Monday, October 29, 2012

Books that Go Boo!

HALLoWeEn 2012. Ten books to scare in the holiday!

Click the titles below or scroll down to see them all!

from The Boo! Book
1. Monster Mash

1. Monster Mash

Pictures by David Catrow
$16.99, ages 4 and up, 40 pages

A laboratory monster rises off its slab and does a herky-jerky dance, in this hysterical rendition of the 1962 novelty song, Monster Mash.

Illustrator David Catrow brings his splashy, frenetic art to the classic song by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and Lenny Capizzi, and gets readers dancing in their seats.

Late one night, as the song goes, a begoggled scientist flips the switch to his monster's electrodes and his monster begins a wild, stomping dance.

As the monster lifts a giant brick foot, he nearly squishes the scientist, then lurches ahead, swishing his bottom this way and that, as he gets down with a spiky-furred hepcat.

On bended knees with arms swaying like they're doing the Watusi, the two dip and swivel across a two-page spread, sending ghouls racing down from their castle abodes to get into the rhythm too.

2. Black Dog

Story & pictures by Levi Pinfold
Templar, 2012
$15.99, ages 4-7, 32 pages.

When a stray dog shows up outside, a family panics and assumes the worst: The dog is big and black, so he must be after them.

Soon the family's fear of the dog has become so overblown that the dog has ballooned to size of their house.

So why then is the smallest member of the family running outside to play with him?

In this quirky picture book, family members feed off each other's fear of a stray -- until the youngest member shows them all how ridiculous they're being.

Author-illustrator Levi Pinfold shows how fear is learned (by watching others act afraid), and how it can also be unlearned (if someone has the gumption to face it).

3. Splendors and Glooms

By Laura Amy Schlitz
Candlewick, 2012
$17.99, ages 9-13, 400 pages

A girl trapped by an evil spell helps two orphans fend off a ruthless master, as a witch tries to use them all to rid herself of a curse, in this spooky novel.

Newbery Medal winner Schlitz tells the story of Clara, a lonely girl who's haunted by reminders of her siblings' deaths and is desperate to feel happy again.

One day she sees a street magician Gaspare Grisini manipulate puppets as if they were alive and she's so entranced that she convinces her father to invite Grisini to entertain for her 12th birthday.

But after her party, Clara disappears, and Grisini's apprentices, two orphans, discover that their master has a criminal past and suspect that he's kidnapped Clara.

Before police can catch Grisini, the magician disappears and the orphans, Lizzie and Parsefall, fearing they're under suspicion too, flee London and fall into an evil trap.

4. Pigmares

Pictures and poems by Doug Cushman
$12.95, ages 7-12, 44 pages

Pigs with fangs and stitched-up snouts groan poetic in Cushman's hilarious homage to monster movies.

This clever collection of poems begins with a pig in bed gasping at the TV screen as he realizes he should never have watched horror films before going to sleep.

Creepy images from the movies seep into his head (from "a thousand-foot pig breathing nuclear fire" to "gurgling gasps from a swamp's murky mire").

Then as sleep overtakes him, he has a series of pigmares described over the next 16 poems, in which famous monsters are re-imagined as pigs.

Pigzilla is a green-snouted Godzilla who wakes up with a radioactive roar and Werehog is a furry pig who shakes windowsills with his mournful tune.

5. Raven Boys (Book 1, Raven Cycle)

By Maggie Stiefvater
$18.99, ages 13 and up, 416 pages

A 16-year-old girl is drawn into a boy's quest to awaken a dead medieval king after she learns the boy is doomed to die and she may be the cause of it.

In this spellbinding first book in the Raven Cycle series, author Maggie Stiefvater tells the story of Blue Sargent, a non-seer in a family of psychics, who one night sees more than she should.

Outside the ruins of church on St. Mark's Eve, she sees the spirit of a prep school boy named Gansey walking down the corpse road, the spiritual path of the future dead. She's told by her clairvoyant half-aunt that the only reason a non-seer would see a spirit is if the boy is her true love or she's the one who kills him.

Blue has always been told by psychics that if she kisses her true love, he will die, and now that seems all too possible. But why Gansey?

