Staff Picks for Children
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Recommended by Liz at West Kendall Regional
By Aaron Reynolds
Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, and there’s a whole bunch of them in Crackenhopper Field, free for the taking. Every day, Jasper pulls the crisp, yummy carrots from the ground to eat his fill, until the day he notices that some not‑so‑happy carrots are following him! No one else can see them except for a very concerned Jasper, who in the end seals up Crackenhopper Field behind a moat and a wall, much to the delight of the angry carrots, which can now live in peace.
Peter Brown’s illustrations are delightfully scary, highlighted by the creepy black, gray and white tones of Jasper’s world, with the bright orange of the outraged carrots the only color. The suspense‑building text coupled with the humorously drawn carrots make this title an ideal choice for younger children looking for a scary story.Check Availability
By Arthur Howard
Mitzi, a little red‑headed witch, loves scary things and longs to find the creepiest pet possible. So she flies her broom to Cackle & Company, as the store offers slithery snakes, squirmy worms and slimy toads for sale. Mitzi tries out different pets, but none are just right. One night there is scratching at Mitzi’s door, and when she opens it up, an adorable kitten is outside. The little witch lets in the kitten for just one night, but only one night, as the kitten is too cute. But then the kitten hunts ghosts with Mitzi, watches creepy movies with her and listens to all of her secrets. Mitzi names her new kitten Hoodwinked, declaring that “looks aren’t everything.”
Arthur Howard’s charming and whimsical illustrations are a highlight, especially details such as photos of Mitzi’s creepy relatives and cereal boxes named “Frosted Bug Flakes” and “Raisin Brain.” Hoodwinked and Mitzi make an adorable pair, and on the final page Mitzi’s scary relatives and their creepy pets look on with heartwarming approval at the cute duo.Check Availability
The Monsters’ Monster
By Patrick McDonnell
Grouch, Grump and little Gloom ’n’ Doom each thought they were the scariest monster around. After failing to prove which one is the most dangerous, the three decide to build the biggest, baddest monster of all using gunk, goo, bolts and wire. With the help of a lightning strike, their creation comes to life, and after roaring and ripping off his bandages, the monster speaks his first words: “Dank you!” The monster laughs, smiles, gently greets all the creatures of the castle, and is grateful to be alive. Grouch, Grump and Gloom ’n’ Doom are very disappointed in their monster, until he breaks through the wall and stomps off to the village. But instead of wreaking havoc, the monster buys some doughnuts with a big “Dank you” and takes his three creators to the beach to share his treat, where “no one was thinking …about being a monster.”
Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the syndicated comic strip Mutts, brings his usual charm and sweetness to this retelling of the Frankenstein story. The monster is irresistible, and his happiness at being alive is infectious. The final scene of the new friends watching the sunset on the beach with their bag of doughnuts leaves the reader hungry for a sequel.Check Availability
Click, Clack, Boo!
By Doreen Cronin
Farmer Brown does not like Halloween. Following his usual holiday routine he leaves a bowl of candy on the porch, puts up a Do Not Disturb sign, draws the shades and locks the door. But the farm animals love Halloween and are throwing a party in the barn. Farmer Brown hears the sounds of the animals going to the party and hides in his bed until he hears a “quack, quack, quackle in the crisp night air.” When Farmer Brown opens his door, the candy is gone, but posted on the door is an invitation to a Halloween party in the barn. When Farmer Brown marches to the barn, he is welcomed in and given the prize for best costume.
Another fun entry in the series of books about Farmer Brown and his animals. Betsy Lewin’s illustrations are fun and slightly scary with skeleton cows, vampire ducks and witchy sheep, the exception being the charming mice dressed as princesses.Check Availability
Where’s My Mummy?
By Carolyn Crimi
When Little Baby Mummy and Mama Mummy play hide and seek, Little Baby Mummy can’t find his mother anywhere. He searches through the graveyard, the dark forest, caves and swamps asking the monsters that live there if they have seen his mummy. When he spies a mouse, he is scared and calls for his Mama Mummy, who quickly comes to take Little Mummy home for bed.
This gentle and slightly spooky story makes an excellent Halloween bedtime story, and children will enjoy Little Mummy’s bravery in facing his monster neighbors, only to be scared of a little mouse. Humorous illustrations by John Manders add to the fun.Check Availability