemed very blah, including the part with Father Time, as if the author lost all of his umph from the beginning of the story.  If her were to maybe work with an editor and fix some of the things at the end, this could, without a doubt, be a 5 star story.

The kids have watched the movie of Alice in Wonderland and we have read the chapter book, as well as a Disney version, within the last couple of months.  They had a lot of fun comparing the two stories - especially the characters - and looking at the pictures.  They found the story silly - and laughed when they found out what the problem was.

Funny & Scary Halloween Poems for Little Children
Peter Shufflebottom

Genre: Children's Books, Poems, Holidays
Publisher: Pufferfish Books
Publication date: 10.5.2014
Pages: 6

Date read: 10.15.2014

Summary: Get your kids in the spooky festival spirit with a few scary and funny poems!

This book was a complete disappointment.  It is five extremely short poems.  Now, I know what you're thinking - "It's only 6 pages, Meghan."  This is true.  But each page had plenty of room, especially because there was no artwork, to have poems longer than the four or five lines that these were.  AND they were not funny or scary in the least - can we say false advertising?  Even worse, it was around 25 lines of badly edited poetry.  And the author is charging $2.99 for this book (I happened to find it for free).

According to the book description on Amazon, the suggested ages were 6-12, grades 2-7.  The kids I read to range from 4-9 - and none of them were interested in these poems.  The only reason we finished was because I only had one more poem to go when one of them said, "Meghan, can we read something else?  I don't really like this" and they all agreed.

Julia Dweck
Illustrator: Mark Draisey

Genre: Children's Books, Holidays
Publisher: KiteReaders
Publication date: 10.2.2014
Pages: 20

Date read: 10.21.2014

Summary: The Zombie-Kids have arrived in this original bestselling title ranked #1 among Amazon's Bestsellers in Children's Color Picture Books and hand selected by the editors at Amazon for the prestigious "Kindle Daily Deals."  Don't miss out on this hilarious bestselling adventure that put Zombie-Kids on the map to rave custom reviews.
            Did you know that zombies are people that have feelings, too?  They like to be loved just like me and like you.  Join the zombie-kids as they bowl, dance, skate, and go to the movies in their unique zombie-way.  You'll have an eerily good time.

This book completely grabbed my attention - you don't usually find books about zombie children - and I found the cover intriguing.  I am so glad that I picked it up when I found it for free on Amazon. It is HILARIOUS!  And the artwork is spot on.  The story of a boy who goes out to hang out with the zombie children in the evenings - what they do and the lesson this boy learns from them.  There is a second book and I plan on reading that one soon.

The kids LOVED it.  They laughed.  They whooped.  They pretended they were zombies.  They asked me to read it a couple of more times.  They looked at the artwork.  They tried to make their own zombie kids books.  This one of the books I don't mind that they keep asking me for.  It might only be 20 pages, but I would pay the $2.99 for it.

Moore Zombies: The Search for Gargoy
Wendy Knuth
Illustrator: Brian Allen

Genre: Children's Books, Holidays
Publisher: Wendy Knuth
Publication date: 9.23.2014
Pages: 34

Date read: 10.21.2014

Summary: You're not really afraid of zombies, are you?  Take a peek into the lives of the Moore zombie family.  When Gargoy goes missing, Baby Zom enlists her siblings to help in the search.  Follow along with Gothina, the critter loving goth zombie, Broheimer, the nerdy zombie, and Kamper, the messy zombie who enjoys camping.  Who, or what, is Gargoy?

I won't lie - I totally bought this book for the cover.  (Brian Allen - great job, dude!!)  The book as a whole, though, is definitely worth it.  I loved it.  Fun story and great characters.  It reminded me of old Scooby Doo shows with the kids investigating the mystery of Gargoy's disappearance.  My favorite part is when you meet the father - read the book and you'll find out what I'm talking about.

This is probably the kids' favorite Halloween book so far.  I have read it over and over again for the last couple of days.  They laugh even harder each time.  And I'm glad they like it because it gives me another chance to read it again :)

Benjamin & the Goblins
Katy Culhan

Genre: Children's Books, Holidays
Publication date: 10.9.2013
Pages: 12

Date read: 10.21.2014

Summary: It's Halloween, and Benjamin can't figure out who - or what - is playing pranks on him.  He's usually the one playing pranks, but a surprise is in store when he runs into goblins this Halloween night.
            A short story for children ages 9 to 12.  Illustrated.

"Benjamin Boole, the meanest kid in school" learns a lesson on Halloween that he won't soon forget - and it was actually kinda creepy for a kids' book.  I really enjoyed it.

The kids really got into this one.  They didn't like Benjamin at first because he wasn't a very nice guy, but they also didn't like that someone was playing pranks on him - two wrongs don't make a right.  When he learned his lesson, they all got it and we had a really nice discussion afterwards about it.  

Halloween Stories
Uncle Amon

Genre: Children's Books, Holidays
Publication date: 9.24.2014
Pages: 22

Date read: 10.21.2014

Summary: Happy Halloween!! Your child will enjoy this Halloween book full of spooky stories.  This is an excellent read for early and beginning readers.  Be prepared for some eerie ghost stories and spooky tales!
            Also included: Halloween Jokes & Halloween Coloring Book!
            These stories are great for quick ghost stories and spooky tales to be read aloud with friends and family!
            This book is especially great for traveling, waiting rooms, and read aloud at home: Excellent for early and beginning readers; Great for reading aloud with friends and family; Spooky stories and adventures about Halloween; FREE Halloween coloring book downloads included.

This book had some potential, but fell short.  The stories were interesting, but they were more like chapters in a bunch of different books that were extracted and stuck into this book as short stories.  There was no real ending or it just ended without any flair - I'm still not sure myself.  There is no artwork, which left me confused because the book description on Amazon says it would be good for kids 5-12 and I can tell you now (as if you, with kids, don't already know): 5 year olds (heck, up to at least 7) are not going to pay attention to a bunch of words (in fact, they kept asking me where the pictures were and you could tell they weren't interested at all).

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