This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday.
I thought I’d post a few favorites for the Halloween season. Hope you enjoy! 🎃
I posted “Thriller” last year, but how can you ever get tired of this! I can still remember the first time I saw it on MTV as a child. It still captivates me and this remains my favorite Michael Jackson album of all time. There’s a story here and if you watch the entire video, you’ll see some phenomenal dancing.
I discovered Flower Friday last year while visiting Lorilin@Bugbugbooks and have been having a blast sharing some flower pictures and information. Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already for book reviews and more!
We don’t have a large variety of fall blooming flowers, but I do have Sedums which I’ve grown to love over the years.
When I first started posting about our favorite children’s Halloween reads, I had big plans to share as many as possible. Last week we were so busy and things didn’t go as planned. So, I missed out on a few posts. Today I thought I’d share a bunch of our favorite Halloween reads for this season!
First, let’s start with the board books. Of course, this was hard to pick just a few Halloween board books because there are so many adorable board books for toddlers, but we chose these two.
The Best Classic Halloween Stories – Board Book Collection
We picked up this set from Costco last month. It contains eight different favorite Halloween stories in board book format for toddlers. You get all of these stories:
Little Blue Truck’s Halloween
Hooray for Halloween
Five Little Monkeys
Sheep Trick or Treat
Trick or Treat
It’s a very nice collection for your little ones. The books are good quality and have gorgeous illustrations!
B is for BOO – A Halloween Alphabet
by Greg Paprocki
A great introduction to the alphabet for babies and toddlers. The illustrations are perfect and have a vintage children’s book feel. There are twenty-six different illustrations throughout the book to teach all about Halloween to our little ones while they visualize the alphabet and learn the sounds as you read. A perfect addition to the Halloween shelf that I plan on keeping even when my little ones are grown!
by Jean Marzollo and Hans Wilhelm
This is a super simple rhyming read for young readers with beautiful, colorful illustrations. It’s all about trick-or-treating cats causing trouble. There isn’t much of a story, but we still enjoy reading this one every year.
The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin
by Joe Troiano, Susan Banta (Illustrator)
Spookley was different than all the other pumpkins. He was square, and the other pumpkins made fun of him and thought that he was worthless. Spookley finally gets the chance to prove that he’s just as good as all the others. Will he prevail?
This one is certainly a keeper. It’s a cute story that sends a strong message to children about the importance of kindness and that it’s not right to make fun of others. A cute story with colorful illustrations! The movie is also a family favorite.
I Like Pumpkins
by Jerry Smath (Illustrations)
A cute Halloween story about the different sizes of pumpkins. Some are big, some are small, some are scary, some aren’t at all. The story shows many different ways we use pumpkins during the Halloween season. Easy to read for young ones and the end of the book has a few seek and finds.
We’re Going on a Spooky Ghost Hunt (A StoryPlay Book)
by Ken Geist
This is a new Halloween book that I purchased from Scholastic. It’s our first Story Play book yet. The story can be read to the song “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” The story contains little questions along the way that inspire young readers to count and answer questions about the story. It really gets them thinking about the story. The illustrations are detailed and interesting. I’m happy with this one and I think it’s best for preschoolers.
The Pumpkin Smasher
It’s October, and the people of Cranbury are getting reading for Halloween. Scarecrows, big black cats, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns adorn the town, until Halloween comes and a pumpkin smasher smashes all of the beautiful pumpkins. Who would do such a thing?
Next year, signs are posted and police are on the lookout. Unfortunately, the pumpkin smasher strikes again. The people of Cranbury are ready to cancel Halloween. They come up with a plan, but will Halloween be ruined again?
Our copy of this one is very old. It’s from 1972 and falling apart, but it’s still a favorite. The illustrations are black and white with a bit of orange for color.
Love Monster and the Scary Something (Love Monster)
by Rachel Bright
Love Monster just can’t sleep and the night becomes spookier. Is something out there to get him? Love Monster must be brave. Follow along to see if he can overcome his fears.
Although this isn’t technically a Halloween book, we love this one for this time of year. The best illustrations!
by Paulette Bourgeois, Brenda Clark (Illustrations)
Franklin has always been a favorite show in our house and my kids would watch it on PBS all the time. In this book, Franklin dresses up as Frankenstein for Halloween and prepares for a Halloween party, parade, haunted house and games. It’s a cute book for Franklin fans complete with a wonderful story and detailed illustrations.
