Boo! by Joe Fenton – Book #6 in the Countdown to Halloween!

Hi all! Hope you’re as excited as I am that the trees are starting to turn and the nights are getting chillier!

For this pick I’ve selected an adorable book: BOO! by Joe Fenton

BOO! by Joe Fenton

This book is a (mostly) wordless picture book about an adorable little ghost who is searching for the scariest costume. He decides to do some research out of a book titled Scary Things. Using objects he finds around the house and the inspiration from the book the little ghost tests out his costumes on his family. After many tries he still has not found the perfect costume. Just as he is about to give up a minor accident literally drops the perfect disguise in his lap, one that not only scares his family but wins “The Scariest Spook Competition.” You will never be able to guess what his costume ends up being!

A visually stunning and hilarious picture book that every child will love. The dark backgrounds bring the colorful costumes that the little ghost tries on to the forefront. His expressions really help lead the story; his joy when he thinks he has found a new perfect disguise, and his despair when he fails. Each family member is very distinct and as comical as the little ghost’s costumes.

A great read for all ages, everyone will love watching this little ghost attempt to draw a BOO! out of everyone!

Quick Facts:

Author: Joe Fenton

Ages: Really for all ages, but younger children (Preschoolers to first graders) will be the ones who get the most enjoyment out of this book.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, New York

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Scaredy-Cat, Splat! by Rob Scotton – Book #5 in the Countdown to Halloween

Hi all! Sorry for the long delay! School has been brutal for the past couple of days! However, today, I get to talk about one of my favorite characters ever created for children, SPLAT THE CAT!

Scaredy-Cat, Splat! by Rob Scotton

Scaredy-Cat, Splat! is one of a series of books about this unique and hysterical little kitten. Splat is hoping to win the scariest cat prize at his school’s Halloween festivities. After a minor mishap with his first costume idea, his mother uses the inspiration from a spider found on Splat’s jack-o-lantern to turn Splat into a “scary sock spider.” On his way to school, Splat discovers that what he thinks is scary may not be what others in his class think is scary. Just as he is giving up on ever winning the prize for scariest cat, yet another “Splat mishap” allows him to achieve his wish as the scariest cat.

This wonderfully written picture book will have kids and parents laughing as Splat attempts to fit in, falls short, but always find that he has a place as his own person. This story is about the uniqueness of each individual person, and the fact that no one is perfect. We all mess up, but just like Splat, we can always make the best out of the worst circumstances. The interactions between Splat and his mother or his classmates are wonderfully written and have the wit that can be found in most everyday occurences with preschoolers.

The illustrations add to the humor of Splat the Cat, in particular his “scary spider” face that is not scary at all will have most children giggling every time they see it (heck, I giggle every time I see it). The illustrations use the white page well, juxtaposing the blackness of Splat and highlighting his abnormally large and bendy tail. The words and illustrations complement each other. The illustrations could tell the story all by themselves, but the words add to the humor and allow children to feel what Splat is going through.

This story, as well as all the stories in Splat’s sagas, are a wonderful read and will capture the interest of any child. Parents, educators, and children will all love to hear about Splat and his want to be the scariest cat!

Quick Facts:

Author: Rob Scotton

Series: Splat the Cat, Love, Splat, Merry Christmas, Splat, Splish, Splash, Splat, Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat!, Splat the Cat: Good Night, Sleep Tight (this one is an early reader)

Ages: All ages

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, New York

Miss Smith and the Haunted Library by Michael Garland – Book #4 in the Countdown to Halloween

Welcome back! Hope everyone is getting as excited as I am for September to end and October to finally arrive! Halloween is only 39 days away!! Woo-hoo!! For #4 in this countdown to Halloween I’ve chosen a professional librarian must have! Miss Smith and the Haunted Library by Michael Garland.

Miss Smith and the Haunted Library

This is part of a series by Garland about Miss Smith, her incredible storybook, and her unique classroom of students, including Zack. Miss Smith is Zack’s favorite teacher, and one fall day she enters the classroom (in her bright red short hair, black leather jacket, and Blondie pin) and announces they will be taking a field trip to the library! At the library they meet Virginia Creeper, the librarian with “…blue hair, pale skin, and deep dark eyes…” who decides to read to them from Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook. Previous readers of this series can just imagine the chaos that occurs as this librarian reads the tales of the Headless Horseman, Frankenstein, Dracula, and others. THEY COME OUT OF THE BOOK! The whole library is filled with the best villans and monsters of literature (and Halloween!) as the librarian selects different parts of their stories to read. Just as Zack and his fellows students begin to really worry, Virginia Creeper hands out apple cider and cookies and the party begins! The best Halloween Party any child could ever imagine attending! But when the seniors’ book club attempts to come into the library it is up to Zack to finish reading the stories and return the characters to the Incredible Storybook before the monsters can scare the seniors’ reading club!

