Hello, bats and ghouls! It is Friday. I have spent most of the week at the school again. Early dismissal for conferences coincides with the Scholastic Book Fair, and I've spent a lot of time behind the counter, volunteering for PTO.
As you can see above, Little Sis and I paid a visit to a pumpkin patch last weekend. It was a Girl Scout field trip. Isn't the Minion haystack a riot? We picked out a humongous pumpkin, which we will carve into something awesome (I hope) and a lovely blue pumpkin for cooking and baking. Oh, and two smaller pie pumpkins, too!
Here is a round-up of some of our other seasonal reads. It's especially hard to review books this time of year. I don't want to give up any elements of surprise! I have a few more things to cover next week, as we count down to Halloween.
What We Read
Only A Witch Can Fly by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo. Feiwel & Friends, 2009.
This book makes many a list in the blogosphere, but we only read it for the first time recently. The illustrations - oh my. They are gorgeous! The simple story of a little witch learning how to fly, the text is very rhythmic and soothing. It reads like a well-written bedtime story. One you can read before dreaming of flying across the moon on a broomstick...
The Halloween Kid is so much fun! Toilet-papering mummies ruining your Halloween with their tricks? Or pumpkin-suckin' vampires? Leaf-pile ghosts? The Giant Miami Werewolf? The Goodie Goblins? Well, just you wait. The Halloween Kid might ride in on his trusty steed to save the
You can find printable activity sheets at the publisher's website. Click here to watch the trailer for the long-awaited animated special. There is also a video teaching you how to draw The Halloween Kid.
Like the similarly-titled No Such Thing, this is the cute story of a little one (a boy, this time) who does not believe in ghosts, even though the signs are all around him. The little ghosts in this minimally-colored book are adorable. My favorite illustration is a two-page spread of ghosts queued up in the hallway to use the bathroom, in varying stages of familiar discomfort. Who knew ghosts still needed the facilities?
What I Read
Finally, the third book in Ransom Riggs' series, inspired by a collection of old "found" photographs. It's an interesting series. While I didn't mind the first book, it was hardly a favorite. It felt a bit gimmicky and contrived, relying heavily on the weird old photographs. The second book greatly improved upon the concept, as the story and characters became more exciting. I didn't love Library of Souls quite as much as I loved Hollow City, but it does bring the story of our peculiars to a satisfying end.
Tim Burton is directing the movie version of the first book. No trailer yet, but the official film page is up!
The Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano. Bloomsbury USA, 2015.
I found this book at my local indie the same day I bought this one. The synopsis sounded promising, but I was unfamiliar with the author, so I tracked it down at the library. It's the story of a young girl, Pram, who was born dead. Her mother died as she was born, and Pram was massaged back to life. Because of these circumstances, Pram can see ghosts. Her best friend from childhood, Felix, is a ghost. Pram is raised by her kindly aunts, who have refrained from sending her to school until now. Pram meets a boy, Clarence, who has lost his mother. The bad guys in this book are not the ghosts, but a scary spiritualist, who wants to harness Pram's power for herself. The Curious Tale of the In-Between is haunting, but not scary. I would recommend it to an older elementary-aged child.
The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015.
I read two books bearing the name "Emma Trevayne" last year. The first was a very fun middle grade steampunk fantasy, Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times, which Big Sis is currently reading during silent reading time at school. [She bought her own copy with a birthday gift card!] The second was a spooky collaborative effort called The Cabinet of Curiosities. I was excited to pick this one up when I found it at the bookstore. Who could resist a title like that? The book begins with young Thomas and his father, sneaking out in the night to rob graves. It is the way the family scrapes by, poor as they are, in Victorian London. Things take a turn for the strange when Thomas uncovers a fresh grave, bearing a body that looks just like Thomas, right down to the same birthmark. While the book contains elements of creepiness - grave-robbing, spiritualists, talk of ghosts - it is really, at heart, a fairy story. And if you know me, you know I love fairy stories. It isn't a perfect book, but it's definitely different, and I enjoyed it.
We have more Halloweenish plans this weekend, although Little Sis is home sick today. Do you have any fun planned?
Merry Weekend! Happy Reading! and
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