Happy Halloween, Snoopy!
by Charles M. Schulz, Jack C. Harris, Art Ellis, Kim Ellis
Better than candy, “Happy Halloween, Great Pumpkin!” is a great gift-giving opportunity, coinciding as it does with the Great Pumpkin TV special, the most popular of the Peanuts cartoon specials. Full color.
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat!
by Lucille Colandro, Jared Lee (Illustrator)
What won’t this old lady swallow? This time around, a bat, an owl, a cat, a ghost, a goblin, some bones, and a wizard are all on the menu! This Halloween-themed twist on the classic “little old lady” books will delight and entertain all brave readers who dare to read it!
Room on the Broom
by Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler
The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom. But is there room on the broom for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon.
Gus, Cora the cat, a mouse named Mouse, and Mr. Frizzle all live in the Historical Museum. They have a fairly symbiotic relationship, until the arrival of this baby ghost that is left on the doorstep. Frizzle who has a terrible temper and is reminiscent of most bad-tempered excessively rigid old men overreacts a number of times in most theatrical and entertaining ways before the mild-mannered Gus stands his ground, puts Frizzle in his place, and restores order to the emotional state of the household.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
by Charles M. Schulz
We read this book every year and even when it’s not Halloween. Ours is a 1972 printing and a Charles Schulz favorite all about Linus and his belief in the Great Pumpkin. He gives up trick-or-treating to wait for the Great Pumpkin on Halloween night and just about the only person who believes he might be on to something is Sally.
“Dear Great Pumpkin, I am looking forward to your arrival on Halloween Night. ” – Linus
Will the Great Pumpkin bring toys and visit Linus this year? Follow along to find out!
I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.
Blurb: Presents tales and examines varieties of beliefs about death and hauntings, characteristics and habits of ghosts, exorcism rites, and haunted places.
I chose this book because it’s one of my favorites in the series and perfect for this time of year. This volume is from 1984 and although the cover has some heavy wear, the pages are in excellent crisp condition.
I’ve been working to complete my collection of The Enchanted World Series throughout this year and this has to be one of my favorite volumes yet. The volume titled Ghosts is packed full of ghost stories dating from the 1800’s up to the 1980’s. Some are hauntings and exorcisms, while others cover haunted places. Some of the stories include banshees, nightwalkers, ravens, poltergeists, ghost children, and the Ankou (skeletal monsters). A few of my favorites in this volume are “Glam’s Tale” and “Song of the Sorrowing Harp”, but my absolute favorite is a story about a woman and her detaching head from the English county of Lancashire titled “A Meeting on the Road Home” which is creepy and comical.
These books contain stunning works of art and they always steal the show. You can locate the artists in the back of the book and learn about where all these tales originated in the bibliography. I like the way this volume was put together as it contains multiple stories from around the world. The artwork in this volume isn’t as explicit as the others, and the tales are interesting, but I probably wouldn’t recommend this one to young children as some of the stories are very eerie and involve killings. 4.5 ****
Blurb: Boys and girls who relish scary stories and macabre movies will love this coffin-shaped book. It’s an illustrated collection of short articles that present thumbnail descriptions of vampire bats, the Frankenstein monster, the spooky tunnels beneath the streets of Paris, the Dracula legend, and much more. Each two-page spread is devoted to a separate category of factual or fictitious creature, such as Vampires, Skeletons, Werewolves, Zombies, and others. Kids will also find fact lists of descriptive details about terrifying beings, and even ghoulish jokes, such as: ” Why doesn’t Dracula have any friends? Because he’s a pain in the neck. ” The color illustrations on every page are comically creepy.
Leave it to Rod Green to come up with the coolest children’s books. We already have a few Christmas books written by him that are forever favorites. This one is for Halloween and it’s titled Octavius Grimwood’s Graveyard Guide. It’s shaped like a coffin! So cool.
The book starts with an introduction of Octavius Grimwood, an investigator of the supernatural, spooky, and weird. Octavius Grimwood is the guide as he takes readers on an exploration retelling stories about ghosts, witches, skeletons, werewolves, vampires, mummies, and zombies. Each page contains true facts and some events as well. It even covers some fairly spooky legends and places like a few different haunted houses, Highgate Cemetery, and Borley Rectory in England to name a few.
“Borley Rectory was one of the most famous haunted houses in England. It was built near the ruins of Borley Hall, once home to the wealthy Waldegrave family. Its most famous ghost was a nun, and she was the figure I met there one chilly night in 1939. The specter told me she ran away to marry one of the Waldegrave sons. However, her fiance killed her in a violent argument. The rectory burned down shortly after my visit, and the bones of a young woman were discovered.”
