Friday, September 21, 2007

Jack, the depressed pumpkin

A video created by a Catholic priest. A pumpkin finds Jesus... yea.. seriously.

Halloween covered by the Creepshow

Good band, even better song

Why I Didn't Enter The Pumpkin Carving Contest

Not gone...

School started and is already kicking my ass.

I'm going to try to have a post up this weekend!

Can't believe it's almost October already.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Barbie: Friendship, Not for Sale (Barbie & Friends Book Club)

The 13 Words!: Caterpillers are boring. Even more boring when they become a costume for four.

The Creature from the Back Cover!: "Halloween is coming, and Stacie and her friends can't wait to showoff their caterpillar costume built for four. But when one of the girls announces she's moving, it's hard to get into the spirit. Barbie reminds the girls what being bests friends is all about."

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: This book is part of a series of Barbie books in a book club that as far as I can tell is no longer around.

The Monster Speaks!: Not too exciting. It's a pretty gentle Halloween read with no scares or anything of the sort. It's mostly a friendship story.
While it's not my favorite book in my collection, I do enjoy the photographs even though they are marginally Halloween related. I've always been fascinated by doll houses, and the photographs are sorta like a glimpse into a doll house in a way.

What Lurks Between These Covers?

Costume Making

The Party

--My only question: where are Barbie and Stacie's parents? Are they orphans?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ultimate Hidden Pictures on Halloween by Tony and Tony Tallarico

The 13 Words!: Ever wondered where Dracula would hide an umbrella? This book holds the answer.

The Creature from the Back Cover!: "Ultimate Hidden Pictures is the ultimate in hidden picture fun. And in Ultimate Hidden Pictures on Halloween there are so many things going bump in the night that the trick will be to find all of the treats."

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Ultimate Hidden Pictures on Halloween was published in 2003 by Price Stern Sloan. Tony Tallarico (not sure which one out of the two listed on the cover as Tony and Tony) besides illustrating children's books, is also a comic book artist. He co-created Lobo which only lasted two issues (1965 and 1966). In 2006 he received the Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Comics and Books Industries from Temple University. The award recognized his creation of the first comic book to star an African American.

The Monster Speaks!: I've always loved hidden picture books. Though, I was never a huge Where's Waldo fan. Look for Lisa was always my favorite (and coincidentally was also illustrated by Tony Tallarico). My favorite part was never really finding the hidden pictures. I could sit for hours just looking at the scenes depicted. I would scan every inch of the drawings looking for funny and clever things. This book didn't disappoint. The depicted scenes were interesting and highly detailed and full of shout outs to classic horror movies and television shows.
I guess my only complaint is that I wish the illustrations were done in color, but even in black and white there is plenty of visual stimuli to keep someone busy.

What Lurks Between These Covers?

The Marvels!:

(click on images to view larger size)

New Halloween Book Releases

The past few weeks (and especially the past 3 days) have seen quite a few Halloween book releases. I've listed most of them here.

Pop-up and Play Spooky Shadows by Richard Fowler

Tucker's Spooky Halloween by Leslie McGuirk

Halloweentown: Witch's Amulet by Lucy Ruggers

Hannah Montana: Nightmare on Hannah Street

Halloween Surprise by DK

Baby Strawberry's First Halloween

Halloween is Here, Corduroy

Strawberry Shortcake Friendship Club: Halloween Hideout by Bryant

The Three Bears Halloween by Kathy Duval

Darlene Halloween and the Great Fire by Peter Willing

Witches' Night Before Halloween by Lesley Bannatyne

The Witches' Ball by David Steinberg

Disney Princess: Sweet & Spooky Halloween

Halloween Makes Me Batty by Fran Posner

Happy Halloween Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

Disney's Haunted Mansion book

The Restless Dead: 10 Original Stories of the Supernatural edited by Deborah Noyes

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Karen's Ghost (Baby-Sitters Little Sister #12) by Ann M. Martin

[I had this post almost ready to go yesterday, but soon found myself in Eclipse land. So, blame the wonderful author Stephenie Meyer for the lack of posts. Edward and Bella will also win out over the bratty Karen Brewer. Always.]

The 13 Words!:
I still hope that Ben Brewer's ghost will turn out to be malevolent.

The Creature from the Back Cover!
"Karen thinks there's a ghost in her house! But she's never really seen the ghost of Old Ben Brewer---until now.
Karen and her stepsister Kristy have found out that Ben Brewer and his spooky friends are going to have a birthday party in her attic on Halloween night!
It used to be fun having a ghost around. But now Karen's not so sure!"

