Sunday, October 18, 2009

13 Novels for Halloween

halloween children's books

Looking for a ghoulishly good novel for Halloween? Below is a list of 13 book series and single titles that you won't want to put down.

This year's list includes rousing adventures with monsters, bewitching tales of high jinks and scary mysteries that leave you holding your breath.

1) Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles), written and illustrated by Alan Snow, Atheneum, ages 9-12, 544 pages. Arthur tries to thwart a fiendish plot to take over the town of Ratbridge with the help of boxtrolls, cabbageheads, rats, pirates and a frustrated inventor in this silly fantasy filled with more than 500 irresistible drawings.

2) Dreamhouse Kings Series, Books 1-6, written by Robert Liparulo, Thomas Nelson, ages 12+, 304 pages. After the King family moves into a run-down Victorian house, 15-year-old film buff Xander and his brother David stumble upon portals leading to far-off places in this pulse-pounding mystery series.

3) Barnaby Grimes series, by Paul Stewart, illustrated by Chris Riddell, David Fickling Books, ages 9-12, 224 pages. Leaping from roof to roof in a fictional city, a courier lad named Barnaby stumbles upon macabre mysteries involving a wolf-like creature and a stuffed bird in this Dickensian series by the creators of the bestselling Edge Chronicles.

4) Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury, illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini, Yearling, ages 9-12,160 pages. Eight boys follow a mysterious character named Moundshroud back in time on Halloween night to find their missing friend Pipkin in this haunting, exuberant classic that explores the history of this scary holiday.

5) The Worst Witch series, by Jill Murphy, Candlewick Press and Puffin Books, ages 9-12, up to 352 pages. A bungling girl witch-in-training named Mildred Hubble gets into hilarious fixes with her cat Tabby at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches in this classic 5-book series that debuted in 1974, with the latest books released in 2007.

6) Chrestomanci Books, by Diana Wynne Jones, Greenwillow Books, ages 9-12, up to 688 pages. Enchanters with nine lives try to stop the misuse of magic in parallel worlds in this outstanding fantasy series of six books and several short stories by the author of Howl's Moving Castle.

7) Mariah Mundi series, by G.P.Taylor, Putnam Juvenile and Faber Children's Books, ages 12 +, up to 336 pages. A 15-year-old orphan becomes an assistant in a hotel magic show and together with friend Sacha uncovers a box that can turn anything into gold in the first book of this spine-tingling 7-book series: The Midas Box.

8) The Last Apprentice series, by Joseph Delaney, illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith, Greenwillow Books, ages 12 +, up to 416 pages. Twelve-year-old narrator Tom Ward confronts all manner of boggarts, ghosts and other wicked beasts as apprentice to Mr. Gregory, a tall, hooded man he calls a Spook, in this chillingly good series, now in its eighth installment.

9) Tiffany Aching Adventure series, by Terry Pratchett, HarperTeen, ages 12 +, 336 pages. A girl witch learning her craft travels through Fairyland to rescue her brother, drives away a mind-controlling creature and thwarts the advances of the Wintersmith in this hilarious fantasy series, a subset of Pratchett's adult Discoworld.

10) Theodosia series, by R. L. LaFevers, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka, Sandpiper, ages 9-12, 400 pages. Eleven-year-old Theodosia Throckmorton learns how to remove curses around her father's museum, then takes on a secret society trying to bring chaos to the world in this fun, action-packed fantasy series.

11) Billy Bones books, by Christopher Lincoln, illustrated by Avi Ofer, Little, Brown Book Group, ages 9-12, 304 pages. Living in a mansion's secret closet with his skeleton family, 10-year-old Billy Bones discovers a shocking secret and searches for his Uncle Grim and cousin Millicent in the hidden world of Nevermore in this delightfully macabre series of two books.

12) The Black Book of Secrets and The Bone Magician, by F.E. Higgins, Feiwel and Friends, ages 9-12, up to 288 pages. Higgins presents two different stories in the same world of intrigue. In The Black Book of Secrets, Ludlow Fitch assists a mysterious pawnbroker trading money for secrets in a big black book, and in The Bone Magician, a corpse watcher named Pin Carpue encounters a magician who can raise corpses from the dead and make them speak as a killer roams the streets.

13) Seer of Shadows, by Avi, HarperCollins Children's Books, ages 8-12, 208 pages. A 14-year-old photographer's apprentice named Horace Carpetine sees the ghost of a couple's dead daughter in the background of a portrait and tries to prevent her from punishing those who hurt her in this wonderfully creepy tale by Newberry Medalist Avi.

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