The book finishes with an explanation of Halloween and how it all got started. It may not seem like it, but it’s actually quite educational. I even learned a few things myself about safety coffins and the story of “Stingy Jack.” Overall, it’s fun and we love the format. The illustrations are both creepy and interesting. We look forward to pulling it off the Halloween shelf every year!
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series (August 1, 2010)
Blurb:Trolls—the most magical creatures with the wildest hair—go on a hair-raising adventure just in time for Halloween.
Poppy and Branch and their Bergen friends King Gristle and Bridget from DreamWorks Trolls have a scary good time when they learn about things that go bump in the dark forest. Boys and girls ages 3 to 7 will love this adventure-filled book that comes just in time for Halloween!
This book really doesn’t have much of a story, but for kids who love Trolls, this will be one of their favorite Halloween books. Branch tells readers all about how they used to be scared of the Bergens, but now they’re not. There are plenty of spooky things that live in the dark forest though, like Tarantapuffs (spiders) and other creatures.
It comes with a few pages of stickers and a Poppy and Branch pop out mask. It’s a cute book at a good price that Troll fans will enjoy.
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Stk edition (July 25, 2017)
As soon as we saw this on the Halloween table at Barnes and Noble, we had to grab it. It a book about a witch who grows a giant pumpkin! She plants the seed and watches it grow with plans to make a pumpkin pie, but the pumpkin is so gigantic, she can’t even remove it from the vine. The ghost thinks he can help, then the vampire, then the mummy, but not one of them is strong enough. Will a little bat be the answer? Follow along in the story to see if they can devise a plan as a team and finally enjoy some delicious pumpkin pie and good company.
We loved the story and colorful illustrations which aren’t scary at all. It has the perfect amount of text per page for young readers. It’s great with or without the audio and if you’d like, you can see and hear the book on YouTube. The ending is a wonderful surprise.
Blurb: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright.
There is a story here for everyone — skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney.
Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even scary songs — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark. If You Dare!
This is a great collection of short scary stories for kids to enjoy. It’s a book that I enjoyed as a child and can now share with my own kids. Some of the stories are pretty scary and best for older readers, but a few of them can be read to younger readers as well. There are plenty of traditional ghost stories, retellings and folklore to enjoy. The black and white illustrations add even more eeriness!
A few of our favorites include The White Wolf, The Guests, The Wendigo, The Girl Who Stood on a Grave, and The Attic.
I really enjoyed reading the references in the back of the book which explain the tales and where they originated.
Blurb:All those who enjoyed shuddering their way through Alvin Schwartz’s first volume of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark will find a satisfyingly spooky sequel in this new collection of the macabre, the funny, and the fantastic.Is it possible to die — and not know it? What if a person is buried too soon? What happens to a thief foolish enough to rob a corpse, or to a murderer whose victim returns from the grave? Read about these terrifying predicaments as well as what happens when practical jokes produce gruesome consequences and initiations go awry.Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even a scary song — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark. If You Dare!
Here’s another scary story collection that’s perfect for this time of year. Some of these are downright horrifying, but so much fun.
A few of our favorites are: Something was Wrong, The Cat’s Paw, Ba-Rooom!, which includes the simple sheet music we enjoy playing on the piano, Wonderful Sausage, and One Sunday Morning.
One of my favorite sections in the book contains the sources which explain the tales, adaptations, retellings and even different variations. Some even have a little history with them which explains where these tales were heard and when. The illustrations by Stephen Gammell are perfect and never disappoint!
Blurb: Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. A ghoulish, greenish glow. If Jasper didn’t know any better he’d say his undies were a little, well, creepy. Jasper’s not scared obviously, he’s just done with creepy underwear. But after trying everything to get rid of them, they keep coming back!
We loved Creepy Carrots, so when we saw that Creepy Pair of Underwear came out, we couldn’t resist and had to grab it!
The story begins with Jasper Rabbit as he heads to the store with his mom to pick up some new underwear. He notices a new underwear section featuring creepy underwear and mom agrees that he can purchase them. He’s feeling so grown up and can’t wait to wear them to bed that night.
