Happy Friday, my dear readers! It's reading round-up time here on Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes, which means more seasonal reads. We like Halloween around here, what can I say? Little frights can be fun.
What Little Sis Read
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories (1984) and Ghosts!: Ghostly Tales from Folklore (1991) by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Victoria Chess. I Can Read! series, Level 2, Harpercollins.
Little Sis has been reading chapter books to me. Sometimes we alternate pages. We've read a Junie B. Jones book, half of the first Nancy Clancy book, and we just finished a Magic Tree House title. The catch is that I make her read them out loud, because otherwise, she starts skimming, skipping pages, etc. I'm convinced she needs more practice, using smaller books, but she wants to read big books like her sister! If I can find a beginning reader, though, that piques her interest, I feel like I've struck gold. Being able to read an entire book on her own, and quickly, makes her feel more confident. She loved reading Thank You, Amelia Bedelia, and she enjoyed both of these spooky titles by Alvin Schwartz. Schwartz is best known for his Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, but these are not so chilling. Like the Scary Stories, the tales and poems in the I Can Read! books are gathered from various sources, mostly folklore and urban legends, but they are more funny-scary than scary-scary. And instead of the nightmarish illustrations by Stephen Gammel, you get cute cartoony illustrations by Victoria Chess. Little Sis read each book in about 20 to 30 minutes. No nightmares, no fear, just the occasional giggle or shrug of the shoulders: "Eh, not really scary."
What I Read
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown isn't a Halloween book, but it definitely fits into the horror genre. It's another teen vampire novel, but well-written, suspenseful, and quite entertaining. It's set in an alternate universe, much like the very adult Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton, if you're familiar with those. [I gave up on them, but yeah, I used to read them. Don't judge.] In Coldtown, vampirism exists as an infection. If you are bitten, or if you're a vampire, you are sent to a Coldtown, a rotting city behind high walls, and it is there you will remain forever. The inhabitants of Coldtowns use the web to communicate with the outside world, often becoming TV or internet celebrities. When Tana, our protagonist, wakes up one morning in a farmhouse bathtub after a crazy teen party, she doesn't expect to discover the other guests lying in pools of blood, murdered by vampires. Entering a back bedroom, she finds her ex-boyfriend chained to a bed, a vampire infection beginning to creep through his veins - and a vampire chained beside the bed. It's a pretty wild ride, and made for some great late-night reading.
By the way, Big Sis is reading a Holly Black book, too: Doll Bones, which I blogged about last summer. We bought it last week at the Scholastic Book Fair, which I helped work at the school. She started it a couple days ago, and last I heard, she was on chapter three. We love our scary doll books - be expecting another doll post soon!
Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday. Egmont USA, 2014.
Of Monsters and Madness is the first book in a new series, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, with a twist of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (Check out the author's website. LOVE her main page right now!) The main character, Annabel Lee (tee hee) travels from Siam to Philadelphia. Her mother, a gifted healer, has died, and Annabel is off to live with the father she never knew. Philadelphia is as different from Siam as you can get, and Annabel doesn't know how to fit in. She hates the dresses and lessons in decorum, and when she tells her father that her dream is to become a surgeon, he becomes colder than ever. Her grandfather is kind to her, however, and she becomes friends with her young lady's maid. There is also Allan Poe, her father's research assistant, an aspiring writer and dashing presence. But her father has another assistant, Allan's look-alike cousin, Edgar, who Annabel is warned to avoid. There is also a murderer loose in Philadelphia, and the murders seem to getting closer to home. The last chapter of the book seemed to come out of nowhere, an obvious cliffhanger launch for the sequel, and it made the book feel very rushed. That is my main complaint. For the most part, however, I thought it made for another fun, late-night read, and the references to Poe's stories and poems made me smile. As a teenager, I adored all things Edgar Allan Poe, and if today's teenagers are anything like my 1990s self, I'm sure a few of them would enjoy this book.
And now, I'll leave you with some Poe-ish things to watch:
The one by Sarah Jarosz a favorite.
And finally, here is something a bit longer: Vincent Price's starring turn in
An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe from 1972.
[By the way, I have a whole Pinterest board called Poe Love, devoted to all things Edgar Allan Poe. I have several Halloween boards, too, devoted to vintage Halloween, Halloween crafts, kid stuff, and decor and entertaining. I also have a board called Holiday Books for Children, which is where my Halloween kids' books get pinned.]
Little Sis's pumpkin patch field trip was canceled yesterday. In fact, I think Halloween has been canceled, as far as the school is concerned. Even fall parties. (I feel an Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder post coming on...) Tomorrow is dance class and a book signing for a friend of mine at Watermark, then I do believe a trip to the pumpkin patch is in order. We may go see a silent movie in the evening. I'm playing it by ear. So much Halloween, so little time?
Merry Weekend, Friends! Happy Reading!