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Baby-Sitters little sister is a series created by Ann M. Martin as a spin off of the Baby-Sitters Club books. Karen Brewer is Kristy Thomas' step sister. Her father is Watson Brewer (Millionaire). He married Kristy's mother.
This series had quite a few Halloween related titles, certainly more than the BSC ever had.

The Monster Speaks!: What is there really to say? I hate Karen Brewer. I hate her in the BSC books. I hate her in these books. She's a brat. But I'm a sick, sad individual and have quite a few Little Sister Halloween books. The plot of this one is pretty straight forward (and boring). The back cover pretty much tells the whole thing.

What Lurks Between These Covers?

The Marvels!:
  • "Honk! Honk! Mommy was here. It was time to go back to the little house" (p 51). I always imagine Karen's mother as a goose during this part.
The Horror!:
  • it's Karen Brewer
  • the stupid slang terms. especially gigundo. ugh
  • I have never understood why the Brewers refuse to use the third floor of the house. So much just doesn't make sense about it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Junie B., First Grader : Boo...and I MEAN IT! by Barbara Park

The 13 Words!: A fun book that portrays Halloween through a child's eyes, fears, and words.

The Creature from the Back Cover!:
"It's Halloween! Only here's the trouble. Junie B. Jones is afraid to go tick-or-treating. 'Cause what if witches and monsters are really real? And what if pumpkins with sharp teeth and eat your feet? And don't even get her started on the candy corn problem. So how is Junie B. supposed to even enjoy this holiday? But then---with a little help from a friend---she gets an idea for a costume guaranteed to outscare even the creepiest competition. And so maybe Halloween will turn out to be a real scream after all!"

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Junie B. Jones is a series created by Barbara Park. The series debuted in 1992 with the first book, Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. So far, 26 other books have been published. There has also been theatrical productions based on the series.
The books have been challenged in Wisconsin and North Carolina school districts. Despite this, the series continues to be extremely popular among young readers.

The Monster Speaks!: I figured this was an appropriate choice considering the recent NY Times article that asks: Is Junie B. Jones Talking Trash?. I'm not a grammarian, parent, or a child, so my view of Junie B. Jones is quite neutral. I suppose I fall into the at least kids are choosing to read books camp. I attend a college where far too many students are proud to proclaim they have not read a book in 5 or 10 years. Some even boast of never having finished a book. (saddest part- many of these "students" are education majors aiming to teach in elementary schools) But, that's another story for another day.

I found Boo...and I MEAN IT! a very enjoyable read. It obviously, isn't high literary fiction for children. But, it never pretended to be or I would venture to say, aimed to be. I laughed at quite a few occasions, and grew to like the characters.

As far as Halloween books go, this is one of the better ones published in the past 5 years. It has the perfect tone for the target age group--not very scary, but illustrating real fears that many children do have.

What Lurks Between These Covers?
The Marvels!:
  • the 5 scary secrets that Paulie Allen Puffer told Junie are, in my opinion, very realistic details of a child's imagination. I can imagine my 6 year old self either hearing these "secrets" or telling them to my friends at school.
    1. real witches and monsters go trick-or-treating on Halloween
    2. pumpkins with pointy teeth eat feet
    3. bats wll swoop down and live in hair
    4. black cats can claw someone into "shreddle"
    5. candy corn isn't really corn

The Horror!:
  • I don't really have anything bad to say about this book, but I'm sure others have plenty to say.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Still Here

I'm still around.

Haven't been neglecting this blog on purpose. I should have a post up tomorrow. Not sure what book I'm doing yet.

Periodically, I search Google for other Halloween books collectors. My search usually comes up empty. I find it hard to believe that there are not others with the same hobby out there.

So, anyway, I should have a post up tomorrow.

In the mean time, here are some links to Halloween book related sites and information.

Halloween Bibliography

Recommended Halloween Reading from the NY Public Library

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Holloween Goblin (Pixie Tricks #4) by Tracey West

The 13 Words!: Pixie Tricks indeed, this book tricked me into believing it was about Halloween.

The Creature from the Back Cover!: "Fourteen fairies have escaped from their world. Now they're causing trouble in out world! It's up to a girl named Violet and a fairy named Sprite to trick them all and send them back home. Who will they trick next? A spooky goblin is haunting Violet's town, and the pixie Buttercup is giving everyone a case of the hiccups. Can Violet and Sprite stop the pranksters, or are they in for double trouble?"

