It’s Halloween

It’s Halloween by Jack Prelutsky
There are lots of children’s picture books for Halloween, but this one is fun because it’s a little longer and even has chapters! It’s great for the second/third graders who want to read something a little more than a picture book. It’s written in lyrical form, which is so fun, and it’s all about the kids on Halloween. There are ghosts and goblins, jack-o-lanterns and witches. There are some tricksters, some goblins, and even a scare or two. The illustrations are cute and fun, and it’s a story all the kids will love.
Rating: G (Clean!)
Recommendation: Everyone (Silent Read: End of first grade, second grade, third grade)

The Dark

The Dark by Lemony Snickey

I didn’t know Lemony Snicket wrote picture books until I picked this one up at the library. It’s a cute story about Laszlo, who is afraid of the dark. He knows that sometimes the dark hides in the closet or behind the shower curtain, but it is always hiding in the basement. Then, when night comes, the dark comes out of hiding and spreads out around the house. One night the dark visits Laszlo in his bedroom. What happens after that helps Laszlo to not be so afraid. It’s a well written story, it’s clever, and the illustrations are simple yet well done. This story would be great for a child who really is afraid of the dark, and it’s fun for Halloween as well. It has a good twist that teaches some valuable lessons.

I enjoyed this story, and my kids love it. I’m sure it is one of those books that we will check out and recheck out often.

Rating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Everyone

The Halloween Play

The Halloween Play by Felicia Bond
This is a cute little story. Roger’s school class is putting on a Halloween play. They practiced, sent out invites, and were ready to perform. Roger had an important part in this play and he was a little nervous. He had to wait a long time, and then it was finally his turn! This is a short book but it is cute and fun. The kids like it. Kids who have been involved with school performances will definitely relate. The illustrations are well done and tie the story together nicely. This is a fun book to add to your Halloween stack.
Rating: G (Clean!)
Recommendation: Everyone

[Book Review] The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book 
by 
Neil Gaiman

Summary:

“It takes a graveyard to raise a child. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy–an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack–who has already killed Bod’s family.”

My Review:

I had never heard of this book until my book group decided to read it this month. I really didn’t know what to expect, and you know me, I do NOT read the backs of the books or summaries about the books I read, before I read them. I like to be surprised and I like to be taken on a journey. Well, this book did both. It definitely surprised me, and I was definitely taken an an incredible journey. I was a little hesitant about reading it when a family is murdered on the first page. The descriptions of the murders and the murderer have enough detail that you know it’s awful and you know you never want to meet the man Jack, but thank goodness it doesn’t go into too many gory and gruesome details. It’s bad, don’t get me wrong, but this is a middle-grader book, so it could be worse. From a mother’s point of view, this part was horrible to read. Thinking about that baby made me sick to my stomach. And then even when he was out of immediate danger, really thinking about the logistics of what was happening still made me sick to my stomach. Luckily, the characters in this book save the day. As the reader you know that the baby is safe and that he will somehow be taken care of, and that is enough to immerse you in this world that Mr. Gaiman has created. The characters are so well developed. There is a hint of mystery to all of them, especially Silas, and it is just enough to make you wonder……Mr. and Mrs. Owens, Josiah Worthington, Caius Pompeius, Mother Slaughter, Scarlett, Mr. Pennyworth, Liza Hempstock, and Miss Lupescu each have their own places in this story, and they fit perfectly. This book is written and crafted very well. It does kind of jump from one random situation to another sometimes, but it doesn’t take away too much from the story and it’s not difficult to figure out what is going on. I really enjoyed this book. It’s so different and unique, and so well crafted, that it’s hard to put down. The graveyard becomes a well known and familiar place, and I will definitely think about graveyards differently when I pass by them now. The cemeteries around me are a little different because they aren’t too old or creepy, but I went to Boston years ago and went to a graveyard that had a couple of the Founding Fathers’ gravestones in it, and it was a little more spooky.

There isn’t any language or “intimacy” in this book, but there is a family that is murdered, and there is a murderer on the loose that wants to murder again. It is a graveyard, so there are ghouls and ancient scary guys. There are a few situations that may be scary to some readers. I love how Mr. Gaiman puts all the different elements and characters together; his use of language is very creative.

Rating: PG+ (A family is murdered and the murderer is on the loose, graveyard characters and situations that could be scary to some readers.)

Recommendation: 6th grade and up (I would not go younger than 11 years-old)

[Book Review] T. Rex Trick-or-Treats by Lois G. Grambling

T. Rex Trick-or-Treats 
by
Lois G. Grambling

My boys were crazy about dinosaurs when they were little. We have tubs of dinosaurs. They don’t get played with very often any more, and it’s crazy, but I miss it. This book is cute, but I think I love it more because of the sentimental value. It reminds me of those crazy-fun dinosaur days. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and so much fun. The characters’ expressions are great! The fonts are fun and different, and there are even different colors! I love the idea of the book that T. Rex wants to be something scary for Halloween. Hahaha…….is there anything scarier than a T-Rex dinosaur? T. Rex’s friends try and help, but they end up taking all his ideas. So what does T. Rex end up being for Halloween? You’ll need to read it to find out! The kids love this book! I love that there are repetitive phrases and words that even little kids can say, and I love that it reminds me of my cute little boys who loved dinosaurs. Even though they are big now (13 and 11), they will still sit with me and listen when I read this story. My girls (9 and 6) enjoy this book too! This Halloween book is definitely a keeper!

