Tag Archives: Halloween

Something sweet for Halloween: Princess Posey and the Monster Stew

This year, I’ve had a number of teachers ask me to help particular students find “just right books” to read in our early chapter books section of the library. These are typically students in grade 2 who struggle with reading, but who want to read chapter books because so many of their peers are reading them. Finding a chapter book that is not too challenging, but that appeals to a kid who doesn’t want to feel babyish, is no easy feat. I have made it a mission to beef up this part of the collection, because I want the kids to find books that are just right in terms of reading level and themes, so that they don’t gravitate towards books that are way beyond them but that look cool, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.

One go-to series for emerging readers is Princess Posey. In each of these little chapter books, Posey faces a small challenge, usually centered around having to be more independent, and with some encouragement and guidance and her own indomitable spirit, she always rises to the challenge and grows a little. In Princess Posey and the Monster Stew, Posey feels shy about the fact that even though she’s in grade one now, she’s still a little scared about Halloween. She wishes she could use her flashlight, like she did in kindergarten, and when she thinks about the “Monster Stew” they will be making in her class, she gets shivery. She knows she shouldn’t be frightened, but she can’t quite convince herself to be brave.

Stephanie Greene succeeds brilliantly at portraying the perspective and emotions of a typical first grader. The language is carefully chosen to be accessible to readers who are just getting comfortable with longer sentences and longer stories, but there’s plenty of personality coming through, particularly in the dialogue. The layout is friendly, without too much text on each page, and Stephanie Roth Sisson’s sweet and expressive illustrations bring Posey and her little adventures to life perfectly. Princess Posey and the Monster Stew is a just right treat for Halloween, and all the rest in the series will likely charm even the most reluctant reader. Lucky for us, there are more on the way!

Princess Posey and the Monster Stew is published by G.P. Putnam’s.

 

Penguin’s Middle Grade Halloween Costume Tour & Giveaway

I’m not normally a giveaway girl, but I couldn’t resist jumping in on this fun tour from Penguin. All week long, at various cool blogs (*tooting own horn*), you’ll find not only some of the best middle grade reads from Penguin, but also fun Halloween costume suggestions for book lover. We’re only one week away from Trick or Treat, so it’s the right time for a little inspiration, don’t you think?

Step into some creepy stories this Halloween and become your favorite middle grade character…from the ghoulish undead to mischievous pirates, the costumes are endless. Today, we’re featuring:

Deadweather and Sunrise: The Chronicles of Egg, Book 1 by Geoff Rodkey, a stunning middle-grade debut full of heart, humor, and nonstop action.

It’s tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody’s trying to kill you.

Not that Egg’s life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts. But when Egg’s father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect. Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff.

Suddenly, Egg’s running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he’s been marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy. Come along for the ride. You’ll be glad you did.

The Costume:

Impersonate a pirate like Egg this Halloween! With these easy costume ideas, no one will dare try to pillage your candy haul!

1. Grab some old clothing and sew or glue patches onto your pants and elbows.

2. Using eyeliner or face paint, create a “five o’clock shadow” by rubbing it on your chin and cheeks. Pirates don’t have time to shave!

3. Get a big piece of black construction paper and search “Make your own paper pirate hat” on the internet to complete your outfit.

4. Grab a toy parrot, a toy sword, or make a treasure map like the one on http://chroniclesofegg.com/ so you can navigate the treacherous Trick-or-Treat waters safely!

You can purcase the Chronicles of Egg here: Indiebound or Amazon.

And you should check out the other stops on the tour, for more book and costume recommendations:

Mon 10.22 MundieKids IN A GLASS GRIMMLY
Tues 10.23 Green Bean Teen Queen GUSTAV GLOOM
Wed 10.24 Charlotte’s Library UNDEAD ED
Thurs 10.25 Shelf Elf CHRONICLES OF EGG
Fri 10.26 Bookalicious CREATURE FROM THE 7TH GRADE
Mon 10.29 Book Chic WEREWORLD
Tues 10.30 Books Together BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE

Now… the giveaway! Thanks to Penguin, I’m happy to giveaway a set consisting of each of the books featured throughout the tour, to one lucky winner!

Wereworld
In a Glass Grimmly
The Creature from the 7th Grade
Books of Elsewhere
Gustav Gloom and the People Takers
Undead Ed
Deadweather and Sunrise: Chronicles of Egg

Leave a comment below, including your Halloween costume plan for this year, or perhaps your favourite spooky read for the season, and the winner will be selected on October 31st.

Day 29, book 29: The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell

Isn’t this exciting? Two picture book reviews in one day! The Elf is on fire! It’s easy to get pumped when I’ve made it all the way to Book 29 in my 30 Days, 30 Picture Books Challenge. (I’ve saved quite the book for my big finish tomorrow, so be sure to pop by).

Today’s title soars right off the charts on the cuteness scale. What else would you expect from the mega-talented, Caldecott Honor winner Patrick McDonnell? I imagine this one will be a favourite all year round, but I couldn’t think of a better book to buy for any little one you know this Halloween.

Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom n’ Doom may be little, but they are pretty serious about being Monsters. They huff and puff and get mad about everything. They smash and crash and bash and say NO a lot. So when they come up with a plan to create the baddest monster ever, you’d expect they’d be pretty good at it. As it turns out, their Monster is the worst monster possible. He is really nice. He’s polite. He likes jelly doughnuts and sunsets. He changes their lives, but not in the way they had expected.

It’s really hard to decide what I like the most about this book. The text is full of funny moments: “Big!” little Gloom squealed. “Bad!!” little Doom squeaked. “MONSTER!!!” they all cheered together. You just want to be reading it out loud to make the most of the jokes. The images are packed with sweet humour too, like when Monster goes all over the castle gently patting the bats and rats and spiders and snakes. In between laughs, the kids might think about the power of kindness, unexpected friendship, and what it means to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. The Monsters’ Monster proves that monsters can be awfully adorable, especially the kind who share their jelly doughnuts.

The Monsters’ Monster is published by Little, Brown.