7 Not So Scary Halloween Books for Younger Readers.

Halloween can be great fun with costumes, trick or treating, Halloween parties and spooky stories but some children don’t like the scary aspects of Halloween so much. Here are 7 not so scary Halloween books for younger readers.

Cover of Ten Orange Pumpkins bookTen Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage

This Halloween themed counting book is perfect for younger readers. Count along as one by one, pumpkins disappear in spooky ways! The illustrations in this book are perfect, simple but with a solid Halloween vibe.

Orange pumpkin on deep blue backgroundHappy Halloween by Liesbet Slegers

Happy Halloween takes us through a fun Halloween day filled with many activities celebrated with friends and family, from pumpkin carving to making a Halloween present to trick or treating. This is a sweet not spooky story that would be great for little readers. The illustrations are bright and colourful and combined with the story, make a very cheerful Halloween book!

Haunted house with pumpkin and moonBoo! Haiku by Deanna Caswell and Bob Shea

Boo! Haiku is a fun Halloween read aloud book. Kids will enjoy guessing what each of the ten haikus is describing. The illustrations are cute, making this book sweet instead of scary, and the illustrations give clues for each haiku. Although this book would be wonderful for younger readers because it isn’t scary, it still has a Halloween vibe and it’s interesting enough that kids who are a bit older would enjoy it too. Great for introducing poetry!

Pookie pig with two jack o lanternsSpooky Pookie by Sandra Boynton

Follow Pookie as he searches for a costume in this sweet Halloween board book. A must have board book for all Sandra Boynton fans.

Peep and Egg chicksPeep and Egg I’m Not Trick or Treating by Laura Gehl, pictures by Joyce Wan

Peep and Egg are getting ready for Halloween but everything scares Egg and reminds him that he doesn’t want to go trick or treating. Peep decides to go trick or treating by themselves, but being left all alone is pretty scary for Egg! So they gather their courage to go trick or treating with Peep. This Halloween board book would be great for younger kids or any kids who are worried about going trick or treating.

Pug and Pig in skeleton Halloween costumesPug and Pig Trick or Treat by Sue Lowell Gallion and Joyce Wan

In this sweet Halloween book for younger readers, Pig and Pug are ready for Halloween with their costumes, scarecrows and pumpkins. Pig loves everything about her costume but Pug does not love his costume. Pig is sad because she wants someone to do all of the fun Halloween activities with. Pug doesn’t want to join in until he gets an idea for a new Halloween costume that he will love. This story is a great not so scary Halloween book. It’s also a great book to introduce the idea of compromises and the fact that it’s ok to like different things than your friends. This is probably my favourite book on the list. I really love pugs, and the illustrations by Joyce Wan are absolutely adorable! (She also illustrated Peep and Egg I’m Not Trick or Treating, above)

Emu and other Australian animlas in front of a full moonEmu’s Halloween written by Anne Morgan and illustrated by David Cornish.

Emu wants to make a scary Halloween party but isn’t sure what to do. His friends join in to make a spooky Halloween party. This Halloween book is a fun and not scary Halloween book. The story features different Australian animals like a Tasmanian devil and an echidna, neat for a book to feature more unusual animals that are not frequently shown in kid’s books. This book also makes an interesting way to talk about working together and making friends.

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Funny Back to School Books for Kids.

Whether you’re introducing a kindergarten student to their very first day of school, preparing your children to go back to school, or welcoming your students back to school, a funny story can be a good way to ease fears and make a child feel welcome in their school. Here are a couple of excellent funny back to school books for kids.

What the Dinosaurs Did at School by Refe and Susan Tuma

Cover of What the Dinosaurs Did at School

Follow the adventures of these plastic dinosaurs as they explore the school, creating chaos wherever they go! What the Dinosaurs Did at School by Refe and Susan Tuma is a fun and silly book that is great for any kid that is wild about dinosaurs! The photographs in this book are funny and exciting, with so many different things going on in each picture. From creating a mess out of food in the cafeteria to causing a creative disaster in the art room, these dinosaurs will keep you entertained throughout the whole book- and the whole school!

Milk Goes to School by Terry Border

Cover of Milk Goes to School

Milk Goes to School is an entertaining read that is full of word play. This picture book is full of fun puns and great photos that show the adventures of Milk, Cupcake, Waffle and other friends on the first day of school. I loved that this book was a bit of a cautionary tale on acting snotty towards kids at school- Milk has an attitude towards her classmates, but comes around and learns her lesson, and learns how to make friends. This is wonderful book to read in a family with younger and older kids- the puns will entertain even the older kids and they can have fun finding and pointing out the silly details in the photos- like “Pride and Pickle Juice” It’s also a fun read for adults!

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School’s First Day of School Book Review

School’s First Day of School– story by Adam Rex and pictures by Christian Robinson

Book cover of School's First Day of School

School’s First Day of School is a creative back to school book written in a unique perspective- the school building itself! School is built over the summer, and enjoys janitor coming each day to get school ready. But will he enjoy the experience of having the teachers and children arriving and spending all day in him?

