There's a spooky book for everyone in our special Halloween selection!
Best-selling Goth Girl is back for an action-packed new adventure in this stunningly produced volume by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell which has the additional delight of a mini-book, Fable of a Faun, tucked into it. Lord Goth is turning Ghastly-Gorm Hall into the venue for Gothstock, a sensational music festival that will match his home. Naturally, Ada Goth is thrilled at the thought but will it all go to plan? In both words and pictures Chris Riddell creates an amazing cast of characters and the most original escapades in which they are all entangled.
It’s over forty years since publication of Jill Murphy’s first Worst Witch story but you’d never know it from reading the books; certainly this new story is as fresh and sparky as anything around and magical reading for youngsters. Neatly observed friendships and classroom rivalries plus Mildred’s accidental mishaps are the basis of the stories, all cleverly mixed up of course with magic. Mildred’s broomstick handling improved considerably when she found little dog Star, with him perched behind her she’s much better at flying and when his real owners arrive to claim him, she is heartbroken. But, as headmistress Miss Cackle points out, Mildred has an extraordinary knack for sorting things out – can she find a way to keep Star, and frustrate arch enemy Ethel in the process? The plot zooms along as smoothly as a broomstick at top speed, realism, fantasy and humour in perfect balance. It’s an absolute treat for young readers, spellbinding early reading.
A Dirty Bertie collection to delight his legions of fans who revel in his revolting ways! Featuring nine stories from Fangs!, Scream! and Zombie! A review for Fangs! - Disgusting Dirty Bertie is back for a new set of mucky adventures. As ever he has some crazy plans up his sleeve most of which involve him being disgusting in more ways than can easily be imagined. This time Bertie dresses up as a vampire for his school’s book week. But someone else has the same idea and soon things are going far from smoothly for Bertie! ~ Julia Eccleshare
Always look a gift-horse in the mouth could be the message of this highly entertaining, very funny new book from master of the madcap adventure Barry Hutchinson. Lisa-Marie and her step-brother Vernon are out shopping for a present for Dad when they wander into the local Create-a-Ted store, tempted - Vernon in particular - by the sign in the window offering 'free' Hallowe'en bears. No sooner have they left with one teddy bear witch, one teddy bear vampire, and one teddy bear Elvis (for Dad) than the trouble starts. The bears come to life and - Bearvis excepted - they are anything but cuddly. Can Lisa-Marie and Vernon stop squabbling long enough to save their parents and their town from the marauding teddies? It manages to be both silly and exciting and, I'm glad to say, sets things up nicely for further adventures.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | This must be one of the brightest and best picture books of the year. With minimalist illustrations – simple shapes against blocks of Day-Glo colour – and short lines of text, Morag Hood tells a story that will dazzle and entertain all readers. Cherries, Bat tells us, ‘are my favourite things’, following this up with a fiercely delivered threat: ‘Do not take my cherries.’ In later pages though we see the cherries being stolen. Bat is inconsolable until one of the thieves leaves a pear in their place. Bat’s emotions – joy, anger, confusion, despair, surprise and joy again – are rendered brilliantly in the tilt of an eyebrow and the angle of the head while the intensity of those emotions will be hilarious yet recognisable to child and parent alike. Superb!
