Entertainment

14 Halloween and fall-themed children's books to celebrate the season

Posted October 23

"Monster Trucks" was written by Anika Denise. (Deseret Photo)

Halloween can be both an exciting and scary time for many youngsters. Below is a list of 14 books, ranging from picture books to middle grade, that both celebrate the fun children can have during the fall holidays and help them learn how to deal with their fears — at any time of year.

Picture books

"ENZO'S VERY SCARY HALLOWEEN," by Garth Stein, illustrated by R.W. Alley, HarperCollins, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

Halloween can be a confusing time for a little dog like Enzo. Demon jack-o'-lanterns are slowly invading homes, and his family is turning into fairies and scarecrows. He has even been turned into a fire-breathing dragon. How will he save them all?

This cute story told from the perspective of a puppy could also help any confused young children understand that Halloween isn't actually scary at all. Gorgeous illustrations accompany a story that any child is bound to love.

"BOO! HAIKU," by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea, Abrams Appleseed, $12.95 (ages 4-8)

Following up on their "Guess Who, Haiku," author Deanna Caswell and illustrator Bob Shea bring a Japanese poetry book for kids just in time for Halloween. Each page has a haiku and then asks the reader to guess who the haiku could be about. From witches to black cats to scarecrows, children will love the game and challenge on every page of this book.

Included in the back section is a page explaining what both haikus and syllables are in a child-friendly way, making this book not only fun but also educational.

"MONSTER TRUCKS," by Anika Denise, illustrated by Nate Wragg, HarperCollins, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

For any parents with motorized vehicle lovers for children, this book combines racing trucks with Halloween horrors and a twist ending.

The illustrations are large, colorful, spooky and fun. Children will likely enjoy yelling out the words as their parents read along — it's the kind of book they'll ask for again and again.

"PEEP AND EGG: I'm Not Trick-or-Treating," by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Joyce Wan, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books, $16.99 (ages 2-6)

Two baby chicks return after their first book, "Peep and Egg: I'm not Hatching." In the Halloween-themed "Peep and Egg: I'm Not Trick-or-Treating," Peep is excited to wear a costume and get candy, but all Egg can think about are ghosts, witches and vampires.

In a story that could be relatable to a lot of young children, Egg learns how to face fear in order to enjoy a fun holiday with friends. It is filled with cute, cartoon-like illustrations and kid-friendly Halloween jokes.

"WONDERFALL," by Michael Hall, Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

"Wonderfall" is an educational book written in a poetic format from the perspective of a tree. Each page features a word that normally ends in "-ful" which is replaced with "fall," and then used to show what animals, plants and humans are doing to prepare for winter during autumn. In the back, the book also has a section that goes into more scientific detail about animal and tree habits in the fall season.

The cut-out design of the illustrations is unique and beautiful, and the overall feel of the book practically brings the smells, sounds and sights of autumn to the reader's senses.

"THE MONSTER NEXT DOOR," by David Soman, Dial Books, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

A boy who lives in a treehouse sees that a monster has built his own house just across the way. At first it's all fun and games, but then a misunderstanding causes strife between the new friends.

This book has a sweet message about learning to look at a situation from someone else's perspective. The lovely watercolors add to the cute, sometimes comic book-like format.

"GRIMELDA: The Very Messy Witch," by Diana Murray, illustrated by Heather Ross, Katherine Tegen Books, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

Grimelda may live in an untidy house, but that's how a witch's house is supposed to be. But when she can't find a necessary ingredient for her favorite pie, she has to turn the house upside-down to find it — and even, heaven forbid, clean it.

This charming book full of a Dr. Seuss-like rhyme scheme will only be scary for readers that suffer from ataxophobia — a fear of untidiness. But it's sure to keep little witches and warlocks entertained.

"GO TO SLEEP, MONSTER!" by Kevin Cornell, Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

George can't sleep because he's afraid of the monster under his bed, and Anna is doing everything she can to solve the problem. Little do they know that the monster under George's bed has a similar fear.

