Book Reviews

Books to Share with Kids this October

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I love fall – it is my most favourite season. Apple cider, comfort food and sitting in front of the fire is what I am all about these days! I have been curling up with some great books lately, and sharing some amazing ones with kids as well! Check out the titles below as you embrace October!

How To Make Friends With A Ghost by Rebecca Green

IMG_1362.jpgPublisher’s Summary

What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren’t looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you’ll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you.

A whimsical story about ghost care, Rebecca Green’s debut picture book is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and the timeless theme of friendship.

Review

This creative how-to guide will captivate any reader! The amazing text features like subheadings, diagrams and footnotes add a unique flare to this book. Placing this text at a writing centre would be a great way to inspire kids to write their very own how-to guides!

The Night Garden by Polly Horvath

IMG_0640.jpgPublisher’s Summary

From Newbery Honor–and National Book Award–winning author Polly Horvath, a magical middle grade novel that features a garden that grants wishes.

It is World War II and Franny Whitekraft lives with her parents, Sina and Old Tom, on a farm on Vancouver Island. Their peaceful life is interrupted when their neighbor, Crying Alice, begs Sina to watch her children while she goes to visit her husband at the military base where he is stationed because she suspects he’s up to no good. Soon after the children move in, letters start to arrive from their father and they don’t understand what they mean until it is too late to stop him from doing something that threatens to change their whole lives. Can the ancient, forbidden night garden that supposedly grants everyone one wish help? And if it does, at what cost?

Review

A great tale to engage your junior readers! I love the connections to Canada, and the history connections you can make throughout the novel. A suspenseful tale that will have your listeners hanging on to the last word.

The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz

IMG_1382.jpgPublisher’s Summary

In time for Thanksgiving, a wacky twist on The Ugly Duckling.

The Ugly Pumpkin has waited all through October for someone to take him home, but no one wants him. He doesn’t look like other pumpkins. So the lonely Ugly Pumpkin leaves the patch in search of a place where he’ll fit in. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, he discovers the truth about who he is–but it’s not what he expected!

Review

What a funny and surprising story! I have shared this book with both adults and kids, all of which get a laugh out of this great twist on the classic The Ugly Duckling. Sure to make kids question, you must read this tale! Also available in board book format (pictured) making it a hit with our youngest readers!

Under-the-Bed Fred by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack

IMG_0648.jpgPublisher’s Summary

From the team who brought you If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur comes a laugh-out-loud early chapter book about befriending the monster under the bed.

There’s a monster under Leo’s bed making a ruckus every night. When Leo needs to go to the bathroom, he leaps from the bed to the door — careful not to put his feet on the floor within the monster’s reach. But one night Leo gets tired of being scared and boldly calls out to the monster to see if they can’t just work something out. Surprisingly, the monster listens, and Leo finds out that even enormous monsters have fears! Leo and his monster, Fred, team up to face their fears, each with his own unique strengths. Over the course of five easy-to-read chapters, their friendship blooms as they face everything from bullies to bedbugs. A funny and endearing tale of two very different and unlikely friends, in the tradition of Bink and Gollie and Frog and Toad.

Review

A great book to read aloud to kids, or to have your early reader read with support. A story many kids can relate to, making this tale a great one to help with overcoming certain nighttime worries.

The Painting by Charis Cotter

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Publisher’s Summary

A haunting, beautiful middle-grade novel about fractured relationships, loss, ghosts, friendship and art.

Annie and her mother don’t see eye to eye. When Annie finds a painting of a lonely lighthouse in their home, she is immediately drawn to it–and her mother wishes it would stay banished in the attic. To her, art has no interest, but Annie loves drawing and painting.

When Annie’s mother slips into a coma following a car accident, strange things begin to happen to Annie. She finds herself falling into the painting and meeting Claire, a girl her own age living at the lighthouse. Claire’s mother Maisie is the artist behind the painting, and like Annie, Claire’s relationship with her mother is fraught. Annie thinks she can help them find their way back to each other, and in so doing, help mend her relationship with her own mother.

But who IS Claire? Why can Annie travel through the painting? And can Annie help her mother wake up from her coma?

The Painting is a touching, evocative story with a hint of mystery and suspense to keep readers hooked.

Review

I couldn’t put this book down! I love how the author has infused eastern Canada essence throughout the story. A great tale that merges past and present, leaving the reading wondering, questioning and ultimately hooked.

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler

IMG_0643.jpgPublisher’s Summary

The witch has grown the biggest pumpkin ever, and now she wants to make herself a pumpkin pie for Halloween. But the pumpkin is so big she can’t get it off the vine.
It’s so big the ghost can’t move it, either. Neither can the vampire, nor the mummy. It looks as if there’ll be no pumpkin pie for Halloween, until along comes the bat with an idea to save the day.
How can the tiny bat succeed where bigger and strong spooky creatures have failed? You’ll be surprised!

Review

I love revisiting this Halloween favourite every year! Over 20 years old, this awesome tale still delivers smiles and laughs from kids of all ages. My most favourite part? How the words can easily become a song! Check out the youtube link here to listen! An awesome book to infuse drama into your literacy program! It would also be great to add to your listening station!

Scaredy-Cat, Splat! by Rob Scotton

IMG_0645.jpgPublisher’s Summary

It’s Halloween, and Splat is determined to be the scariest cat in the class. Unfortunately he’s just too much of a scaredy-cat. He’s afraid of a little spider, and everyone says his costume looks more silly than scary. And when Mrs. Wimpydimple tells a ghost story in the dark, Splat gets so frightened that he tips over his jack-o’-lantern. But when the lights go back on, the entire class is scared silly by a small, black, furry creature with a big pumpkin head. Whooooo can it be?

Review

One of my favourite read alouds for primary students. A great way to talk to kids about Halloween! A funny story that leaves kids laughing!

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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