“Ghosts are everywhere...Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.” So claims Cass, the awesomely amiable heroine of this atmospheric treat for pre-teen readers. But, in Cass’s case, she actually can see ghosts, and her adorable best friend Jacob just happens to be one. Her gift of supernatural sight comes in very handy for her parents, a pair of bungling ghost-hunters called The Inspectres. While they’re on a TV show assignment in eerily-evoked, phantom-ridden Edinburgh, Cass meets a fellow ghost see-er (an In-betweener) and quickly becomes caught up in a high-stakes mission that forces her to hone her gift while traversing the worlds of the living and the dead. Alongside the smart concept and rollicking action, Cass and Jacob’s friendship (replete with fun Friendship Rules, and cemented by their love of comics), gives this tale a tingly, warm glow. Quirky, cute and creepy, this is middle grade fiction at its most entertaining.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | Kaye Umansky, the creator of the much-loved Pongwiffy stories follows up Witch for a Week with a new adventure about Magenta Sharp, a rather muddled local witch, and Elsie Pickles, the little girl she gets to help her. In this new adventure Elsie is invited back to the wandering tower that is Magenta’s home to help the witch to sort out the terrible chaos of her magic-selling business. Magenta has been ignoring the paperwork and she is now attracting so many complaints that she is threatened with the loss of her magical licence! Can Elsie save Magenta’s business? And can she also help her to keep an unruly genie under control while she is about it? as ever, Kaye Umansky’s magic is deliciously frothy and ridiculously good fun. Julia Eccleshare's Picks for September: The Legend of Kevin: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure by Philip Reeve The Girl, the Bear and the Magic Shoes by Julia Donaldson Happy: A Children's Book of Mindfulness by Nicola Edwards Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots by Michael Rosen You've Got a Friend by Judi Curtin Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co., Book 1) by Anna James Wish for a Witch by Kaye Umansky Poems to Live Your Life By by Chris Riddell Once Upon a Wild Wood by Chris Riddell
As much a game as a book, this is lots of fun to read, and lots of fun to look at too. Two little children, a boy and a girl, are all dressed up and ready to go trick or treating. The meet all sorts of creatures – a creepy, sleepy spider, a naughty, warty toad, a wizard’s noisy owl and a sliding, gliding ghost. Young readers can join in as the growing list is repeated on each page, and there’s a super surprise ending too. With its engaging text and gorgeous illustrations this will put everyone in the mood for Hallowe’en. A definite treat!
On the surface, this is a story about a girl who discovers she's a witch, in a world where that is a highly dangerous thing to be. But it's contemporary life that really fascinates Melvin Burgess and this is as much a story of growing up and independence as it is a story of dark magic. It also contains a thoroughly disturbing dissection of coercion and control as central character Bea is manipulated into doing things that cause irrevocable harm to herself and others. The book opens with Bea and her family returning home after a day out. Crossing the moors they run into The Hunt, violent supernatural creatures tracking and attacking other witches. Bea is able to stop them, powerfully summoning help but revealing her supernatural ability at the same time. With the awakening of her witch nature, the world becomes a different place, more beautiful but more frightening as she is surrounded by visions that only she can see. Befriended by other witches she is given a terrible choice: safety and freedom with them means she must leave her own human family for ever. Under pressure from her parents she decides to give up her new powers for a 'normal' life, but is snatched away at the last minute by the wild boy she is beginning to love - is it a rescue, or an abduction? It's typical of Burgess that the book raises so many questions about temptation and individual choice, freedom and responsibility; typical too that the consequences of Bea's decisions are shown to be so painful, and permanent. Powerful, uncompromising reading.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Everybody knows what they think about bullies, but this story might make them think again. Jason Banks is king of the school, not because he’s clever or popular but because he’s a bully and everyone is afraid of him. Then a new girl joins the class. Millie is small and pale, and doesn’t seem to be scared of anything. She knows a way to give Jason a taste of his own medicine but she knows too what he really needs to change. This funny, clever and entertaining story will get readers thinking and talking. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+.
In a nutshell: one of our funniest writers works her magic From the creator of the much-loved Pongwiffy books comes a new series that mixes magic, friendship and comedy together, with an extra helping of charm. Young Elsie Pickles helps out in her family shop, in the dull little town of Smallbridge on the river Dribble. When the local witch arrives to advertise for a house sitter Elsie jumps at the chance and begins a week minding a magical tower and looking after the witch’s talking raven Corbett. As Elsie settles in and gets to know the witch’s other friends and neighbours, she can’t help trying a little magic herself. Elsie, Corbett and their friends are wonderful characters and this is a lovely read; full of fun and adventure, comedy and excitement, it will keep children smiling from beginning to end. ~ Andrea Reece
The term Halloween, and its older spelling Hallowe'en, is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the evening before "All Hallows' Day" (also known as "All Saints' Day"). Halloween was also sometimes called All Saints' Eve.
The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries and given a Christian interpretation.
So to celebrate general spookiness and horror we have a selection of books that will hopefully fright and delight in equal measure children of all ages as well as grown-ups who have never quite grown up or don’t like to think they have!
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