Rating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Everyone!

Skeleton Hiccups

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler
“What’s the best way to help a skeleton get over his bone-rattling teeth-chattering belly-laughing hiccups?”
This book is so fun. We have had it for a few years, and every Halloween this is the one the kids want me to read the most. We read it over and over. The poor skeleton and his friend ghost try everything to rid of his hiccups, and nothing works. When you’re reading it you have to say, “Hic, hic, hic” many times, but I usually make the kids say it, and they think that’s fun. The illustrations are great and well done. My kids love this story. It’s different and fun for Halloween. 
Rating: G (Clean!)
Recommendation: Everyone

All Hallows Eve: The Story of the Halloween Fairy

I’m starting Halloween Week with a girlie Halloween story. There’s nothing scary about this book, but the princesses and fairies will love it!
All Hallows Eve: The Story of the Halloween Fairy by Lisa Sferlazza Johnson
Summary:
Hailing from All Hallows Pumpkin Patch, the young fairy Eve loves candy, but can only make toys. Desperate to conjure her heart’s true desire, Eve practices and practices and is sure she will be successful on her birthday, October 31st! But when the day comes, even Eve’s finest attempts just yield toys shaped like candy. As her frustration grows, her party guests think up a wonderful way to save the day and create an annual celebration to share! Welcome to this enchanted fairy glen where Halloween’s origins and customs are presented in a way that will satisfy and delight readers of all ages! Beautiful illustrations and a lyrical story help Eve sprinkle her fairy dust as she exchanges her toys for collected candy to create the happiest, healthiest Halloween for us all!”
My Review:
What a cute story! My six-year-old daughter checked this out at the school library, and I think it is just adorable! A lot of the Halloween books are scarier and geared more toward boys, but this one is all for the girls! I love the illustrations and the cute curly font. This story explains how Halloween began, and it’s a great message of sharing, caring, and friendship. It’s creative and fanciful, well written, in lyrical form, and has a great message; what more could you ask for? I highly recommend this book for all the Halloween princesses, fairies, and girlies.
Rating: G (Clean!)
Recommendation: Everyone!

Kirby Puckernut and the Christmas Surprise

Kirby Puckernut and the Christmas Surprise by Alicia Richardson

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “Kirby Puckernut is Santa’s cleverest little elf. While dreaming up marvelous toys for good girls and boys, Kirby has his best idea yet–a real elf in every home, all through the holidays, spreading Christmas Magic! Santa finds the perfect family and allows Kirby to serve as the test elf for the first momentous visit. Fun and adventure are at every turn, but not everything goes as planned….Will Kirby’s idea be a success?”

If you’re like me, you love Christmas books. I love Christmas books! I try to have books for every holiday, but I have at least three times more Christmas books than any other holiday. I like to get a new Christmas book every year, and this year’s book is fabulous! It’s a cute story, well written, and it talks about the “Christmas Magic.” It is not just about the presents, it’s about the feeling of Christmas, the opportunities for service, and about thinking of others during Christmas. The characters are believeable and quite life-like. The 13 yr-old girl Izzie has a grumpy attitude about Christmas and no longer believes in “Christmas Magic.” She thinks it’s only for babies. Unfortunately, her feelings and how she behaves with those feelings, impact the entire family, especially her younger siblings. It’s a good story about attitude and family.

The illustrations in this book are amazing! I love them! They are beautiful and bring the book to life. I had all four of my kids squished around me on the couch, even my 11 yr-old, and they were captivated with the story and the pictures.

On a side note, you can purchase your own “Kirby” on the author’s website, and have your own personal elf this season. I didn’t do that, but it could be fun!

I really enjoyed this book and so did my kids. I’m sure we will be reading it over and over before Christmas comes. I definitely recommend it!!! It’s a new Christmas favorite.

Rating: G (Clean and great for everyone!)

Recommendation: Everyone will enjoy this book, young and old.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review of Holy Stable by Heidi Hanseen

Holy Stable by Heidi Hanseen

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “The heavenly gift of Christmas transforms hearts and homes. Create lasting memories as you experience with family and friends the shared affection at Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph’s devotion to God and sublime caring for each other will bring you to experience the story as never before. As Joseph searches for comforting words to offer Mary, he is attended by angel children who sing along to welcome Baby Jesus. Discover how sharing the gift of Jesus’ love blesses relationships, as you enjoy the magic of children’s narration, original music, and song.”

This is a beautiful book! The gold-tipped pages are beautiful and give you a sense that what is in the book is important. The illustrations are well done and add greatly to the story. The story of Mary and Joseph is written in poem form and done very well. It is tender and not corny. The music on the CD is very soft and calming. The children’s voices are so sweet and convey the message of Christmas well. I love the idea of having the music, narration, and a downloadable script all wrapped up together with the book. This will make having the Christmas pageant in your home or church much easier. You can use her narration or just the music. There are many ways to make it fit perfectly with your needs. Thank you, Ms. Hanseen for such a beautiful book. I will definitely be reading this one to my children this Christmas season.

Rated: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Great for everyone!!

Discloure: I did receive a free book in exchange for this review; however, this does not sway my opinion. All my reviews are honest.