This book has a funny, unique plot twist that brings comic relief to a common childhood fear. It would be perfect for any child who has George's fear, teaching them to see "monsters" not as scary but as fellow scaredy cats in need of some rest.

Middle grade

"TALES FROM THE SCAREMASTER: Werewolf Weekend" and "TALES FROM THE SCAREMASTER: Swamp Scarefest," by B.A. Frade and Stacia Deutsch, Little, Brown Young Readers, $5.99 (ages 8-12)

These two companion standalone books, compared to R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series for their creepiness and Louis Sachar's Wayside School series for their characters by a news release, are being released simultaneously so avid readers won't have to wait for more once they're done with the first. Each story features a different set of characters, but both storylines revolve around a mysterious, creepy book.

In "Werewolf Weekend," Emma is having a sleepover with her best friend, Samantha, when Emma's new book "Tales from the Scaremaster" starts creating a scary storyline — that somehow includes the girls in it.

In "Swamp Scarefest," twins Aidan and Olivia convince their parents to let them camp out by the lakeshore near their house when "Tales from the Scaremaster" washes ashore and they start reading horror stories from its page that are all about them.

Both Emma and the twins have to figure out how to outsmart this magical book before they're defeated by the monsters it describes.

"THE PINKABOOS: Belladonna and the Nightmare Academy," by Jake Gosselin and Laura Gosselin, illustrated by Billy Kelly, Andrews McMeel Publishing, $7.99 (ages 8-12)

The Pinkaboos are frights named Bitterly, Belladonna and Abyssma. They all attend Fright School taught by Miss Viper where they learn how to help little girls overcome their fears in their dreams. Vex is an ex-student who has turned from a fright into a nightmare — instead of helping girls, she is only making their dreams worse. Miss Viper has assigned Belladonna to a little girl named Ava, who Belladonna has to save from Vex, but she has to overcome her own fears first.

A sequel to the first book, "The Pinkaboos: Bitterly and the Giant Problem," this story has an exciting, cliffhanger ending followed by ideas for crafts and details about an opportunity for readers to create their own frights that even could be featured in the next Pinkaboos book. It also includes fun facts about bats and how children can help them.

"THE HAUNTED LIBRARY: The Hide-And-Seek Ghost," by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Aurore Damant, Grosste & Dunlap, $14.99 (ages 8-12)

Kaz is a young ghost separated from his family and lost in a library when he meets Claire, a human who can see him. While she helps him find his family, they solve ghostly mysteries as well — like the case of Eli who says a ghost is playing tricks on him. But is it the ghost who is the trickster, or is it Eli?

Similar to "Casper," Kaz is a friendly ghost who can help children come to peace with their fears this Halloween while they enjoy the thrill of a good mystery story at the same time.

"LAUGH-OUT-LOUD SPOOKY JOKES FOR KIDS," by Rob Elliott, HarperCollins, $4.99, (ages 6-10)

For those whose children like to tell them the same knock-knock jokes over and over, this book could help provide some new material. It's chock full of kid-friendly humor that can help everyone get in the mood for Halloween.

Containing jokes similar to those often found on candy wrappers, this book isn't likely to make parents burst out into giggles, but any little future comedians will probably get a kick out of it.

"THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH AND THE ZOMBIE PARADE," by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate, Viking, $13.99 (ages 10-13)

For Jack Sullivan and his three best friends, who are possibly the last humans left on Earth, the disappearance of the zombies who now plague their world might not actually be a good thing. A strange noise seems to be summoning the zombies, but why? As Jack and his friends try to find out the answer, they are met with plenty of obstacles and adventures along the way.

This book will be ideal for older children who enjoy a little tongue-in-cheek gore as well as fun comic book-like illustrations, speech bubbles and onomatopoeia. The children who laugh at haunted houses and think Halloween is one of the best times of the year will find their home in this book.

Email: mbulsiewicz@deseretnews.com

Twitter: mgarrett589

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