When his mom shuts off the light, he notices that the underwear actually glows in the dark. He realizes that they are a little TOO creepy and becomes afraid! Jasper is a big rabbit and convinces himself that he’s not scared, or is he? He tries to hide the creepy underwear with the ghoulish glow in multiple places and even sends them to China, but they keep coming back.
Follow along in the story and discover if Jasper can find a way to overcome his fear of the creepy pair of underwear.
We loved the illustrations and the story is adorable. Our rating on this one is 5-stars.
Blurb: In her thirteenth life, Aven has settled into the now witchcraft-friendly Salem where she has found true happiness and friendship, maybe even love. Despite her contentment, the truth of Aven’s existence haunts her. When she dies, her Spirit is forced from the Veil to live again in the body of a stranger.
Does the elusive white raven, who has shadowed Aven through each of her lives, hold the secret to her release–or is it the cause?
To make matters worse, an unrelenting, twisted evil from Aven’s past lurks closely behind her. Sustained by his hatred of the witch, he won’t give up until she’s paid for what she did to him.
When the truth of Aven’s connection to the white raven is revealed, it is more horrifying than she could ever have imagined.
Her freedom will come at a terrible price. And even then, will she truly be free?
Paperback: 410 pages
Publisher: FiveFold Press; First edition (April 28, 2017)
Aven is living the happiest life she’s ever had, and she’s had twelve others before. She lives with memories from her past lives and unfortunately her deaths too, including the remembrance of her murderer-Morris Stiles.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been. I have been through so much pain and suffering in my previous lives, but here I feel like I’ve finally found a place where I belong and can thrive. When the recurring dread and despair that this life will end too soon creep into my mind, I pack them back down tightly. I’ve set aside all thoughts of my curse for now. I will make this a good life.”
Aven’s been cursed to continue living on Earth no matter how many times she dies. In this life, she’s settled down in Salem and owns a little shop where she does readings and sells magickal items. She has Jo- her very close and supportive friend who accepts her for who she is and has true power herself, Cal- a man who’s just come into the picture and might be just what Aven needs, and the white raven- who seems to follow her wherever she goes, but she cannot see it.
“He’s always around you, you know,” she says absently, looking off behind me again. “I know.” I don’t turn around; he won’t be there. “But he never shows himself. This has been going on for several lifetimes. I think almost all of them.” I can’t remember a time when the bird wasn’t there.”
Everything seems to be perfect until suddenly something haunts Aven from her past. Will she overcome it? How will she ever break this curse of living over and over again?
This book is written well and I thought the character development was perfect. The characters are memorable and I must say, Aven ended up being my favorite character in the book. She’s so strong-minded and doesn’t let anything stop her from using her magick. She has a strong and important message to be who YOU want to be. I loved Maggie – her canine companion, Jo, and Sylvia as well. I cherished all the details, descriptions and imagery that really pull you in and make you feel like you’re living the story. The author managed to add a little bit of everything here–romance, magick, jealousy, friendship, evil, and love. This is the perfect book to read this time of year, especially with all the magick and Halloween elements. I’m hopeful there’s going to be a sequel and I’ll definitely be reading it if there is!
Are there any authors that have inspired your writing?
My tastes change all the time and I take away a little something from every author I read. Who has affected me more recently is Paula Brackston (The Silver Witch, The Witch’s Daughter). Her writing style is like a song in my head.
What have you written so far?
I’ve written many stories over the decades but only completed and published one, The White Raven.
What are some of your writing tactics? Do you outline?
I am a planner! I outline, research, and spreadsheet or diagram as much as I can about the story. I create character dossiers, also. The outline for TWR was 18 pages. I don’t treat the outline as gospel, though. I use it mostly as a guideline. If my writing veers off in other directions, I go with it. I scraped many pages of TWR’s outline because I loved the different directions it went.
Do you do all your own editing?
While I do revise and edit as much as I can, I know what my limitations are. I hire professionals for that kind of stuff.
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do?
A year and a half ago, I quit my ‘day job’ to become a full-time writer. I was a vice president of a software company, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I decided that it was time to take the leap, to take a shot at the dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I have zero regrets.
What do you love most about writing?
I love seeing the story build and grow. I love seeing the characters come alive, watching their unique personalities and behaviors take shape. I love the tingling feeling, the excitement flitting around in my chest as an amazing scene flies out of my fingers.
How do you publish and market your books?
I decided early on that I would self-publish. I am a bit of a control freak, so it made sense for me to go that route in the beginning. I initially published exclusively on Amazon, but in July I expanded to everywhere else – Nook, iTunes, Kobo, etc. I’m running ads on Amazon and Kobo right now.
