Are You Afraid of the Dark?

The girls wanted to watch something on the creepy side last night.  They have dark tastes, but they're only 8 and almost-6 and I know their limits.  We have Amazon Prime on the Roku, and it just so happens the Nickelodeon's early-'90s anthology series "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" was waiting there, fitting the bill nicely.  Scary enough that they can scream and joke about turning more lights on, but not so scary that they have trouble falling asleep at night.

I didn't watch this show when it first aired.  First it was because we didn't have cable, then by the time we did, I was in high school and the only shows I watched on Nick were "Ren & Stimpy" and "The Adventures of Pete & Pete."  I do, however, remember my sister watching this series.  Every episode starts with The Midnight Society gathered around a campfire, as someone in the society tells a scary story.  Some stories are scarier than others.  The occasional familiar face pops up.  (I rapped the theme to "Fresh Prince of Bel Aire" when Tatiana Ali showed up in an episode.  The girls think Mom is weird.)

For old fans, you can watch the series on Amazon Instant, or buy the DVDs.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, but want to check it out anyway, you can find some episodes on YouTube.

Merry Weekend!

Space Witch

How about a vintage Halloween treat?  One that the girls and I check out from the library every year?

This is Space Witch by Don Freeman of Corduroy fame.  First published in 1959, at the height of the space craze, this is a reprint from the 1980s.  It is about Tilly Ipswitch, Queen of Halloween, and how she builds a space ship, intent on scaring children on other planets one Halloween.

Kit, her beloved black cat, is skeptical, although he is intrigued by the prospect of visiting the Milky Way, for obvious reasons.

She finally lands between two craggy peaks and spies a bunch of little creatures in space suits below!  You can guess the rest.

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Playing Dress-Up at the Renaissance Festival

Yes, the theatre geek in me still loves dressing up for renaissance faires.  Big Sis begged for a trip to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival for her birthday this year.  Her fairy godmother made her costume two years ago.  I let it out as much as it would go, but it was clear that this is the last time she will be wearing it. 

Little Sis has a matching costume, but first, she was going to wear her fall fairy costume from last Halloween. Then she changed her mind, and had me bring her renaissance costume anyway.  Then she changed her mind entirely, and refused to wear a costume at all.  

I did not press the issue.

The Kansas City faire is actually in Bonner Springs, Kansas, and the grounds are quite lovely and fall-like, even with green leaves on the trees.  The sun was hot, but the shady spots were cool and breezy.  We could believe autumn was finally here.

We exited the gates to find Ye Olde Jack in the Box food truck, giving out free samples.  A curly fry and shake later, and we were off, trekking south to home in Ye Olde Buick.

Mr. Underneath

Happy October, dear readers!  I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this month.  Crisp leaves, apple cider, pumpkin EVERYTHING, sweater weather, and of course, creepy books!  And I have one of those to share with you today!

Yesterday, I showed you a delightful picture book by artist Randy Briley.  Mr. Briley is as gifted a storyteller as he is an artist, and now I have a spooky "big kid book" (um, middle reader novel) by Mr. Briley that is absolutely perfect for a chilly October night.  Mr. Underneath [Raven Mad Studios, 2013] is one of those books that is hard to put down once you start.  You want to know just where it's going next.  A 12-year-old boy moves with his parents to a rickety old farm.  There may be a monster in the garage.  There is definitely a sinister-looking man visiting his father.  There is a squirrel that knows how to spell.  Things are not normal here.

Before long, young Jackson McCabe finds himself on a quest to save his family, aided by a shapeshifting girl, the squirrel, and a benevolent robot.  While the book reminded me of other books I've read, it was definitely original.

Am I the only grown-up who thinks a really creepy or scary kids' book is usually a lot creepier or scarier than most adult books?  

And look:  my buddies Robyn and Whitney at Pen Pals & Picture Books loved Mr. Underneath, too!

As with Big Pigs and Sock Dances, an e-book copy was generously provided to me, but I chose to buy a paperback copy for myself.  (Big Sis has been reading the e-book, though!)  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

You can buy Mr. Underneath at CreateSpace, or in either Kindle e-book or paperback format at Amazon. And be sure and check out Raven Mad Studios' website and Facebook page!

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Big Pigs and Sock Dances

If you spend any amount of time here, you have probably already figured out a few things about me.  I like old stuff.  I like creepy stuff.  I like weird stuff.  Well, this book is brand new, and it isn't creepy (although there's a pretty sweet vampire in it!), but weird?  Yeah, it's a little weird, in the best way possible.  Big Pigs and Sock Dances (Raven Mad Studios, 2013) is the work of artist Randy Briley, and I received a review copy (thanks, Kristin!) via Kindle app e-book this summer.  However, it was too awesome to be stored in a computer or device, so here it is, in glorious paperback form, for me to show off today.  (See, despite the review copy, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  I loved it so much, I bought a hard copy for myself!)  

The art is wonderful.  It has a bit of a Tim Burton vibe, which to me is a good thing.  (Ever read this book?  I love this book.)  The whole book is very silly and child-friendly, however, as it muses on things the children in the art like and do not like.

Like these slugs.  If slugs looked like this in real life, I'd like them, too!

I love this little vampire.

 (Aww, I like clowns.)

 And what child doesn't like a flatulent ape?

This picture reminds me of playing Nintendo with my little brother.

I like books about circus performers...

What else is there to say about this book?  It's charming, it's funny, and the art is amazing.  My girls and I loved it.  And if I haven't sold you on it yet, check out the reviews at Julia's Bookbag and Pen Pals & Picture Books.  

For more of this amazing art, check out Randy Briley at the Raven Mad Studios website and/or Facebook page.  (Look at the sculptures!  I love the sculptures!!!)

You can order a copy of the book yourself from CreateSpace.  You can also order the paperback and/or Kindle e-book from Amazon.  

And that brings September on Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes to a close, my friends.  Tomorrow is October 1, and as promised, I plan to devote the month here to the creepy, Halloweeny, or very, very autumny. (Hooray for made-up words!)  And it just so happens that Randy Briley has another book that fits the bill perfectly...

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