Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB and HA
It’s that time of year again! All Hallows Read, started by Neil Gaiman, is a month dedicated to sharing the magic of a good scary book. And books last much longer than candy. So here’s a list of Neil’s favorite scary books for young readers (plus a couple of our own).
Case File 13—Zombie Kid: You hold in your hands a very dangerous record.
I have collected every side of the story and every piece of evidence on case number 13. Now, in this file, you will find all you need to follow the dark adventures of Nick, Carter, and Angelo, three boys who possess an unhealthy obsession with monsters, in a town so grisly, so horrific—
Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re telling it all wrong, dude. You make it sound like it’s a scary story.
Ahem. Well, Nick, it is a scary story. In this volume alone, there are voodoo queens, graveyards—even the dreaded Zombie King himself.
Yeah, but there’s also the part where Angie gets mashed potatoes all in her face, and the part where I use my cool zombie powers to—
All right, point taken. Now, if you don’t mind . . .
You hold in your hands a very dangerous, very funny record, detailing the hilarious adventures of three boys who have an awesome obsession with monsters. This is the first volume. Read on if you dare. . . .
Case File 13—Making the Team: With thrills, chills, and laughs on every page, plus a boy-girl rivalry that will leave you in stitches, this is one frighteningly funny book you don’t want to miss.
Nick, Carter, and Angelo are back to monster business as usual. They’re even filming a monster movie for a school project on Building a Brighter Tomorrow. (There’s a connection there somewhere, they swear.) But when a new private school arrives in town boasting a football team that’s inhumanly good, the boys start to suspect they may have a real monster mystery on their hands. And what’s worse, they may need help from their girl rivals, Angie, Tiffany, and Dana, to get to the bottom of it.
The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Vol. I): After finding a mysterious, handmade field guide in the attic of the ramshackle old mansion they’ve just moved into, Jared; his twin brother, Simon; and their older sister, Mallory, discover that there’s a magical and maybe dangerous world existing parallel to our own—the world of faerie.
The Grace children want to share their story, but the faeries will do everything possible to stop them…
The Time of the Ghost: There’s been an accident! Something’s wrong!
She doesn’t know who she is, and doesn’t know why she’s invisibly floating through the buildings and grounds of a half-remembered boarding school. Then, to her horror, she encounters the ancient evil that four peculiar sisters have unwittingly woken — and learns she is their only hope against a deadly danger.
A ghost, uncertain of her identity, watches the four Melford sisters hatch a plan to get their parents’ attention and slowly becomes aware of the danger from a supernatural power unleashed by the girls and their friends from the boys boarding school run by the Melfords.
The Eyes of the Dragon: A kingdom is in turmoil as the old king dies and his successor must do battle for the throne. Pitted against an evil wizard and a would-be rival, Prince Peter makes a daring escape and rallies the forces of Good to fight for what is rightfully his. This is a masterpiece of classic dragons-and-magic fantasy that only Stephen King could have written!
The Halloween Tree: Eight boys set out on a Halloween night and are led into the depths of the past by a tall, mysterious character named Moundshroud. They ride on a black wind to autumn scenes in distant lands and times, where they witness other ways of celebrating this holiday about the dark time of year. Bradbury’s lyrical prose whooshes along with the pell-mell rhythms of children running at night, screaming and laughing, and the reader is carried along by its sheer exuberance.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls: Lewis always dreamed of living in an old house full of secret passageways, hidden rooms, and big marble fireplaces. And suddenly, after the death of his parents, he finds himself in just such a mansion–his Uncle Jonathan’s. When he discovers that his big friendly uncle is also a wizard, Lewis has a hard time keeping himself from jumping up and down in his seat. Unfortunately, what Lewis doesn’t bank on is the fact that the previous owner of the mansion was also a wizard–but an evil one who has placed a tick-tocking clock somewhere in the bowels of the house, marking off the minutes until the end of the world. And when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead on Halloween night, the clock only ticks louder and faster. Doomsday draws near–unless Lewis can stop the clock!
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright.
There is a story here for everyone — skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney.
Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even scary songs — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark.
If You Dare!
Goosebumps: 11-year-old Josh and 12-year-old Amanda just moved into the oldest and weirdest house on the block–the two siblings think it might even be haunted! But of course, their parents don’t believe them. You’ll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends.
But the creepy kids are not like anyone Josh and Amanda have ever met before. And when they take a shortcut through the cemetery one night, Josh and Amanda learn why.
The Witches: “This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches.” So begins one of Roald Dahl’s best books ever, and, ironically, it is such a great story because the premise is perfectly plausible from the outset. When the narrator’s parents die in a car crash on page two (contrast this terribly real demise with that of James’s parents who are devoured by an escaped rhinoceros in James and the Giant Peach), he is taken in by his cigar-smoking Norwegian grandmother, who has learned a storyteller’s respect for witches and is wise to their ways.
The bond between the boy and his grandmother becomes the centerpiece of the tale–a partnership of love and understanding that survives even the boy’s unfortunate transformation into a mouse. And once the two have teamed up to outwitch the witches, the boy’s declaration that he’s glad he’s a mouse because he will now live only as long as his grandmother is far more poignant than eerie.
The Thief of Always: Mr. Hood’s Holiday House has stood for a thousand years, welcoming countless children into its embrace. It is a place of miracles, a blissful rounds of treats and seasons, where every childhood whim may be satisfied…
There is a price to be paid, of course, but young Harvey Swick, bored with his life and beguiled by Mr. Hood’s wonders, does not stop to consider the consequences. It is only when the House shows it’s darker face — when Harvey discovers the pitiful creatures that dwell in its shadows — that he comes to doubt Mr. Hood’s philanthropy.
The House and its mysterious architect are not about to release their captive without a battle, however. Mr. Hood has ambitious for his new guest, for Harvey’s soul burns brighter than any soul he has encountered in a thousand years…
Aunt Maria: In Cranbury-on-Sea, Aunt Maria rules with a rod of sweetness far tougher than iron and deadlier than poison. Strange and awful things keep happening in Cranbury. Why are all the men apparently gray-suited zombies? Why do all the children—if you ever see them—behave like clones? And what has happened to Mig’s brother, Chris? Could gentle, civilized Aunt Maria, with her talk and daily tea parties, possibly have anything to do with it?
Something Wicked This Way Comes: A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes — and the stuff of nightmare.
Good nightmares, everybody!
See you day-after-tomorrow for Saturday’s Softcover