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: The Halloween Goblin is book four in the Pixie Tricks series by Tracey West, published in 2000. The entire series ran from 2000-2001 and consisted of eight books. The series was published in the US by Scholastic.
Tracey West is also the author of numerous Scholastic series including Scream Shop.

The Monster Speaks!: So, I've never liked fairies, sprites, pixies, brownies, whatever you want to call them. I'm almost positive this stems from my mothers supreme hatred towards Peter Pan and especially Tinkerbelle.
Anyway, I thought this might be ok since it says Halloween right on the cover. I was wrong. The book takes place weeks before Halloween. There is no trick-or-treating, no costumes (well there is a guy in a creepy bunny suit), no candy.
The Halloween in the title is a reference to Bogey Bill, the cute little guy sitting on the pumpkin in the cover scan. (He kind of reminds me of a low-rent Nosferatu)
You see, Bogey Bill loves to scare people and wishes everyday was Halloween. I'm not sure why the author chose to not have the book take place on Halloween, or at least the day before while the characters were preparing for the holiday. Bogey Bill's pranks could have had a heightened effect on children already a little creeped out by the holiday.
And then there is a thing about hiccups and Buttercup another fairy thing, and then some tricking and all is well until the next book.
All in all, the entire thing felt like a fluffy Artemis Fowl mixed with an even fluffier Spiderwick.

What Lurks Between These Covers?

The Marvels!:

Each book comes with stickers.

The Horror!:
  • it's not about Halloween
  • enough said

Monday, July 23, 2007

My First Halloween Book by Colleen L. Reece

The 13 Words!: Jack Prelutsky she certainly isn't. But, overall, an enjoyable stab at Holiday poetry.

The Creature from the Back Cover!: Back cover is blank !

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: My First Halloween Book is a collection of Halloween poems with accompanying illustrations, published in 1984 by Childrens Press. The author, Colleen L. Reece seems to also be a Christian romance author.

The Monster Speaks!: Cute poems, nothing scary. The illustrations are all of chubby cheeked children (plus witches and a few adults), that kind of remind me of Huggabunch dolls.

What Lurks Between These Covers?

The Marvels!:

Nice to find a history without any trace of condemnation

The Horror!:

Squirrels??? What the hell?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Horse Magic (Saddle Club #47) by Bonnie Bryant

The 13 Words!: Three girls lead lives so boring that even Halloween and poltergeists can't help.

The Creature from the Back Cover!: "It's Halloween, and Pine Hollow Stables is getting some special visitors -- a group of city kids. The Saddle Club girls are planning a treasure hunt and trick-or-treating for the children. Best of all, Stevie Lake's old school chum, Dinah, has come to help. Stevie can't wait to pull some pranks on her friend!

Things go awry when it becomes clear that Dinah and Saddle Club member Lisa Atwood don't like each other. Lisa suspects Dinah of flirting with Stevie's boyfriend. Even worse, Stevie's beginning to think the stable is haunted. Who's playing tricks at Pine Hollow?"

The Facts that Attacked Mars!:

The Saddle Club is a series of intermediate children's books published by Bantam Books between 1986 and 2001. The books were created by Bonnie Bryant, although many were written by ghostwriters. Spin-offs include two other book series, Pine Hollow and Pony Tails, a TV show also called The Saddle Club, a club with a monthly newsletter, and a line of model horses manufactured by Breyer.

The books follow the adventures of best friends Carole Hanson, Stephanie "Stevie Lake," and Lisa Atwood, who live in the town of Willow Creek, Virginia and ride at Pine Hollow Stables.
-From Wikipedia

The Monster Speaks!: I never read The Saddle Club as a kid. I was never interested in horses, and never knew anyone that was as obsessed with horses as these girls (or Mallory and Jesse from the BSC, but that's another story). I guess it may have something to do with the fact that I grew up in the city with very little contact with nature. I've never even been on horseback (pony rides at low-rent carnivals don't count). Now, however, I attend a college that is pretty well known for its equestrian program, and am surrounded by hundreds of girls who probably worshiped the Saddle Club girls at one time.

I don't really have much to say about this gem from 1995. The plot was sorta ho-hum: a group of inner city kids are coming to Pine Hollow stables as part of a fictional Fresh Air fund event. For some reason, this is happening on Halloween and the girls at the stables are in charge of setting up the party. The sub plot is slightly more intriguing: Stevie's best friend from Vermont, Dinah, is coming to visit. Lisa and Dinah don't get along. Blah blah blah. And in a sub-sub plot, pranks abound and the word poltergeist is thrown around more times than necessary. Eh.

