Hal­loween books help kids get ready

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SCHOOL SCOOP - By Lee Lit­tle­wood

These books are su­per fun and help kids get in the mood for the year’s spook­i­est hol­i­day.

“Scary Tales: One-Eyed Doll” by James Preller; Fei­wel and Friends; 98 pages; $5.99.

Ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of “The Twi­light Zone’s” Rod Ser­ling, this lit­tle pa­per­back, with larger text and a clear, clas­sic writ­ing style, is a slightly shock-wor­thy story that’s fun and spine-tin­gling. It stars a brother and sis­ter who love to ex­plore the woods and an old house near their home. They par­tic­u­larly en­joy trea­sure hunt­ing, this time with neigh­bor “Soda Pop,” who helps them dis­cover a creepy one-eyed doll witch with lots of scary havoc to wreak.

The fifth in James Preller’s “Scary Tales” se­ries (the next is “Swamp Mon­ster”), the quick reads, pep­pered with spooky black sketches, make fun Hal­loween reads for 8- to 10-year-olds.

“The Grave­yard Book: Vol­ume 2” by Neil Gaiman; with graphic adap­ta­tion by P. Craig Rus­sell; HarperCollins; 164 pages; $19.99.

These fab­u­lously en­ter­tain­ing graphic adap­ta­tions of Gaiman’s New­bery Medal­win­ning book (vol­ume 1 was re­leased in July) are primo en­ter­tain­ment. The story of a boy named No­body Owens who lives in a grave­yard, this sec­ond vol­ume cap­tures the angst of Bod, who yearns to leave to go to school and find out who killed his fam­ily. First, though, Bod has lots of ad­ven­tures, with an an­cient In­digo Man, a gate­way to the aban­doned city of ghouls, and the strange and ter­ri­ble Sleer. Each chap­ter is il­lus­trated and de­signed by a dif­fer­ent artist from the comic book world, mak­ing Gaiman’s graphic books le­git­i­mately wor­thy as stand­alone reads.

Vol­ume 2 cap­tures chap­ters six through the end of the orig­i­nal “The Grave­yard Book” and is a gor­geous and heart-stop­ping tale per­fect for re­luc­tant read­ers and kids who love art with their scary sto­ries.

“The Scare­crows’ Wed­ding” by Ju­lia Don­ald­son; il­lus­trated by Axel Sch­ef­fler; Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholas­tic; 34 pages; $17.99.

A bit quirky and lots of fun, Ju­lia Don­ald­son’s tale of two scare­crows pre­par­ing to marry isn’t scary, but is cer­tainly au­tumn-themed. The pair, Betty O’Bar­ley and Harry O’Hay (who bears a strong re­sem­blance to the scare­crow from “The Wiz­ard of Oz”), first search for wed­ding items: flow­ers, rings and a dress of white feath­ers.

Harry gets lost at one point, and Betty is sur­prised to see their farmer has re­placed him with a slick cad of a new scare­crow named Regi­nald Rake.

To Betty’s dis­may, Rake smokes a cig­a­rette and drops it, nearly burn­ing her, and Harry swoops in to save the day.

Axel Sch­ef­fler’s ac­tion­packed il­lus­tra­tions are per­son­al­ity-packed, while the en­tire book makes a rousing fall read for the 3- to 7-yearold crowd.

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