Do you have any advice for others on publishing and marketing?
One word: RESEARCH. Don’t just do things blindly. Don’t wing it. Research, research, research. Follow and observe what other authors are doing, read articles on best practices and the mistakes made by others, and ask questions. That will save you heartache, headaches, and embarrassment in the future. And for heaven’s sake, don’t create your own book cover or rely on only your own editing skills. Hire professionals!
What do you consider literary success?
I have discovered that my definition of literary success has a few levels. My initial success was that I actually published a book! Now that people are buying it and giving it great reviews, that’s a whole new level of success to me. The way that feels in my heart, knowing that people are sitting down on their couches or curled up in their beds with my book in their hands, giving me their precious time, gives me such a feeling of success that I couldn’t have imagined before. My next success will be when I can make my car payment without having to dip into my savings. 😀
What made you decide to write this book?
The creation of this book sprang out of frustration. At the time, years ago, I couldn’t find any books featuring witches that weren’t annoyingly cliche or that didn’t perpetuate the Hollywood or Christian stereotype. I wanted to write the kind of book that I wanted to read. Since then, I’ve discovered several authors that pen wonderful stories featuring witches and magick that I just love, so I’m very happy with the shift that’s taken place over the years.
Can you tell us about the covers for The White Raven and who designed them?
The original book cover was designed by an artist, Helen Lloyd (http://www.helenlloyd.com), from England who specializes in animals. I had seen an amazing pencil drawing of a crow and knew she would be the one to bring Ren to life. I kept the original cover for about 3 months.
After doing some more research on how book covers should be done, I decided to go a different route with it. The new design was done by Damonza (http://www.damonza.com) and I’m thrilled with it.
Are you working on anything now and what are your future writing plans?
I’m 23k words into a story involving copper pennies, dead criminals, a bad guy wanting to do bad things involving demons, an old woman’s spirit held in a cracked crystal ball, and twin red-headed sisters who know nothing about magick but have to stop the bad guy from doing bad things with his own spell book they can’t read. It’s set mostly in modern-day Prague and Boston but will venture back into the 1930s. I foresee these sisters becoming a series. Two or three books, I think.
Do you think your writing will remain in the fantasy genre?
Probably but I do have a science fiction idea in my head. Maybe one day I’ll resurrect the high fantasy I started 15+ years ago. I even created a world map. It’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself.
Is Halloween a special time for you and an inspiration for writing this magickal book with Halloween elements?
I absolutely love Halloween. Not just because it’s my birthday either. If I could dress in costume all the time and have my home decorated for Halloween all year long and not be looked at like a crazy person, I would totally do it.
Do you have a special connection with Salem or have you visited there?
I’ve visited it twice. Once because I was in Boston on business and the second time as research for the book.
How much research did you do for The White Raven and how long did it take you to write it?
As they say, write what you know! I didn’t do that much research for the witchcraft aspects of the book. I am a witch myself, so I knew much of this already. I needed help from my sisters in the Craft when it came to the past life rituals, of which I knew nothing, and the selection of a stone to shield energy. And I’m not very good with auras so I researched online what colors are associated with deep negative emotions. Although I had been to Salem before, I went back there to specifically research the area for the book. All-in-all, it took me about 3 months to write the whole thing, minus the few chapters I’d written over the years, which got mostly rewritten.
Is there a book trailer for The White Raven or do you intend on making one?
I’ve considered it but no, it’s not in my plan. It’s a costly endeavor, especially since I want movie-quality awesomeness.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The hardest part by far to write was the first sex scene, no pun intended. I ended up having to google how to do it! How much detail do I go into? How far do I go? What euphemisms do I use without sounding corny? I think that first one was rewritten three or four times, thanks to the help of my editor.
I loved the ending and have to ask, will there be a sequel to The White Raven and when can we expect it?
There will absolutely be a sequel. I hope to get it out sometime in late 2018.
Was anything edited out and did you have alternate endings for the book?
Honestly, I had the ending written years ago. I never had any other thoughts on how else it could end. It simply had to end like it did. As for what was edited out, the original manuscript was over 115k words. The final was about 107k. With the guidance of my amazing editor, she helped me streamline scenes and cull bits that did nothing to move the story along or build out a character.
If The White Raven were adapted into a movie, who would you see playing the main characters?
I see Eva Green as Aven, maybe even Kate Beckinsale or Charlize Theron.