This book is a well written and fun read for school age children. Miss Smith and her Incredible Storybook seem to cause mischief and mayhem wherever they are, but children are given great characters to find out more about. The author doesn’t tell the stories of the characters, but children will instantly become intrigued to discover more about them after reading a few brief words about their notorious natures and seeing the fantastic illustrations.The author even includes “Where to Find Scary Creatures: A guide by Virginia Creeper” at the back of the book. It is a listing of all the characters mentioned that came out of the Incredible Storybook, a picture of them, and what story they belong to. Children can use this guide to discover more scary stories and to learn the tales behind some of literatures best villans and monsters (and Halloween favorites!).

The writing is very fast-paced and fun. The story moves quickly and the actual writing leaves a lot of the storytelling to the pictures. The author just adds context to what the reader is looking at on a particular page. This allows children to focus more on the detailed illustrations than on the writing.

The illustrations, their detail, and their boldness, add to the fun and joy of looking at this book. The comical nature of the monsters detract from their “scariness,” while at the same time there is so many of them piling up on each page you can sense the anxiety of numerous villans being in one space. Each page is just cramped with different characters for children to look at. You will need to go through this book more than once to see every nuance (my favorite is when Miss Smith and the Red Queen are arguing behind Virginia Creeper’s chair, can you find it too?). The author has added some fun things for adults as well such as Miss Smith’s “Blondie” pin and the seniors’ reading club’s book of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

A fantastic story of Halloween’s best literary characters which is also a great resource for more “scary stories” for children to find out more about! Until next time, HAPPY SCARY READINGS!

Quick Facts:

Author: Michael Garland

Series: Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook, Miss Smith Reads Again!, Miss Smith Under the Ocean

Age: 5-11 ( younger children may enjoy the pictures, but young school age children from grades 1st-5th will probably get the most enjoyment out of this particular book).

Publisher: Dutton Children’s Book, New York, New York (A division of Penguin Young Readers Group)

Where’s My Mummy? by Carolyn Crimi – Book #3 in the Countdown To Halloween

Hello, hello, hello! And welcome back!

Today I’ve gone with an adorable picture book by Carolyn Crimi; illustrated by John Manders called Where’s My Mummy?

Where's My Mummy? by Carolyn Crimi; illustrated by John Manders

Although not a story about Halloween, many of the characters associated with this eerie night are found in this fun to read book. Little Baby Mummy doesn’t want to go to bed, he wants to play one more game of “Hide and Shriek” with Big Mama Mummy. Without waiting for an answer, Little Baby Mummy runs outside and hides. Once he realizes that Big Mama Mummy isn’t coming, Little Baby Mummy begins running around the graveyard, swamp, and caves of his home asking all his neighbors if they have see his Mummy. Little Baby Mummy interrupts all his neighbors as they are getting ready for bed: Bones is gargling with goo, Glob is scrubbing his face, and Drac is cleaning out his ears. When a mouse scares Little Baby Mummy, he finally does find his Mummy and they both get ready for bed.

A fun book to read with the repetitive questions of “Mama Mummy is that you?” that kids can be prompted to say as you read aloud to them. The descriptive sounds of the creatures “Clank clink clank. Woo boo woo. Clank clink Cloo” as Bones comes across the swamp gargling with goo, for example, adds suspense and allows the children to guess what the creature may be that is coming onto the page.

The pictures are very “comic book” -esque, with the sharp lines of the characters and the softer tones of the background. The normally scary characters of Dracula and the Glob being humanized as they get ready for bed. It’s comical to see Drac cleaning out his pointy ears with Q-Tips and a cloth. The vivid purple and red of the clothing of the scary characters are juxtapoised against the gloomy and gray background to really make them jump off the page. Children can clearly see that monsters are just like them, they have a bedtime ritual too!

A really fun book to read that is a great lead up to bedtime with Little Baby Mummy’s snores “Wee wee wee. Snoo snoo snoo. Wee wee SNOO!” as he cuddles his Teddy Mummy in bed end this book!

Quick Facts:

Author: Carolyn Crimi

Illustrator: John Manders

Age: 3 and up (there may be too much dialogue for younger readers and they may not recognize the characters being used).

Publisher: Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Van Rynbach – Book #2 in the Countdown!

Hello all and Happy Hauntings!

To continue on with this picture book countdown to Halloween I’ve selected a personal all-time favorite! Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Van Rynback

Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Van Rynbach

This classic felt-board (or finger game) tale has been beautifully retold and illustrated for young readers. “Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate” view a Halloween night from their perch and decide to follow the trick-or-treaters to a haunted house. We follow these five jack-o-lanterns on their night time escapade.

