It’s getting to that time of the month, where the shops are full of bats and beasties, and you can’t move without tripping over a pumpkin or three, so I asked The Smalls to go and find me the books they like to read at this time of year.
Arthur picked out: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (the Usborne Young Readers version, not the original!!), Worried Arthur and The Noisy Night by Joan Stimson & Jan Lewis, and Ghost Stadium by Tom Palmer.
Here is why he picked them:
I liked reading this with you (Mummy) because it had exciting pictures and the story was interesting and exciting and a bit scary. One day when I’m bigger I want to read it by myself like Tori does, but I liked reading it together. It was good because now I know what Frankenstein is really about when people talk about it. None of my friends really do, I think it’s cool.
(I love these retellings of classics, purely because I often hate reading the originals because their style and language is outdated and hard-going even when the story is brilliant – these make them accessible without losing the classic feel or changing the stories. We also have War Of The Worlds, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, and Treasure Island on our shelves.)
I like all the Worried Arthur books because I’m called Arthur and I get worried too. I picked this one because Arthur Penguin goes to have a sleepover in a tent and gets really scared and worried. It’s a bit spooky but then in the end it’s very funny and everything is okay so it’s a nice story.
(The Worried Arthur books are brilliant if you have a nervous or emotional child – they cover lots of different situations and are very cute and funny at the same time. Our copies are very well read to say the least!)
Tom Palmer came to my school and talked to us, he was really cool. I picked Ghost Stadium to get because it has football in it as well as ghosts. Tom Palmer likes writing about football and history and things like ghosts. This one is a bit scary but has a good ending, I liked reading it but not at bedtime!
Tom Palmer wrote my name and his name in my book so it is my favourite special book. I want to keep it forever.
(Ghost Stadium is one of the few proper chapter books Arthur has sat down and finished independently. It is that perfect mix of grown up feeling and still accessible, with clear text, line drawing illustrations here and there, and short, exciting chapters that keep you turning pages. Great for newly independent readers or for sharing together.
For her choices, Tori brought me: The Scarecrow by Edgar J Hyde, Mariella Mystery Investigates: The Ghostly Guinea Pig by Kate Pankhurst, and Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog: Best Friends Forever by Claire Barker & Ross Collins.
I’ve got quite a few of the Creepers books but The Scarecrow is the scariest one. It made me not like Scarecrows very much, so I’m glad we don’t really see them any more. It’s exciting scary though, I’ve read it lots of times and I took it to school to show my teacher as well.
(The Creepers books are actually old favourites of mine that have made it onto Tori’s bookshelf. They were sort of precursers to the Goosebumps books – aimed at a slightly younger audience. Great kids horror if you can get your hands on a second-hand set!)
I like The Ghostly Guinea Pig because I love guinea pigs AND ghost stories. These books are ace because they are a bit like the Dork Diaries books with pictures and stuff and they are funny. I like that Mariella is 9 and a half and does cool investigating things with her friends, it’s exciting and fun to read because I’m 10 so we are nearly the same age.
(Can’t beat a good mystery series with a main character you can relate to and daydream about being. I guess it’s the same as I felt about The Secret Seven and Nancy Drew when I was younger – though if I’m honest i only wanted to be in the Secret Seven because I wanted to play with the dog, Scamper.)
The Knitbone Pepper books are AMAZING! They are so cute and funny and the pictures are really good but it’s a proper book not a picture book. There’s lots of ghosts in it but they’re not really scary, unless they need to be to make people go away. There’s a dog, and a rabbit, and a hamster, and a goose, and a really crazy monkey that steals spoons. I think these are my favourite ghost books ever because they make me laugh a lot. Even Mummy and Nannan liked them as well, they’re that good!
(She’s right! My Mum and I both took her up on her recommendation and very much enjoyed the world of Knitbone Pepper and his ghostly friends. The hamster is my favourite. Also, did you know that without a decent supply of gingernut biscuits, ghosts lose all their strength and vitality? You can learn all sorts of important things from books!)
So there you go – some spooky(ish) recommendations for the Smalls in your life from the Smalls in mine.