Favorite Character Halloween Books for Kids

Yes, I’m a bit early, but I figure if Wal-Mart can have their Christmas lights available for purchase in September, I can talk about Halloween books.

It’s Clifford’s first Halloween, and Emily Elizabeth dresses him up as the cutest little ghost ever. Clifford wants to try everything: trick-or-treating, candy apples, and homemade haunted houses. Discover Halloween with everyone’s favorite red puppy!

Clifford has been a favorite around here since my son was little. The girls are mostly past this stage, but every once in a while, a Clifford book is slid out of the shelf.

Avoiding a lecture from Mama Junebug, the kitty boy slips into his closet…and finds himself in ancient Egypt. His doggy pals, Los Chimichangos, want to visit Under Mundo—the underworld—where mummitos rest in peas. But they need El Skippito’s brains and courage to answer the riddle of the Finx and enter the mummy’s tomb. Our hero is up to the task, and he’s in for another grand and whirlwind adventure.

Skippyjon Jones is another Malandrinos household favorite. We had a Siamese cat for years. Plus, I like the level of imagination involved in this series.


Halloween is here, and Curious George is getting ready for the big night. There are so many costumes to try on, treats to share, and games to play! George has so much Halloween fun picking out the perfect pumpkin, decorating his house, and celebrating with his friends that he’s not sure he’s ready for the day to end. Follow the little monkey through his fun-filled day with this book of poems. Happy Halloween, Curious George is a sweet treat to help Curious George fans of all ages get in the Halloween spirit.

Is there a kid on the face of the planet who doesn’t like Curious George? When I began developing my Beatrice series–which I hope will get picked up soon–I designed her to be a female human Curious George. She’s morphed into something different now, but that curious, accidentally mischievous monkey still holds a place in  my heart.

No one knows Fancy like Nancy . . .

. . . and no one knows Halloween like Nancy!

Nancy has an exciting Halloween party to attend with her friend. Nancy gets fancy in a very special costume for the big event.

Each of the girls went through their Fancy Nancy stage. We bought some of the books for the Lil Diva and others for the Lil Princess. There seems to always be a Fancy Nancy book at the Scholastic Book Fair. They sell this book as part of a four-book series.

When I think of classic children’s books, The Berenstain Bears are right up there with some of the best. My girls never got into them much, but my son loved them. I have them saved in case he wants them for when he has kids. They have more than one spooky, Halloween type book, but Bears in the Night is one I used to read often.

Seven bears sneak out of bed, through the window, and across the dark countryside to investigate the source of a noise.  

Phineas and Ferb is one of my favorite cartoons. The brothers are determined to have an action-filled summer, while the goal of their older sister, Candace, is to get them in trouble with their Mom. They have a pet platypus named, Perry, who unknown to the family is a secret agent out to thwart the evil, Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Talk about a bowl full of imagination!

In Haunted Hayride, Phineas and Ferb have completely transformed their backyard into a giant corn maze for Halloween night. They’ve even built a wagon to take all of their friends on a haunted hayride! But little do they know that the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has created a giant monster to destroy their town. And when the monster heads for Phineas and Ferb’s house, will Perry the Platypus–aka Agent P–be able to save the day? Or will this Halloween be a total fright night?

I have to admit I don’t understand the appeal of Junie B. Jones. She’s self-centered (not unexpected), loud, obnoxious and her English is atrocious. That said, my girls love her. I like that the series has grown with Junie B. She started out as a kindergartener and is now a first grader. She has new friends added to her old group, a new teacher, and different adversaries.

With Halloween approaching, Junie B. needs to find a costume that will scare off the real witches and ghosts that she believes will be out on the holiday.

The Lil Princess and I read this book together last year. It’s one of the funniest of the series.

I haven’t read any of the Magic Tree House books, but my girls have read them in school. I think the Lil Diva might even own a few. I like the time travel aspect of the books, in addition to the fact that this series is known to encourage reading. The Lil Diva is a reluctant reader, so if she talks about a book, I know it’s captured her attention.

Jack and Annie have traveled all over the world in their magic tree house. But they’ve never been anywhere like this. In the distance, a haunted castle looms dark against the light of the moon. No candles burn in its windows. No laughter rings through its halls.

What has happened to the castle and the people who lived there? Merlin the magician asks Jack and Annie to find out. But are they brave enough to brush the cobwebs aside and step through the creaking doors? And are they smart enough to solve the mystery of how the castle became haunted?

Find out in a story packed to the margins with magic, history, and adventure!

Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve, sounds like the perfect Halloween read to me.

Now that we’ve talked about our family’s favorite character Halloween reads, can you share some of your own?