6. The Monsters' Monster

Words & pictures by Patrick McDonnell
$16.99, ages 3-6, 40 pages

When three bitty monsters try to create the biggest, meanest monster ever, their plan goes awry and they're left with a monster who giggles instead.

In this adorable picture book by Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell, Grouch, Grump and Gloom 'n' Doom live for being bad, but is that all there is to life?

They think so and work at it with a passion. The trio lives in a dark monster castle on a dark monster mountain that sits above a monster-fearing village, and they have big monster thoughts.

They smash things, huff and puff about nothing, and say, "No!" as much as they can.

They also argue about who complains the loudest and who is the most miserable. And they always seal their arguments with a brawl.

The only problem is that it's never clear in the end who is worse.

So one day they decide to create a giant, hideous monster that they can all agree is the scariest of them all.

7. Nightsong

By Ari Berk
Pictures by Loren Long
$17.99, ages 4 and up, 48 pages

A baby bat braves the deep, dark night by singing out to the world and listening to the world echo back, in this poetic picture book.

As Chiro sends out streams of sounds from his mouth, the branches of trees that he cannot see call back to him.

Then electrical lines echo back and soon all the tiny, flying tasty things he wants to eat call too.

But when Chiro wanders beyond the places he knows, will he still be able to hear the song of his home and find his way back to Mother?

8. The Boo! Book

By Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
Pictures by Nicoletta Ceccoli
Atheneum, 2012
$17.99, ages 4 and up, 46 pages

In this delightful story, a boy's curiosity takes flight as he imagines what a book ghost would do if he ran into a reader like you.

While reading in a comfy chair with his legs dangling over an arm, the boy gets the notion that his book is haunted, then comes up with all the ways in which book ghosts spook about.

Illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli gives ghosts a wondrous, mischevious look: their bodies are like swirls of Marshmallow Topping and have fangs as tiny as the tips of toothpicks.

9. The Baby That Roared

By Simon Puttock
Pictures by Nadia Shireen
Nosy Crow, 2012
$15.99, ages 3 and up, 32 pages

Yearning for a fawn of their own, a deer couple takes in a furry, abandoned baby, then can't figure out why their baby's caretakers keep disappearing.

In this adorable picture book by Scottish author Simon Puttock, Mr. and Mrs. Deer are so delighted to find a baby at their door that they miss all of the warning signs that the baby's a monster.

His fur is shaggy and blue, his antlers are sewn from knit cloth and he has a toothy under bite, yet all they see is a dear, defenseless little orphan.

10. Just Say Boo

By Susan Hood
Pictures by Jed Henry
$12.99, ages 4 and up, 32 pages

Three trick-or-treaters learn to scare away their fears by yelling "Boo!" at every spooky thing they see, in this empowering, rhyming read-aloud.

A girl and two boys see everyday things become dark and gloomy on Halloween night, then take charge of their fears and recognize what's really there.

Each time something shifts or rattles along the sidewalk, the girl, in witch apparel, and the boys, dressed as bat and a shark, wither and tremble.

But only for a page, as author Susan Hood reminds them what to say to chase their fright away.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooky Book Giveaway

Send Toon Books a short description of how you used one of these graphic books with kids and get a free copy in return!

The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra
Benny and Penny in Lights Out by Geoffrey Hayes
Stinky by Eleanor Davis
Jack and the Box by Art Spiegelman
Chick and Chickie by Claude Ponti

Participants must also do one of the following:

Click the tabs above to download the books and to follow Toon Books.

Email your description by midnight Oct. 31 to

Teachers and parents are eligible!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Keeping Up With Brandon Mull

If you haven't had enough Mull lately, hang in there! Here are three exciting dates:

Tuesday, Oct. 23: Shadow Mountain Publishing releases the long-awaited sequel to The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe. Here's a synopsis from the publisher:

"In The Candy Shop War, friends Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon met the evil magician Belinda White, whose magical confections enabled the kids to do incredible feats of strength and magic. In the sequel, Nate and his friends meet Mrs. White's brother -- Mr. White -- who owns Arcadeland, a local amusement center.

At Arcadeland, kids can play games and earn thousands of tickets, which are redeemable for one of four kinds of stamps -- jets, tanks, subs, and race cars. Could it be true that these stamps allow kids to fly through the air? Or breathe underwater? Or run faster than a car? But Mr. White is hiding a secret: when all four clubs are filled, he will be able to retrieve perhaps the most powerful talisman ever. For Nate and his friends, it will take more than candy to fight and win this war."

