I already wrote about our love for the Vampirina Ballerina books.  Now here is another book that speaks to my ghoulish little dancers!  Zombelina [Walker Children's, 2013] was written by Kristyn Crow, who already has a number of cute, "spooky" titles under her belt, and illustrated by the wonderful Molly Idle of Flora and the Flamingo fame.

We discovered this one on the children's octagon at the Barnes & Noble in Overland Park, KS.  We let out a collective squeal!  Because guess what Little Sis had already decided to be for Halloween this year?

A zombie ballerina!

I haven't bought a new Halloween book for the girls in a while, so I ordered it from my favorite indie bookstore after we got back.

Poor Zombelina loves to dance for her loving, supportive zombie family, but her first time on stage, she freezes.  She becomes...  a zombie.

Through the love and support of her family, she gets through it.

Tomorrow will be the first day for the girls to wear their costumes.  I'm still cobbling things together.  (Frankensteining things together?)  These bits and pieces should become a sweet little zombie ballerina...

I think if I decide to distress the tutu, I should just let Mabel play with it.

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Pediophobia is the fear of dolls.  Did you know that?  I confess, I had to look up the word.  

In my review of Doll Bones by Holly Black, I mentioned how I'd recently discovered that many of my friends find dolls creepy.  I've had friends say the big Fancy Nancy doll reading in the photo above was creepy.  I've heard it said about our American Girls.  I don't know what people think of my pose dolls

For fun, this week I read three vintage ghost stories involving ghosts, written for middle to young teen readers.  

The Doll in the Garden [Clarion, 1989] is by Mary Downing Hahn, and it is probably her second most popular ghost story, after Wait Till Helen Comes.  Of all the ghostly doll stories, this is probably the least scary.  A little girl and her widowed mother move into the converted upstairs apartment of a very cranky old lady.  The girl begins to explore an abandoned-looking garden.  Along with the little neighbor girl, she finds an antique china doll buried in the garden.  There's a white cat roaming the yard, too, one that does not cast a shadow.  Soon, the girls find themselves in the middle of a sad story involving a sick child in 1912.

Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy [HarperCollins, 1983] is one that Heather pointed me to.  A bratty orphan is sent to live with great-aunts she's never met, after being kicked out of her latest boarding school.  The huge house was once another boarding school, but it has been empty of students for many years.  All that remains of those days is a shut-up classroom and portraits of the founders in the parlor.  The girl starts to hear strange voices in the house and garden, voices the aunts cannot hear, although she thinks their odd brother might.  One day the voices call her name, and she follows the voices to a room hidden far up in the house.  There sit two antique dolls and a little china dog...

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright [Scholastic, 1983] is about a girl with a mentally-challenged little sister, who asks to stay with her aunt for a few days, in order to take a break from being her sister's babysitter.  The aunt is staying in the old country house that had belonged to the girl's great-grandparents.  While exploring the house, she finds an amazing dollhouse in the attic, an almost-exact replica of the big house, gifted by the grandparents to the aunt for her birthday years before.  Soon, however, the dollhouse takes on a sinister light, as it becomes clear that the dolls are moving by themselves.  Sometimes an eerie light starts to glow.  Is the dollhouse trying to communicate how the grandparents died?

While none of these books are highbrow literature, they are pulpy fun.  I would have loved them when I was ten or eleven!  For more creepy doll books, see my reviews of Doll Bones and although it's really about a marionette,  Splendors and Glooms.  (For the Splendors and Glooms review, scroll down a bit.)  I highly recommend both of these.

By the way, if you want a creepy kid-friendly movie to watch that involves a doll, check out the old Disney television movie Child Of Glass.  It is available as a print-on-demand DVDMy sister and I loved this movie as kids.  The cast is great.  (The sister?  That's Violet Beauregarde!)  It is based on the first of a well-regarded series of books by Richard Peck, but the doll plot was invented specifically for the movie.  

For more adult creepy doll fun, check out this Tumblr or its related books.  And someday, I really want to do this project  for Halloween.

For the record, while I don't think dolls in general are creepy, I do like some dolls that are supposed to be creepy:

And yes, even I would be creeped out by this thing, should I find myself in the presence of one:

Little headway has been made on Little Sis's request to start decorating the house with old dolls' heads.  I'm still maintaining a Pinterest board on the subject, just in case...
Now to leave you on a sweeter note, here is a photo of some happy Littlest Pet Shop Blythe dolls, enjoying a party in front of the Littlest Pet Shop Pet Hotel.  This photo is for you, Jane-Cherie, with a great big thanks, especially from Big Sis!

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Vampire Boy's Good Night

Vampire Boy's Good Night by Lisa Brown.  HarperCollins, 2010.
(Okay, I may or may not be getting carried away with the cool Halloween effects in PicMonkey. )

Vampire Boy's Good Night [HarperCollins, 2010] has been out a few years, but sadly, I missed it until now.  The girls and I loved this one.  It's adorable, and not really scary.

Meet little Bela, a vampire:

Lisa Brown's illustrations are quite clever.  Here is Bela getting ready for the night.  Note what's missing in the mirror.

Bela goes to meet his little witch friend, Morgan, and off they fly into the night.  Bela wants to search for children, but in a sweet little twist, Morgan scoffs and says:  

But as they fly, they spy something interesting below.  It's a house.  Are these creatures like themselves?  Or are they actually children?!?!

The girls and I giggled throughout this book.  There are a lot of jokes hidden in the illustrations, and if you visit the wonderful website for the book, you can move your mouse around Bela and Morgan's rooms and catch anything might have missed.  The website is full of games, printables, and other treats, too.  Well done!  I wish I would have noticed this book when I was still planning storytimes for the bookstore.

And just in case I haven't sold you on this book yet, here is the trailer:

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