Cadence in Children’s Books

 As I mentioned in this week’s From the Family Bookshelf, before the Lil Diva officially declared she hated reading, she was engrossed in Junie B. Jones is (almost) a Flower Girl by Barbara Park. Now, until this book, I had no exposure to any of the Junie B. Jones books, but I know that the Lil Diva has mentioned how much she loved them on more than one occasion–prior to her announce hatred of reading, of course. 🙂

Every Monday through Thursday in school the students are required to read 20 minutes a night and log it. One night, she was feeling a bit lazy and asked me to read. I agreed to do it and we sat down to read the next several pages in June B. Jones is (almost) a Flower Girl.

Imagine my horror when Junie B. Jones said, “‘zactly” instead of “exactly”, “worstest” instead of “worst”, and “runned” instead of “ran”. Now, I’m not claiming that five-year-old children don’t speak that way, but if these books are going to be used in schools, shouldn’t the grammar be more accurate?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love in this book too: it’s hilarious, Junie B. Jones and her friends are adorable, and all the characters act exactly the way I imagine they would. I just get to wondering if cadence and the need to create unique characters becomes more important than proper English sometimes.

In my middle grade novel, Amelia’s Mission, I’m struggling with cadence too. I don’t want all the African Americans sounding the same, but I want their manner of speaking to help paint a picture for my readers.  Ralph is a Negro teenage boy who has lived most of his life up north. Bertha, however, lived in the south, escaped slavery, and is now Aunt Martha’s paid servant. Aunt Martha, Ronald, and many of the residents of my fictional New England town, Westwood, have spent their entire lives there. Amelia, grew up in Pennsylvania, but moves to Westwood after the death of her parents. Their geographical locations will influence their manner of speaking, but I don’t want that to be so prominent the reader finds it distracting.

What are your feelings on cadence in children’s books? Should it be limited? Is it okay for characters to use age-appropriate language? What is more important to you: that your child reads or that the author uses proper english?

I look forward to hearing from you.

From the Family Bookshelf

Where has this month gone? I can’t believe July is almost here. The girls have been out of school since Monday. The Lil Princess joined our library’s “Go Green” summer reading program. The Lil Diva has officially declared she hates reading. When I suggested she join the summer reading program, not only did I get the eyes rolling up into her eyelids, I also received the lovely hand on the hip deal. How did I manage to end up with a kid who doesn’t enjoy reading?

In this issue of From the Family Bookshelf, you’ll once again get a glimpse into what our family has been reading lately. I, as usual, have read more books than anyone else; but that should change a bit with the Lil Princess participating in the summer reading program.

I really thought Dad would move right from Prayers for the Assassin  by Robert Ferrigno to the next book in this series, Sins of the Assassin, but he didn’t. After a short reading break, he moved onto the third book in The Zion Chronicles, The Return to Zion, by Bodie and Brock Thoene. This series is Christian historical fiction set aroung WWII. He has already read the first two books in this series, The Gates of Zion and A Daughter of Zion.

May 27th was the last time I updated this column. Sorry about that. With the wedding, the end of the school year, and preparing to leave for North Carolina on July 2nd, I haven’t been blogging as much as I usually do.

During that time I’ve read Ebeneezer’s Cousin, In My Bath, Sully’s Topsy Tale, Grin’s Message, Little Big Wolf, and Glamour Girl, all children’s books.  You can find those reviews on this site. I’ve also read Caves, Cannons and Crinolines, which is YA historical fiction from Beverly Stowe McClure. That review is also posted at this site.

At The Book Connection, I recently posted reviews of: The Wildcat’s Burden (sci-fi/alternative world) by Christopher Hoare, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner (historical fiction), At Home with Laurie Ann by Laurie Ann McMillin Ray (home decorating), and Why God Matters by Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert (Catholic nonfiction). I also read The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Colleen Coble as part of the Amazon Vine program. I am currently reading The Last Operative by Jerry Jenkins. If you want to know my Jerry Jenkins story, just ask!

The Lil Diva moved right from her Katie & Kimble books into reading Junie B. Jones.  I’ll have a separate post coming up about this book soon, but I thought kids were supposed to enjoy reading about those older than them. Junie B. Jones is a few years younger than her, so I wasn’t expecting that one. She read

The Lil Princess has been reading to herself, so I haven’t been privy to what she’s been reading lately. She hides in her room, shuts the door, and wanders off for a while. I know that she recently picked up a copy of The Raindrop by Brian McClure that I had in my office. She always asks before taking off with anything from here, since she never knows if it belongs in the TBR pile, the giveaway pile, or somewhere in between. 🙂

That’s about it for From the Family Bookshelf. I hope you enjoyed reading along. Until next time, keep reading!