What Lurks Between These Covers?
The Marvels!:
  • my copy (from had a note stuck in the pages. It said: Lunch in refreg. Drink in freezer.
  • the crazy military father (Carole's dad) has some kinda popcorn obsession. Every time the girls enter the house he starts popping popcorn. I sorta love him.
The Horror!:
  • the Saddle Club girls (plus the bitchy Dinah) dress in the most boring costumes ever: Betsy Ross, a cowgirl, a jockey, and Paul Revere
  • there is a barbecue dinner for the city kids. next to the horse stalls. I can't think of a place I'd want to eat at less than next to a horse stall.
  • Dinah is a huge bitch.
  • Trick-or-treating on horseback. I don't know, I don't think I want horses all over my lawn. Where there are horses, there is horse shit.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sweetblood by Pete Hautman (Bibliomancy)

I've been neglecting to do any bibliomancy entries these past few weeks. Quite possibly due to the fact that I lost the little Moleskine notebook that I keep all my reading notes etc. in.

So this week's book is Sweetbood by Pete Hautman. It's a slim young adult novel filled with a troubled diabetic, internet vampires, teenaged theories, and a dorky best friend turned love interest.

3.5 granola bars out of 5


Should I drop out of school and join a cult?

A: "Over dinner, I find out that Fish is just as bad as the rest of them. My parents tell me that he wants me to see a psychologist. Some guy named Carlson, a specialist in adolescent behavior."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Celluloid (Booking Through Thursday)

Booking Through Thursday:
1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?
2. The worst?
3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference? (Personally, all other things being equal, I usually prefer whichever I was introduced to first.)

And, by all means, expand this to as long a list as you like. I’m notoriously awful myself at narrowing down to one favorite ANYTHING. So, feel free to list as many “good” or “bad” movie-from-books as you like. (Heaven knows that’s what I’ll be doing….)

This is a hard one for me. I'm usually not too thrilled with movies based on books if I have read the book. I'm hard pressed to even remember a movie I've seen in the past few years that has been based on a book (except for the dozen or so films based on the works of Shakespeare). To make matters worse, I watch very few movies.
I guess I'd have to choose "To Kill a Mockingbird" as my favorite film based on a book. Which, is saying a lot because I utterly despise Gregory Peck's voice. Given a choice though, I'd re-read the book before I watched the movie again.

The worst? Well this one is easier. The live action version of Animal Farm. I could not even make it through the entire movie. I don't have the time to list all the faults I had with that film. It made me angrier than any film has a right to.

It makes a great difference If I have read the book prior to seeing the movie. In all cases I have enjoyed the book much more than the film version. More often than not, the film just cannot compare to the images already etched into my brain due to my reading of the book.

A list of not-so-bad movies based on books:
A Clockwork Orange
Frankenstein (the original one, even though it bears no resemblance to Shelley's novel)
Dracula (Bela Lugosi)
Little Women (all)
(Reluctantly) A series of Unfortunate Events
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

And the bad:
I'm going to try to stay positive.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mommy, Why Don't We Celebrate Halloween? by Linda Hacon Winwood

The 13 Words!: Spreading "Christianity" through fear and hate, one trick-or-treater at a time.

The Creature from the Back Cover!: "Mommy, Why Don't We Celebrate Halloween? helps children understand why Christians shouldn't celebrate Halloween. It reveals, in story form, the truth behind the activities that have become such an accepted part of Halloween traditions. Children who read this book and talk about it with their parents will learn how the "fun" of Halloween harms them. They will also learn what to say to others who do not understand the true meaning of Halloween."

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Mommy Why Don't We Celebrate Halloween is written by Linda Hacon Winwood and illustrated by Al Berg and published in 2004 by Destiny Image Publishers, Inc. There is a whole series of Mommy Why books written by different authors such as : Mommy, Was Santa Claus Born on Christmas Too?, and Mommy Why Can't I Watch That T.V. Show.

The Monster Speaks!:Well, to say that this book angered me would be an understatement. As a bit of a preface, I am tolerant of any and all religion. I don't care what people choose to believe or not believe. But, and this is important, I do not want to be preached to, especially if your religious beliefs are tied up in hate and a refusal to understand those that are different.
Ok, that's out of the way. This book is preachy, misguided, misinformed, and barely hides the hate that the author appears to have for anyone not of the same religious persuasion as she (the author was raised in the Catholic church, and seems to have some issues with the church).

