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Halloween (or Hallowe’en) books for children

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I thought I’d remind you of Tom’s blog post on Halloween (I’d write Hallowe’en, but I think I’m increasingly in a minority here) reading.

I know that many UK mums and dads are a bit grumpy about Halloween, thinking of it as an American import, but, in Scotland, where I grew up (obviously ages ago) it was celebrated when I was a child with carved turnip lanterns (and I can still sort of smell the blackened papery turnip in the centre of the underside of the lid), dooking for apples, and biting bits of a scone dipped in treacle that was threaded onto a clothesline strung between two ladders (no hands allowed). So I am all for it.

It’s interesting being a publisher that has been publishing for 20 months: we have a backlist as well as a frontlist, and, though I say so myself, a pretty respectable range of books that might suit a dark and scary night:

Here (drum-roll) are our Hallowe’en books:

We published Pip and Posy: The Scary Monster by Axel Scheffler last year, and we were inspired by the number of children, my own included, who were nervy around masks, but who felt a bit better when they could be persuaded to try on the mask themselves. We think that this book has the right balance of trepidation and reassurance for most two to four year-olds. And it has cake in it too.

Moving up the age range a little bit to something that would be just right for a four to six year-old, Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble by Tracey Corderoy and Joe Berger last year. It went down rather well, and both Tracey and Joe are inventive sorts, so they came up with another story for the (so far, but that’ll change) nameless little girl who finds the way her grandmother stands out from the crowd (because she’s – whisper it – a witch) is kind of embarrasing. The new story, published this month, is Whizz Pop, Granny Stop.

For reluctant readers who like to draw, Mega Mash-up: Pirates and Ancient Egyptians in a Haunted Museum by Nikalas Catlow and Tim Wesson offers a compelling and innovative mix of novel and activity book: readers are invited to complete the pictures and add speech bubbles as they make the book their own.

In Vulgar the Viking and the Spooky School Trip by Odin Redbeard, Vulgar, Knut and Freya go on an outward-bound school trip but there are trolls and who knows what else lurking in the hills. With lots of illustrations, it’s great as a read-aloud for five and six year olds and for newly-independent readers who are a little older.

In Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge, it’s the winter of 1899 and bold and clever 13-year old Penelope Treadwell finds herself involved in a mystery: why are the inhabitants of Bedlam, London’s notorious hospital for the insane, waking every night to scribble strange words and phrases on whatever surface they can find, including their own skin? It’s a pacy read for children of ten and over.

Finally, for 11 year-olds and over, S C Ransom combines shivers with (a very innocent) romance in her Small Blue Thing trilogy. A London teenager goes on a school trip to St Paul’s Cathedral and meets a ghost who is linked to her by the strange blue-stoned bracelet she found in the Thames.

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