This month, I’ve been enjoying scaring myself with some of the newest spooky releases for readers aged 8+ and have a ghoulish prize for one lucky book-fan.
‘Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire’ by Anna Wilson, illustrations by Kathryn Durst (Stripes Publishing)
First up is this little book with bite which would be perfect for readers aged seven and up. Vlad is a young vampire from a long line of very scary and very vampirey vampires. The problem is, Vlad doesn’t feel the least bit scary – he hates his morning drink of blood and cannot transform into a bat no matter how hard he tries. He daydreams of going to Jollywood Academy – a human school where everyone looks happy and enjoys delicious-sounding snacks. Flouting every rule he’s ever been taught about being a vampire, Vlad sneaks out in the daylight to see if he’ll fit in with the humans.
‘How to Get Rid of a Vampire’ by J.M. Erre, illustrated by Clemence Lallemand, translated by Sander Berg (Alma Junior)
This one was borrowed from me by my eight-year-old son to read. From the chuckles being emitted from the corner he was sat in, I would say he enjoyed it!
Zazie is very proud to be a GIRL and is (in her opinion) fantastic at everything! When’s she’s given a new notebook, she decides to keep a diary. As you would expect, it’s full of her thoughts and feelings, and her theories about how her pale-skinned new teacher, Mr Fleder, must surely be a vampire! Zazie takes it upon herself to try to eradicate the imminent danger to her classmates’ lives by plotting to get rid of him – using all she’s every learnt about vampires from watching Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a dollop of ketchup.
‘Spectre Collectors – Too Ghoul for School’ by Barry Hutchison, cover by Rob Biddulph (Nosy Crow Books)
Denzel was just like any other teenage boy – sat home struggling with his algebra homework – until, one fateful evening, he encountered a malevolent creature of black smoke lurking in his bedroom. The last thing he saw before his memory was wiped was a teenage boy and girl obliterating his bedroom wall and sweeping his room with mysterious weapons to find the creature which he could see but they clearly couldn’t.
After a run-in with a rubbish monster at school, Denzel and his best friend Smithy get taken to the headquarters of The Spectre Collectors – an elite (and very secret) team of ghost-busters, protecting the world from all manner of ghoulish beings. When Director Quinn realises Denzel has the power to see spectres where others only see air, she is very keen to recruit him. But Denzel is not sure he wants to be recruited, particularly after one of the ghosts incarcerated there passes a message to him.
Brilliant fun and absolutely packed with gadgets, gizmos and (of course) ghosts! Perfect for readers aged 8+ We have a copy of this spook-tastic title to GIVEAWAY thanks to the generous people at Nosy Crow. Just comment below with the name of the creature you fear the most by Sunday 15th October (Please get parental consent if you are under 16.)
‘Robyn Silver – the Darkest Dreams’ by Paula Harrison, illustrations by Renée Kurilla and Dave Kurtz Williams (Scholastic)
This is the excellent second book in the monster-packed Robyn Silver series. After discovering that she is a Chime (a baby born on the stroke of midnight) who can see monsters, Robyn has continued her combat training at Grimdean House under the watchful eye of Mr Cryptorum.
When Pudding (a Chime wolf) leaps a six-foot fence at dusk, chasing after a monster unseen, Robyn and the gang have no choice but to follow. What they find, is a creature none of them have ever seen before – like a man, but not. And he appears to be covered in dream leeches. Miss Smiting reveals that it was the Nightmare man – a monster who spreads darkness wherever he goes and taps into people’s darkest fears. As more and more nightmares become real across town, it’s up to Robyn, Nora and Aiden to defeat it.
‘How to Bewitch a Wolf’ by Abie Longstaff, cover by Tanja Stevanovic (Scholastic)
This the second book in the series (How to Catch a Witch being the first) about a young witch called Charlie and her familiar, Kat. All is good in Charlie’s world – she has finally found a friend, her magical powers are developing and her dad is happy, that is until the arrival of a mysterious and charismatic new boy, Zak, who threatens to drive a wedge between the pair.
As Halloween approaches, evil forces gather around Charlie and tempt her to try dark and powerful magic, will she be strong enough to resist them and save her friendship in the process?
I love this series; it glimmers with magic and heart and makes me wish I were a witch myself making potions and casting charms. Enchanting.
‘You Can’t Make Me go to Witch School’ by Em Lynas, illustrated by Jamie Littler (Nosy Crow Books)
Daisy Wart is definitely NOT a witch! She is an actress! So imagine her disgust when she’s dumped at Toadspit Towers by her Granny – it’s a school for young witches, not for serious Shakespearean actresses. Daisy finds herself sleeping in a cauldron, eating gloop and avoiding the Toadspit Terrors; the only way to improve her situation is to earn ticks by doing magic. Despite her best efforts, it turns out that Daisy is ac-chew-ally quite good at it. Could she possibly be the witchiest witch of them all?
I really love this book; it has the same magical charm as The Worst Witch and is just spooky enough without being too scary. You can’t help but root for Daisy as she rallies against the system at Toadspit Towers and proves that sometimes you don’t need to follow all the rules to be ‘the best and brightest.’
‘There’s a Werewolf in my Tent!’ By Pamela Butchart, illustrations by Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow Books)
I was howling with excitement when the latest hilarious tale from award-winning Pamela Butchart dropped through my letter box. However, I wasn’t quite quick enough in grabbing it to read as it was snatched away from under my nose by my son. He then proceeded to sit there for the next couple of hours, reading and giggling, until he’d finished.
Izzy and her friends are super-excited to going on the school camping trip (except Maisie, Maisie is definitely NOT excited!) It will be all marshmallows and barbecues – awesome! They’re all having a brilliant time until weird things start happening – bumps in the night and howling. And THEN they notice the unnaturally hairy legs and fondness of meat, of their new teacher Miss Moon. Could Maisie be right? Are they all doomed?
So there you have it – my round-up of some of the newest and best Halloween titles. Just make sure you don’t read them when you’re alone in the house!
*Thank you very much to everybody who sent me one of these titles to review*