Christian Robinson’s illustrations are simple, warm and inviting. His illustrations shows many differences in the children- some come to school by car, by walking, by bicycle, or by school bus. They come in a rainbow of hues. I really appreciated the illustration of a child in a wheelchair- it can be very difficult to find books that are inclusive and this book gives a wonderful sense of inclusivity and belonging. This would be a great book for children who are nervous to begin their first day of school or who are starting at a new school.

School’s First Day of School would make a wonderful book for reading aloud, especially to a kindergarten class to welcome them on their very first day of school.  Adam Rex really shows the personality of the school by writing his thoughts and his conversations with the janitor. I really enjoyed the fact that the negative thoughts of the children and the school are shown as well as the positive thoughts. Even though there can be bad parts to school, overall it is a wonderful experience to come together, learn and make new friends. School’s First Day of School is a fabulous picture book for back to school.

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Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets Book Review

Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets by Pei-Yu Chang

Mr. Benjamin and his suitcase of secrets

Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets is a picture book about a German philosopher named Mr. Benjamin. When his country  starts punishing people for having different ideas, he goes to see a woman named Mrs. Fittko who knows many secret passageways. Mrs. Fittko works to take people who are different over the border to the neighbouring country so that they do not get punished. Although the people who are escaping are told to pack lightly, Mr. Benjamin arrives with a large suitcase and insists on carrying it over the mountains. When Mr. Benjamin is turned away at the border, he disappears along with his suitcase. Everyone wonders about the contents of the suitcase and everyone has a different theory.

Mr. Benjamin carrying his large suitcase

Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of secrets is based on the real Walter Benjamin, a German author and philosopher who attempted to escape the Nazis in Germany during the Second World War Mrs. Fittko was also a real person, an Austrian name Lisa Fittko who was estimated to have helped 80,000 people who would have been persecuted into freedom.

 

 

Soldiers and people being arrested.

This is such an important book, especially in light of current events, it’s beautifully written and illustrated, and helps to explain a very difficult subject in a way that will make children understand without making them fearful and afraid. Including the character of Mrs. Fittko shows children the importance of standing up for and helping others.

 

Mrs. Fittko walking up a gangplank.

The illustrations are wonderful, managing to be whimsical while still meshing with the story.  The layered look of the illustrations makes the book  come to life. Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets is a touching and moving story that would make a great starting point for a conversation about differences, helping others, World War Two or current events.

Mr. Benjamin's hat and wand on a blue chair.

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The Year of the Garden Book Review

The Year of the Garden book cover

The Year of the Garden is written by Andrea Cheng and illustrated by Patrice Barton. The Year of the Garden follows Anna as she moves into a new house, makes a new friend and creates a garden over the course of a year. Inspired by reading the Secret Garden, Anna imagines creating a wonderful garden.

Cheng’s characters are very well written, detailed and interesting enough to make you want to know more about them. I like that the group of characters is multi-generational and diverse. Anna is Chinese-American and her heritage is shown through language, food and traditions shown in the book.

This is a great beginner chapter book with easy to follow writing that will still keep kid’s interest. It would also be a great book to read for back to school, as it deals with making new friends and fitting in. The Year of the Garden is a prequel to The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng and illustrated by Abigail Halpin, which I’m going to have to add to my TBR list!

Through the Gate Book Review

Cover of Through the Gate children's book by Sally FawcettThrough the Gate by Sally Fawcett is the story of a girl who moves to a new house, and gradually finds a home. I love the simple prose and the pattern it follows, repeating without being boring. The illustrations use the contrast between the grey scale and colour beautifully, and it really adds to the story, showing the difference between what the character feels about her new house versus how she feels about the other houses and things she passes on her way to school.

This book is a great story to read and re-read, children can point out the differences in each scene as the house changes bit by bit. A wonderful story for children who have recently moved or will soon move, or children that are going through any kind of changes in their life. it would make a good story to start reading before back to school, as a child starts going to school for the first time or as they go through the changing of classrooms and teachers when entering a new grade.

Book Review: An After Bedtime Story

Book Review: An After Bedtime Story by Shoham Smith. Illustrated by Einat Tsarfati and translated by Annette Appel

 

Cover of An After Bedtime Story childrens bookIn this rhyming story, Mom and Dad get little Nina down to bed…but she doesn’t stay asleep! Who can stay in bed while the adults are having a party in the living room? Mom and Dad try to maintain order while Nina gets one last hug from her Aunt…then a treat…then another treat! The rest of the guests join in on the fun while Mom and Dad try and fail to get Nina back to bed. Once her little sibling wakes up the party is in full swing! Poor Mom and Dad are so tired out from all of the hijinks that they crash on the couch, but their guests are kind enough to let them sleep while they clean up after their wild party.

