Rules Of The House (Mac Barnett)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Rules Of The House, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Matt Myers, a spooky lesson in the importance of knowing when to follow the rules and when to break them.

Ian loves to follow the rules. He is tidy, well-mannered, and always packs a toothbrush. His sister Jenny, on the other hand, thinks that rules are for toadies, and loves to break them, especially “Don’t pinch!” When the siblings arrive at a cabin in the woods, Ian is delighted to find a framed set of rules, the most mysterious of which is “4. Never open the red door.” Jenny, of course, immediately breaks all the rules, making Ian furious. But Ian isn’t the only one angry with Jenny’s misbehaving ways, and the siblings are about to find out why the cabin’s rules are so important- especially why you should NEVER open the red door!

This was a slightly strange, slightly scary, but ultimately quite fun “cabin in the woods” story for young readers, and we enjoyed it. Ultimately, Jenny does learn the lesson of rule-following (even if she does still pinch her brother, but now affectionately and not to hurt), and it’s nice that Ian learned a lesson to: namely, the importance of knowing when to break the rules, especially when protecting your slightly bratty big sister from being eaten by monsters. The art is fantastic, and really captures the gothic feel of story without ever being TOO scary. That being said, you might want to save this for slightly older readers, as some genuinely creepy monsters do threaten to eat the children. The length is great, and JJ enjoyed it. This would be great read for a camping trip or near Halloween, and we definitely recommend it for a fun and scary time. Baby Bookworm approved!

Creepy Carrots! (Aaron Reynolds)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is Creepy Carrots!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown, the tale of a rabbit who finds himself the subject of a spooky mystery!

Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, and none are better than the carrots that grow wild in Crackenhooper Field. He always grabs a few to munch on when he’s headed to school or little league, and he doesn’t think anyone minds much. That is, until he begins to see the carrots following him. EVERYWHERE. Are the sinister veggies a figment of his imagination? Or is he being stalked by… Creepy Carrots?

This was a fun book. There is a fantastic visual and storytelling motif that pays tribute to the horror movies of old (the drawn out suspense, the trichromatic illustrations – black, white, and orange, naturally) but isn’t so scary that young kids won’t enjoy it. In fact, this seems like an especially good book to read aloud, with lots of opportunities for spooky voices. However, younger kids might not get the joke, and could leave them a bit scared to eat their veggies! But older kids and baby bookworms like JJ will have a blast. The length is good, and this will make a creepy-cute read for storytime with your own little bunny. Baby Bookworm approved!

Halloween Sky Ride (Elizabeth Spurr)

(Note: This review was delayed due to a family illness)

Halloween Week, Day 7: Happy Halloween! Unfortunately, we spent our Spooky Day this year feeling very, VERY under the weather, so no costumes or trick-or-treating for us. However, we did get to celebrate in one way: by reading our last Halloween Week book, Halloween Sky Ride, written by Elizabeth Spurr and illustrated by Ethan Long.

Witch Mildred is invited to the Witches’ Wobble, and she’s thrilled to attend. As she flies there on her broom, she passes several spooky creatures asking to catch a lift: a jack-o-lantern, a cat, a skeleton, etc. Witch Mildred kindly makes some space on her broom for everyone, until CRACK! Her broom snaps under the pressure. And so begins a spirited story of fun, festivities and friendship.

We loved this book! It was a perfect read for Halloween: fun and silly, but not too scary, adorable illustrations, and a cheerful rhyming narrative that was a delight to read. It explored lots of staples of the Halloween holiday (trick-or-treating, Halloween foods, etc), and still managed to have the excellent overall lesson that friendship is what makes the holidays so special. This is a perfect Halloween book for baby bookworms, and we highly recommend it for your next Spooky Day! Baby Bookworm approved!

Never Say Boo! (Robin Pulver)

Halloween Week, Day 5: Hello, everyone! Today, we read Never Say Boo!, written by Robin Pulver and illustrated by Deb Lucke, the story of a very different little boy learning that sometimes it’s better to stand out than blend in.

Gordon is new to Boonieville Elementary, and he feels out of place. At his last school, all the children were ghosts, but here, he’s the only one. To make matters worse, his teacher and classmates are all frightened of him, especially when he says any word containing the letters B-O-O. So he tries to keep to himself and blend in, but it means hiding when he knows the answers to questions and his special talent: his very scary “BOO!” One day, however, an emergency takes place at school, and the sirens to alert the students and authorities are broken! Can one very spooky student save the day?

This was a great little book! It had a great ghostly sort of tone, making it a fun Halloween read, and the message was fantastic: sometimes being different means being the one person who can save the day with their special talents. Gordon’s ghostliness becomes a great metaphor for anything that might make a child feel out of place, and it was great to see his classmates make an effort to make him feel welcome despite their own fears and nervousness. The illustrations were suitably creepy but not too scary for little readers, and though the length might be stretching it for some baby bookworms, slightly older children would have no problems. Baby Bookworm approved!

Skelly The Skeleton Girl (Jimmy Pickering)

Halloween Week, Day 2: Hello, friends! For our second Halloween book, we read Skelly The Skeleton Girl by Jimmy Pickering, a spooky-themed lost-and-found story!

Skelly is a skeleton girl who lives in a spooky haunted mansion. One day, she finds a bone, and asks everyone she can think of if they lost it: her pet bat, her man-eating plants, her ghost friends, etc. Unfortunately, nobody seems to know where the mystery bone came from! Will Skelly be able to return the bone to its rightful owner?

After the disaster that was Pumpkinhead yesterday, I was really hoping for a fun, spooky book today, and Skelly delivered! The story is a classic one, with the twist being the innocuously macabre theme of the characters and setting, making for a great Halloween read. The length was perfect for baby bookworms, and the illustrations are the sort of creepy-cute that’s fun but not scary for kids. JJ loved this one, and it was a lot of fun to read. Baby Bookworm approved!