The story is simple enough, a little boy and girl ask their mom why they doesn't celebrate Halloween. As an answer, the mother resorts to scare tactics masquerading as religious reasoning: trick-or-treating harms your relationship with Jesus, the Catholic Church(known as Roman rulers in the book) is responsible for the evils of Halloween, etc etc etc. In my opinion it's not a good idea to create such an atmosphere of fear with such a small child. How much fun could it possibly be to be 5 years old and afraid that everything you do is going to send you to hell?

It's fine if people wish to not celebrate Halloween,I respect their decision, but why must the same lies, misinformation, and scare tactics be used again and again? There has to be a better way to go about it. But, to each their own I guess. I suppose their is a market for this book. According to the author on her website, Anthony LaVay (son of Anton LaVay who wrote the Satanic Bible). called her publishing company to say,
"Thank You for producing this book and please thank Mrs. Winwood for writing it. It's about time someone wrote a book for children. If parents knew what still happens on that night, they would never let their children out of the house. This book will really make an impact."
Mrs. Winwood appears to be an advocate for literacy, from information that I have gotten from her website. I cannot say too many bad things about a woman who wants to ensure that every child(and adult) can read. However, I do wish that one day the author's eyes and mind will be opened and she will realize that Christianity in its purest form should not be about fear or hate.

What Lurks Between These Covers?
The Marvels!:

"My daughter, Sarah, was born with six fingers on both hands and six toes on her left foot. When our children did artwork or sent homemade cards,we put a six-toed foot on the back of the cards like Hallmark puts a logo on theirs.That was the beginning of the Winwood logo."

The Horror!:
The Evil, evil Celts.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Creepy Crawly Critters (An I Can Read Book) by Nola Buck. Pictures by Sue Truesdale

The 13 Words!: Cute and sweet collection of simple rhymes combined with kid friendly color illustrations.

The Creature from the Back Cover!
"Itchy witches, groaning ghosts, and plump pumpkins are just a few of the characters in this collection of giggle-producing Halloween tongue twisters. It's so much fun, it's like trick-or-treating for your tongue!"

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Creepy Crawly Critters is a hardcover collection of Halloween tongue twisters published in 1996 by HarperTrophy, as part of the I Can Read series of books. As a level 1 book, it's a guaranteed easy read.

The Monster Speaks!: Cute. That's about all I can really say about this one. It's hard to take all of it at one sitting, even though I'm a moderate fan of alliteration. If I was 3 or 4 years old though, I am sure this would be a favorite of mine. The illustrations are quite nice though.

What Lurks Between These Covers?
The Marvels!:

From the dedication page
"A Humongous Hug for Henry
On Halloween !!
lots of love from xo
Auntie J---- (and Nola Buck too!)

I'm not sure why Auntie J-something includes Nola Buck(the author), but I like her attempt at a Halloween tongue twister.

Though not technically a monster get-together, these two illustrations depict a sort of get-together, and that's fine with me

The Horror!:
Nothing really. Overall, not much bad can really be said about a book for very early readers with colorful illustrations and rhyming alliteration.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Zoey 101: Lights Out

The 13 Words!: I'd rather shave my legs with a weed-wacker than read this book again.

The Creature from the Back Cover!
:"It's Halloween and following PCA tradition, the upperclassmen are creating a haunted house for the younger kids. Logan is determined that it's going to be the scariest, spookiest, creepiest night of the little kids' lives. But when two of them vanish, including Zoey's little brother, the night takes a turn that no one imagined!"

The Facts that Attacked Mars!: Lights Out is book #7 in the Zoey 101 series, which is based off of the television show of the same name that airs on nickelodeon and stars Jamie Lynn Spears, sister to Britney. This book was adapted by Jane Mason and Sara Hines Stephens based on "Haunted House" written by Steve Holland. (There is a second half to this book which I am choosing to ignore, it is not Halloween related at all)

The Monster Speaks!: This is a pretty weak attempt at a Halloween story coupled with an annoying font and a nice heaping pile of misogyny to start things off. Includes a time-honored Halloween book theme (though on a small scale): kids afraid of Halloween. But, these scared kids turn things around. It's all very lame, not at all spooky, and was pretty torturous to get through. I couldn't even bring myself to scan the cover, and instead used a stock photo. Up until now, I haven't really posted a book I hated, nor have I really negatively described a book. This book deserves worse than I can spew out.
This book lead me to think about the onslaught of books based on tv shows and movies that are produced for kids. It isn't hard to see how quickly and poorly these books are usually put together. However, I'm glad the publishers put out this Halloween themed atrocity so I could have it in my collection and marvel at its terribleness.