This strongly reminded me of my relationship with my nieces. I’m giving horsie rides as poor Mom is trying to tell them that the living room isn’t a playground! I guess that’s part of the fun of being an Aunt or Uncle though, right?

I really loved the minimalist colour scheme of this book- everything is done in shades of pink, yellow, black, white and grey. The drawings are so well done however that the pictures are never boring. The illustrator added so many details such as items in the rooms and the expressions on faces, that there’s so much to look at, even without using a lot of colour.

Page from An After Bedtime Story children's book

 

Imprint: Abrams Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

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Book Review: Alice & Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds

Book Review: Alice & Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds by Jaime Temairik

Cover photo of Alice and Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds children's bookThis is a sweet story about two bear sisters who enjoy sharing many things…but not everything! When they realize that they need separate beds they come up with the idea to buy bunk beds. They understand that they are going to need some money to buy the bunk beds, so they come up with the idea of getting a job. Luckily for them, their first job interview is successful and they land a job looking after a wedding cake while the baker is away.

When they find out that babysitting a cake is a boring job they decide to have a bake off. Lucy and Alice shows off the differences in their personality when they choose what to make- plain peanut butter cookies for Alice and a jelly pie for Lucy. They also have very different ways of baking- while Alice is neat, precise and cautious, Lucy is messy and throws caution and planning to the wind.

When their arguing over the results of the bake off results in them ruining the wedding cake right before the groom arrives to pick it up, they realize that they need to save the day with a new wedding cake. Alice and Lucy blend together their tastes and talents to create a fabulous new wedding cake! Hopefully everyone will like it.

This was a very heart warming book about sisters finding out that they don’t always have to agree or like the same things, but compromising and working together will get great results. The illustrations were well done, and I really loved the funny details in the pictures, like the industrial strength sprinkles and the buttons on the mixer. This makes it a great family read and a great book to read to a group of children with mixed ages. Alice & Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds is the first book that Jaime Temairik has written and I’m sure that her future books will be just as fun to read! You can find out more about the author at her website.

Happy Birthday to Author Marc Brown!

Happy Birthday to author Marc Brown! Marc Brown is the creator of the Arthur books. The Arthur books were a favourite of mine when I was a child, and I still enjoy reading them and sharing them with kids today. Although the Arthur character looks different these days than he did when I was a child, he’s still the same fun character.

Original Arthur and current Arthur.
What Arthur looked like when the first books were written (left), and what Arthur currently looks like (right).

These days there are many more Arthur books, you can find one for almost any Holiday or event. there is even an Arthur television show that has won 6 Emmy Awards and received 25 Emmy nominations. I don’t always enjoy television shows or movies that are based on books but the Arthur series is a very high quality show that keeps the character and messages of the Arthur books intact.

Here’s some of my favourite Arthur books:

Arthur's New Puppy book cover
Arthur’s New Puppy
Arthur's Lost Library Book book cover
Arthur’s Lost Library Book
Arthur's Underwear book cover
Arthur’s Underwear
Arthur's Tooth book cover
Arthur’s Tooth

Do you have a favourite Arthur book? Share in the comments!

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Monster Books That Won’t Give Kids Nightmares.

Monsters are a popular topic for kids but some monster stories can be a bit too scary for some kids. These monster books are more sweet than scary, but will still delight your little monster lover!

Mrs. Mo’s Monster by Paul Beavis

Mrs Mo's Monster book coverWhen a monster visits Mrs. Mo’s house, will he be destructive or can he find something helpful to do? This book will make for a fun read aloud, with children joining in on the monster’s actions “Crunch, Munch and Chew!”. Mrs. Mo’s Monster has a funny ending that will give the children a giggle.

Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin

Monsters Love Colors books coverThe colourful monsters in this book show children how much fun colours can be! The illustrations are colorful and full of texture. I love how the text really matches the flow of the words and the movement of the monsters. These are happy, dancing, bouncing monsters- not scary at all!

My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown

My Teacher is a Monster book coverBobby’s teacher, Mrs. Kirby, is an absolute monster! But when he runs into her outside of the classroom, will he see a different side to her? Children will enjoy the entertaining story as much as seeing the subtle changes in the illustrations. Although Mrs. Kirby may seem a little frightening at first, kids will finish the book with a changed heart.

How to Win a Monster Race by Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves

How to Win a Monster Race book coverWhen Albie’s trip to the car wash turns into joining in on a car race with monsters, there’s loads of excitement! This is a fast paced and silly story that manages to sneak in a lesson on teamwork too. The brightly coloured, furry looking monsters in this book are more cuddly looking than scary.

Monster Trouble by Lane Fredrickson and illustrations by Michael Robertson

Monster Trouble book coverBrave Winifred Schnitzel tries every night to get rid of the monsters that visit. Not because she is scared, but because they keep her awake. Winifred comes up with several clever ideas to chase off the monsters until she comes across the secret to getting rid of them and getting a good nights rest!

What are your favourite monster books for children?

 

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