Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Halloween: some favorite monsters from around the world

Traditional Halloween stories take a twist in many of the international tales that follow, while tried and true classics are as humorous and entertaining as always. Here are some books of ghosts and goblins from the Parents Choice website. Look for these books using the World Catalog / Amazon search boxes here on BookBag.

The Brothers Gruesome by Susan Elgar, Illustrated by Drahos Zak (Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine Books)Ages 4-8. It truly is a monster-eat-monster world in this tale of three awesomely ugly brothers and their insatiable appetites. The rhythmic text and rich illustrations offer wicked appeal for young readers.

Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith, Illustrated by Marla Frazee(Harper Collins Childrens Books)Ages 4-8. Mrs. Biddlebox woke up on the wrong side of the bed and has decided to take the bad day into her own hands - literally. Riddled with fun, this story offers a delicious way to turn a bad day into a sweet one after all.

The Experiments of Doctor Vermin, 
Written and illustrated by Tim Egan (Houghton Mifflin) Ages 4-8. Sheldon the pig, a short-order cook, was driving on Halloween night when his car broke down in the woods. Scared of the dark, he ran to the closest mansion and quite literally fell into one of the strangest adventures of his life. A scary, but heroic tale filled with wolves, mice, an evil doctor, a giant pig, and horseradish!

Look Out, Jack! The Giant Is Back! 
By Tom Birdseye, Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (Holiday House, Inc.)Ages 4-8. Jack may be as surprised as the rest of us to learn that the giant has a big brother -- with a mission to recover his younger brother's stolen items. Suspense-filled and humorous.

Which Witch Is Which? by Judi Barrett, Illustrated by Sharleen Collicott (Atheneum) Ages 4-8. Which witch has an awful itch? Which witch is learning to stitch? Young readers are presented with the challenge of finding which witch is which is in a series of 13 scenarios. The answers are hidden within vivid, imaginative illustrations of different creatures (such as cows, frogs, and chickens) portraying witches.

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons
by Judy Sierra, Illustrated by Melio So (Random House/Knopf)Ages 4-8. This colorful retelling of a traditional Japanese tale introduces us to a young heroine, her trusty dog, a monkey, and a pheasant who pitch brian against brawn in their mission to save the babkes and their bellybuttons. Sure to become a favorite.

Making Friends With Frankenstein: A Book of Monstrous Poems and Pictures by Colin McNaughton (Candlewick Press) Ages 6-12. Completely silly and completely fun, this monstrous book is sure to entertain time and time again. A must to be read-aloud, both reader and listener will enjoy the tongue-tripping lyrics and exuberant illustrations in the book.

Pleasing the Ghost, by Sharon Creech, Illustrated by Stacey Schuett (Harper Collins Childrens Books) Ages 8-12. Dennis, a young boy who has recently lost his father, is visted by ghosts. Among them is his Uncle Arvie who makes a point to stop and talk with Dennis. The only problem is that Dennis cannot understand his speech and must decipher the messages he is sending him. This story shows a warm and humorous approach to dealing with loss.

The 13th Floor: A Ghost Story, by Sid Fleischman, Illustrated by Peter Sis (Harper Collins Children's Books/Greenwillow). Ages 13-up. Orphan Buddy Stebbins loses his sister Liz one night and begins searching for clues in her disappear. The trail lead him to the 13th floor ... Pirates, preachers, treasures, and time-warps abound in this ghostly mystery.

Tales from Old Ireland, by Malachy Doyle, Illustrated by Niamh Sharkey (Barefoot Books) Ages 13-up. These traditional Irish tales are told with wit and warmth. Fairies, giants, and wicked stepmothers all make appearances in this colorful cast of characters. These too, would best be enjoyed aloud.

The Ghost In The Tokaido Inn, by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler (Penguin Putnam/Philomel) Ages 10-up. Young Seikei witnesses a ghost stealing gems from an
inn and saves a falsely accused guest from punishment in this exotic Japanese tale. The event leads to dramatic changes in the Seikei's life -- which help him to fulfill what once seemed an impossible dream.

Giants, Ghosts and Goblins: Traditional Tales from Around the World, by John Matthews, Illustrated by Giovanni Manna (Barefoot Books) All ages. Despite it's title, this collection of nine ghoolish tales offers a mild venture into traditional monster lore from around the world. Elegant illustrations compliment the stories that may best be enjoyed aloud.

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