What Lurks Between These Covers?
The Marvels!:

The Horror!:
  • The cover. It doesn't even hint at being Halloween related, though the boy is kind of creepy with that little smirk and the frizzy hair.
  • Every sentence uttered by a male, young or old, is ended by "man" and started with "dude". I'm all for realistic teen dialogue, but come on!
  • The last paragraph:
"Well, c'mon" Chase turned the music up and the lights down. "It's Halloween! Let's party it up!" And the motley crew boogied down in the haunted house without fear.

Read an excerpt (if you dare) here.

Some Sites About Halloween Books; Or, I Hate Books About Pumpkins

This site has a nice collection of Halloween book reviews. But, there are too many books about pumpkins! I HATE books about pumpkins. Now, I like pumpkins on their own, in pies, in breads, and even in ice cream, but not in books. I find books that center around a pumpkin patch, or worse yet, have talking pumpkins, or even worse, a precocious little boy or girl that grows pumpkins, absolutely, dreadfully boring.
Fortunately there is an abundance of Halloween books without pumpkin characters or pumpkin plots. The multitude of books with costume drama, terrified trick or treaters, and of course, monster-get-togethers that can be found makes up for the cursed pumpkin books.

The Monster Librarian, has a nice list of scary books for kids under 12. No pumpkins to be found there, thankfully

Thursday, June 28, 2007


So, since my blog is primarily about books, I think it's appropriate to include this meme.

Booking Through Thursday
Today’s question is suggested by Carrie.

What’s the most desperate thing you’ve read because it was the only available reading material?

If it was longer than a cereal box or an advertisement, did it turn out to be worth your while?

Well, I always read EVERYTHING that is put in front of me. Cereal boxes, coffee cans, bumper stickers, etc. etc. etc... But, the most desperate thing I've ever read is kind of hard to pick out, since I avidly and routinely read books written primarily for toddlers. To some, this is desperation probably! (just to make this sound better, I do read adult fiction too, I have a particular affinity for Medieval Literature)Ok, no more tangents!However, now that I think about it, I don't think I ever read anything out of pure desperation. I always have plenty of reading material. I carry books with me everywhere. I've read some pretty boring and unpleasant things that would surely be desperation picks for some, but as far as I can remember, I consciously chose them. I chose to read that tutoring manual. I chose to read the insert that came with those batteries.

And everything I have read has been worth my while, even if the experience was frustrating, boring, tedious, angering, or painful. But, that's just my opinion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Bibliomancy Wednesday)

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith is a fun read that was published earlier this year. It is a welcome addition to the seemingly never-ending onslaught of vampire novels for young adults. However, this book is not the ordinary bandwagon book. Instead it is an immensely readable and enjoyable tale filled with a hairy love interest, a chef from Paris... Texas, chilled baby squirrels, suspicious Italian food, and a few nods in homage to Bram Stoker's Dracula

4 red cowboy boots out of 5

Q: Will I ever get over my fears?

A: "I refused to be intimidated, though. The veal tartare was exquisitely raw, the foie gras terrine predictable, the main courses--from pig's feet to boar's head pie--a toe-to-top invitation for the eager carnivore, the sides obligatory, but the deserts.... The deserts were something else and something else, at least one of them was. I lingered over the last bite of the rice budding blood cakes."
(page 175)

More Info:
Author's Website

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Creepy Castle by A.J. Wood

"Creepy Castle" is an odd little book. It was published in 1996 by the Templar Company plc., which is an English company. The back cover of the book says that the book was published in the USA by Anytime Books, and imprint of Penguin Books. There is no bar code or ISBN number on the book. It also appears to be a part of a series entitled Spooky Tales, which includes titles such as "Hubble Bubble, Cauldron Trouble", "Monster Mayhem", and "The Wizard's Lizard Blizzard". The entire book basically just describes what goes on in Creepy Castle, and details what each monster does in the castle. The cover has a stick on hologram sticker of a mummy.

EDIT: it appears as if this book came as a set with the other books in the series, labeled as "Spooky Tales Hologram Storybook Collection".

Some of the illustrations are pretty nice.