Friday Oct. 26: Arcade Catastrophe Launch Party. Join Mull in a marshmallow war from 5 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at Thanksgiving Point Gardens in Lehi, Utah. Also on the schedule, booth activities from 4p.m. to 6 p.m., and a book signing from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 12: Simon & Schuster releases the final book in Mull's Beyonders trilogy, Chasing the Prophesy. Here's a synopsis from the publisher:

"Jason and Rachel were not born in Lyrian. They did not grow up in Lyrian. But after all of the battles and losses, the triumphs and adventures, and most of all, the friendships forged in this fantastical world, Lyrian has become home to them in a way they never could have imagined.

And so, armed now with the prophecy of a dying oracle, they have gone on their separate quests—each surrounded by brave and powerful allies—knowing that the chance for success is slim. But Jason and Rachel are ready at last to become the heroes Lyrian needs, no matter the cost."

Seeds of Rebellion

Beyonders, Book 2
By Brandon Mull
Aladdin, 2012
$19.99, ages 8-12, 512 pages

Teens Jason and Rachel brave a deadly swamp and swarm of zombies as they continue an epic quest to save a parallel world, in Brandon Mull's exciting second book in the Beyonders trilogy.

At the end of the first book A World Without Heroes, Jason discovered that a magical word he'd spoken to destroy an evil wizard was a sham. But before he could tell Rachel or their allies, he was forced into a portal that took him home.

Now as Jason finds a way to get back to the imperiled world of Lyrian, he, Rachel and their band of heroes realize that the only way to defeat Lyrian's maniacal ruler, the wizard Maldor, is to take him on in battle.

But to have a chance at winning, they must convince the last remaining free people of Lyrian to join their army. And to do that, they'll have to prove to them that a rebellion could succeed -- in spite of mounting odds against it.

How can a ragtag group of rebels topple a wizard who already has the resources of twenty kingdoms at his disposal -- not to mention an army of displacers, manglers and torivors? And what other treachery might await these fearless heroes?

In this captivating second novel, Jason once more dives down the throat of a hippopotamus on a quest to save Lyrian -- this time more prepared for danger, yet unaware of just how treacherous his quest will become.

Beyonders Book 1 Trailer

For a limited time, you can read the first 100 pages of Beyonders: A World Without Heroes for free at

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Peg + Cat Get a Book!

Each Kindness

By  Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
$16.99, ages 5-8, 32 pages

A school girl is overcome by regret when she loses her chance to apologize to a classmate she was mean to, in this extraordinary picture book.

Told from the perspective of a child who bullies, the story reveals how painful it can be to hurt someone and how paralyzing it is when you can no longer say you're sorry.

Acclaimed author Jacqueline Woodson draws from a time when she was unkind and also shows that at some point everyone behaves badly and must face the ugliness inside of them.

Monday, October 1, 2012


By Eliot Shrefer
Scholastic, 2012
$17.99, ages 12 and up, 272 pages

Sophie's decision to rescue a baby bonobo from the black market leads her to a dark truth as she journeys across war-torn Congo to bring him to safety.

Along the way, the Congolese-American girl realizes that she would doing anything -- even risk her life walking into a militia camp -- just to protect the endangered ape.

In this powerful, beautifully written novel, Shrefer tells of 17-year-old Sophie who, in the midst of a coup, carries a bonobo named Otto across a jungle to a remote animal release site.

As the story opens, Sophie has just flown into the Congo from Florida and is in a car heading to her mother's bonobo sanctuary, when she sees a man selling a baby bonobo.

Though her driver insists she ignore the trader, Sophie sees how frail and terrified the little ape is and goes against all that her mother has taught her and pays off the man to save him.

"I lifted him easily and he hugged himself to me, his fragile arms as light as a necklace," she says. "I could make out his individual ribs under my fingers, could feel his heart flutter against my throat. He pressed his lips against my cheek...only then did I hear his faint cries."

Little does Sophie know, this emotion-driven act will put the lives of other infant bonobos at risk and will lead her to make choices that put her in the cross hairs of a revolution.