Preschoolers will enjoy the fun rolling rhymes which they probably already know. The short, quick, sentences and bold letters make this book easier for early readers. The familiarity that children will have with this rhyme and the finger games that are associated with it add another dimension. Playing the game while reading will help keep children’s attention focused on the story being told.

The soft illustrations and their child-like feel bring out the joy of this Halloween night. These watercolors also include great detail that children will enjoy exploring. On top of illuminating the dialogue and action, they include a cat who follows along with the pumpkins. It’s fun to ask children to search for the cat in a “Where’s Waldo?” fashion.

A classic Halloween favorite that is a great book for Preschoolers and Early Readers. If you’ve never heard this tale before I know you will enjoy it! Hope everyone is having fun getting ready for All Hallows Eve!

 

Quick Facts

Author: Iris Van Rynbach

Ages: 0-7 (Preschool and Early Readers, although all ages will enjoy!)

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, Inc. Honesdale, Pennsylvania

Halloween by Harry Behn – Book #1 in the Countdown to Halloween!!

HELLO ALL AND SCREAMSONS GREETINGS!

To start off this countdown I’ve decided to go with a TERRIFIC picture book by Harry Behn; illustrated by Greg Couch.

Halloween by Harry Behn; Illustrated by Greg Couch

Halloween shows what this holiday is all about. We follow three trick-or-treaters as they run away from the ghouls and goblins of the night only to end up at a late night revelry with the “monsters” of Halloween. This beautifully illustrated book shows that one of the best parts of Halloween is that everyone and everything is not always as it appears!

The gentle and soft pictures add to the beauty and eeriness, while the illustrators additions (my favorite is the glimpse of the gnome’s home in the sewer with the easy chair and reading lamp) add humor for older readers. The illustrator has blended the real with the imaginary in such a subtle way that if one is not paying close attention they will miss the sprites, gnomes, and goblins of the night.

The prose describe the scenes, but are also quick and fast (great for younger readers), and fun to say. “Tonight is the night when dead leaves fly….” A terrific book for all ages and a great beginning to our countdown! I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I (and my daughter) did!

Quick Facts

Author: Harry Behn

Illustrator: Greg Couch

Ages: All

Publisher: North-South Books Inc, New York, New York

HELLO ALL!

Hello!

I thought I would give just an introduction before I started blogging about more interesting things.

I am a student at Syracuse Univeristy working towards my Masters in Library and Information Sciences with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Cultural Heritage Preservation (lot’s of big words!). My goal is to someday be the Indiana Jones version of a Children’s librarian, aka “This copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear belongs in a museum!”

Me and Megan

That's Me - I'm Not The Baby

I am also extremely fortunate to work and intern at the Manlius Public Library. I am a page there (I put the books away and do other odd jobs) and I intern in the Children’s Library with two of the most fabulous librarians ever! All the people (librarians and pseudo-librarians) at the Manlius Library are fantastic! I have been so lucky and fortunate to learn from them all, talk shop and other things with them, and basically just being in their presence has validated my love of libraries and has proven to me that I have chosen the appropraite profession.

Other than that I am the mother to a beautiful two year old little girl, Megan Faith. She is my reason to smile. I know it is a typical parental phrase, but she is my reason for breathing. I don’t know what I did without this little girl. Even in the terrible twos (and some days are very terrible) I wouldn’t trade her for anything else in the world.

Megan Faith

Yup, That's My Girl

This blog will most likely reflect the random things, thoughts, and moments that insight an explosion of thought in my brain as I finish up the last year and a half of my Masters. I am, also, going to focus on my love of Children’s Librarianship; the literature, learning, and zaniness that comes with interacting with “my” kids. The day I have to leave the Manlius library I will cry giant tears. I love all the kids who walk through that door and they inspire me to work harder, come up with better ideas, and be the best librarian I can be.

To kick off my new attempt at blogging (I have failed as a blogger and hope to find within me a “blogging-ness”) I’ve decided to combine two of my favorite things in the whole world. For my family and friends who know me, and to update those new to my life, HALLOWEEN IS MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE ENTIRE YEAR!! To mark off this tremendous day, to help install a habit of blogging within me, and to brag about some of the awesome books I know about and work with every day at the library, I’m going to do a “Book Countdown To HALLOWEEN!” (Yes, I’m aware it’s just the middle of September, but I cannot contain my excitement a minute longer). Every 2-3 days I will post a new blog about a great Halloween book to read during this awesome season! I will start with early readers (board/picture books) and work my way up to the Teen readers (aka YA).

So hello to all! I hope to read and respond to all your comments, questions, and general observations! And HAPPY EARLY HALLOWEEN!