The opening pages

The inhabitants promise ice cream and cookies

and of course, a monster get-together.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Anti-Halloween Books

Up until today I have been blissfully unaware ( or strictly in denial) of the existence of anti-Halloween books for children from Christian publishing houses. I ordered two today; can't wait to receive them, even though I am sure they are filled with the same redundant sentiments: Halloween is a devil's holiday, God hates Halloween, Halloween is evil, trick or treaters are evil, etc. etc. etc...
I don't know, I attended parochial schools from Kindergarten all the way through High School, and sometimes I think the nuns were even more into Halloween than some of the kids were. As far as I know, none of us turned out to be Satan-worshiping puppy and / or baby killers.

I honestly don't care what people choose to believe (or not believe in), my problem comes from the uninformed and unwanted proselytizing (such as handing out religious tracts on Halloween or telling trick or treaters they are going to Hell--things that Happen, and not only in the Bible belt)

Anyway, enough ranting.

The two titles I ordered:
Let's Shine Jesus' Light On Halloween (Happy Day Books) by Diane Stortz
Mommy, Why Don't We Celebrate Halloween? (Mommy Why?) by Linda Hacon Winwood

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sweet Valley Kids #12: Sweet Valley Trick or Treat (1990)

While I lived for Sweet Valley books when I was a kid, I never read Sweet Valley Kids. At 8 years old I was much more interested in the exploits of teenaged twins, than twins my own age. I picked this book up for a dollar at Barnes & Noble recently.

The (admittedly lame) plot:Jessica and Elizabeth both want to be princesses for Halloween, but there are only two costumes to choose from: a witch and a princess.
One must be a witch! One must be a princess! But the girls have a plan!

And a scan from the book:

Horrible skin disease or pumpkin seeds? I vote for skin disease, but sadly, it's just pumpkin seeds.

The Halloween Kangaroo

This is a book written by Mary Lewis and illustrated by Richard Lewis. It was published originally in 1964, but the copy I have is a 1967 edition (3rd printing). It's a pretty cute story about a little boy named Jeffrey who wants to be a kangaroo on Halloween, but once he gets his wish, he realizes that it's not easy being a kangaroo on Halloween. He can't eat, he trips over his feet, he can't bob for apples. All this could have been prevented if his mother made a mouth hole in the costume. But, mouth hole = no plot.

Here are some interior scans:

Jeffrey asks to be a Kangaroo; parents play dumb.

School Halloween party.

Jeffrey feels sorry for himself; regrets being a kangaroo.

Even though Jeffrey's parents give him a hard time, and say they never heard of a Halloween kangaroo, itseems like a popular costume choice according to a YouTube search.

And these two seem to not have ANY problem moving around like Jeffrey did in his kangaroo costume.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

(copied from other blog)

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is a story full of hungry wolves, orphan schools, a boy and his geese, a trip by foot to London, parents that are presumed dead, kind doctors, and lying amnesiacs.

What is meant by “Good”?

A: "I hope the train hasn't been delayed by wolves," she said presently.

My Rating:
4.5 snarling wolves out of 5

Marly's Ghost by David Levithan

(copied from other blog)

Marly's Ghost by David Levithan is a remix of Dickens' Christmas Carol. It is a tale about love, loss, ghosts, heavy charm bracelets, Tiny & Tim, and Valentine's Day.

Q: What is truth?

A: "But what if we don't? I don't want you cutting your hair off for me. I don't want you ripping your heart up for me. Do you understand that? It's not going to get better, Ben. It's going to get much, much worse. And then maybe after that it will get better again. Maybe."

My Rating:
4.5 candy hearts that say Luv Sux, out of 5

The Hostile Hospital (ASOUE Book the 8th) by Lemony Snicket

(copied over from my other blog)

The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket is the 8th book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. In it the Baudelaire orphans encounter disguised villains, cheerful volunteers, handbags shaped like eyes, a library of records, and a little bit of truth.

Q: Given that the atoms in your body get replaced over each seven-year period and that your mind both develops and forgets old data, how can you define identity? Are you really the same person, you were yesterday?

A : "Today is a very important day in the history of the hospital. In precisely one hour, a doctor here will perform the world's first cranioectomy on a fourteen-year-old-girl."

My Rating:
4 rusty knives out of 5


Bibliomancy is the use of books in divination. The method of employing sacred books (especially specific words and verses) for 'magical medicine', for removing negative entities, or for divination is universal in all religions of the world.

1. A book is picked that is believed to hold truth.
2. It is balanced on its spine and allowed to fall open.
3. A passage is picked, with the eyes closed.
--from Wikipedia

I delve into a bit of bibliomancy at my other (now pretty much dead) blog. Now, I don't actually believe in bibliomancy. I don't think my future is being told by a book, but I think it's a fun little exercise. Sometimes it's even a little eerie. But, it's not telling my future. In fact, I usually ask silly or deep philosophical questions that have nothing to with my future.

An example from Avalon High, by Meg Cabot:

Q: If there were no evil in the world, would good cease to have meaning?

I was truant.
I was a delinquent.
And the worst part of all?
I didn't even care.

See? The randomly selected answer fits the question pretty well.

So, I'm thinking of combining both blogs, as I like the idea of both. I'm just not sure if I am going to bring in non-Halloween books. I probably will, and slightly change the name of the blog. Oh well, I worry about the little things too much.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Halloween Book Memory

When I was in second grade, my teacher Mrs. Aragon (whom, with all the 2nd-grade wit I could muster, I christened Arrogant Aragon) had a low shelf of books under the window that we could borrow from to read during study times or if we finished our work earlier than the rest of the class. She had a great (but small) collection of Halloween books and ghost stories. I remember picking out a slim book one day. I cannot remember the title, but the cover was pale blue with a black pencil illustration of a haunted house. I think it was published by Troll books, and likely came from the Troll mail-order brochures. Well, I forgot to put the book back on the shelf at the end of the day. In fact, I never returned it. I could have, of course, just brought it back the next day, but I was an odd little kid. I was terrified of everything; especially falling out of favor with my teachers. I was too scared to bring the book back, so I never did. I never actually read the book either. It sat for years in my bedroom with Mrs. Aragon's name neatly written on the back of the front cover. I remember being scared all through the summer before 3rd grade started; worried to death that Mrs. Aragon was going to call my mom and tell her I stole a book from her classroom. Of course, she never called. She likely never even knew the book was missing.
I'm not sure what happened to the book. Chances are I still have it somewhere, as I have never thrown out a book, and rarely even give them away. I hope to find the book someday. It just may have been the book--albeit a stolen and never read one-- that started my love for Halloween books.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Eerie Indiana: Attack of the Two-Ton Tomatoes

While not really Halloween related, still a slightly creepy series based on the TV series that aired from 1991-1992 on Fox. In 1997 the series was brought back, but was revamped with new characters. I pretend that series never existed, though that series helped launch this series of books, though thankfully they include the original characters. This is the only book in the series I own. I am always on the lookout for the other 16.

From the back cover:
"Wow, can Eerie farms grown vegetables! They've introduced a new kind of super-big, super-juicy produce, and everybody in town is just crazy about it. [...] Then, people start developing a strange, mossy green rash; they get really thirsty; and they want to stay out in the sun all day. [...]"

The intro to the TV show:

Boo Who?

When I select kids' Halloween books for my collection I usually go for the less scary options. Interactivity is always good too. This book, Boo Who? And Other Wicked Halloween Knock-Knock Jokes written by Katy Hall & Lisa Eisenberg, fits the bill. It's not scary in the least, has cartoony illustrations by Stephen Carpenter, and is a lift the flap book. It's not an old book; it was published in 2000, but I collect all kinds of halloween books for kids.

Here is a scan from the inside. It's my favorite illustration from the book, as I am a sucker for Monster Get-Togethers:

Which brings me to this clip from Mr. Show, Monster Parties; fact or Fiction?

Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum

Monster Museum is a collection of 12 short stories published in 1965 by Random House and illustrated by Earl E. Mayan. Authors include Ray Bradbury, Guy Endore, and Jerome Bixby. The introduction is written by Hitchcock himself, in which he appears to be frowning slightly upon the monster culture of the 60s.

To me, the illustrations are more captivating than the stories. From the first illustration on the inside front cover to the last, the illustration are wonderfully strange. All are done in purplish red, white, black, and tones of gray. Many are collage like, and do not necessarily reflect the stories they accompany.
Here are two of my favorites:

This one is from "The King of the Cats" by Stephen Vincent Benet

This one is from "Henry Martindale, Great Dane" by Miriam Allen deFord

Delightfully creepy!

Here is a non-related Monster Museum

Professor Cline's Haunted Monster Museum of Virginia
"At the Haunted Monster Museum you will experience the very best of fun family entertainment. Bizarre and unique, it's like Scooby Doo meets the Twilight Zone."
-from the site