What does a mom with strep throat + a child with strep throat + a soccer tournament + an archery championship + a two day SCBWI conference + out-of-town guests = ??
You guessed it.
A very late Mixed-Up Files Post!
Your patience (and my persistence) paid off though, because I have an awesome book list just in time for Halloween!
Not all readers enjoy scary books. If they did, I could recommend quite a few bookst. Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE, and just about any ghost story ever written by Mary Downing Hahn. Or more recently two hits by Claire Legrand: THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS and THE YEAR OF SHADOWS.
But since many of us feel our skin crawl a little too easily, might I suggest some lighter faire?
THE CREATURE DEPARTMENT by Robert Paul Weston
My daughter read this book and loved it. She says it reminds her of Monster’s Inc. I’ll be taking this off my shelf to read this week!
It’s a tentacled, inventive, gooey, world in there. . . .
Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory.
Beneath the glass towers and glittering skywalks, there’s a rambling old mansion from which all the company’s amazing inventions spring forth. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall.
Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.
They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken teeth. Tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly. And huge, hulking, hairy nonhumans (with horns). It is unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000 factory if a new product isn’t presented soon, the creatures know they are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it’s up to Elliot, Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, “employees” to create an invention so astonishing it will save the Creature Department.
GOBBLED BY GHORKS by Robert Paul Weston
When a singing telegram arrives with some seriously stomach-churning news, the Creature Department is once again thrown into an invention frenzy. Rumor has it that monstrous ghorks have taken the creatures of Heppleworth’s Food Factory hostage. And worse, they are threatening to turn them into tasty treats!
The Creature Department and their human friends, Elliot and Leslie, sneak into Heppleworth’s disguised as performers in an all-singing, all-dancing dinner-theater cabaret. There they discover the five types of ghorks that had previously caused them a whole lot of trouble: nose ghorks, eye ghorks, ear ghorks, mouth ghorks, and hand ghorks—one for each of the five senses. But then they stumble upon something else: a sixth ghork, equipped with a mysterious sixth sense!
When the sixth ghork’s sixth sense is finally revealed, it is even more outlandish than anyone imagined; and the only way to save the day is to make a dangerous deal. But if the deal goes wrong, Elliot, Leslie, and every last creature will be… gobbled by ghorks!
HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND MONSTERS by Ron Bates
I read this book last year and absolutely fell in love with the laugh-out-loud humor, the awkward memories of making friends, and the lesson learned about friendships. I’m thrilled to see there’s a sequel to add to my list!
Some Friends Are Just Worth Making
For Howard Boward, science genius, making friends in middle school is hard. The other kids have more fun creatively expanding Howard’s name than actually hanging out, as in How-weird or How-Lame. . So, why not actually make a friend? A little wonder putty, some DNA, a few accidentally spilled chemicals and—boom!—instant friend. Monster friend, that is. Franklin ends up being cool in middle school, and he helps Howard climb the uber-popular ladder, becoming How-Cool. But the new fame and friendship isn’t exactly everything Howard hoped. Turns out real friendship might not be so simple, even when you create your own friends from scratch.
HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE-SCHOOL AND MONSTER BOTS by Ron Bates
Sometimes, being smart just isn’t enough
It s been a rough semester for Howard Boward, science genius. Not only is he having to dodge winter s most feared weapon (snowballs), his close friend, Winnie McKinney, is barely speaking to him. If that weren t enough, he s the favorite target of some bullies who seem determined to make life at Dolley Madison Middle School as miserable as possible. But then Howard learns about an upcoming robot-building contest finally a chance to show off his science skills and beat archrival Gerald G-Force Forster Unfortunately, the only way to win is by using his secret monster goo, a formula that has terrifying side effects. Can Howard resist the temptation? Or will he unleash a robot rampage that could destroy the town and ruin the school dance?”
FRANK EINSTEIN AND THE ANTI-MATTER MOTOR by Jon Scieszka
All right. I know. It’s technically a science book, but c’mon! With a title like Frank Einstein, I just had to put it on the list!
Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm and flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his Antimatter Motor . . . until Frank’s archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan! Using real science, Jon Scieszka has created a unique world of adventure and science fiction—an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers.
THE LITTLE VAMPIRE SERIES by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg
Forever a classic for those children who like monsters along with a good laugh!
While we’re talking about vampires, have you read the TOTALLY LAME VAMPIRE SERIES by Tim Collins? That’s not an insult! It’s the title of the series! See for yourself.
Finally, a series of fairy tale/monster stories with themes of friendship, self-acceptance, peer pressure, and fitting in.
MONSTER HIGH by Lisi Harrison and EVER AFTER HIGH by Shannon Hale
And yes, I would even include my own books in this list.
The SCARILY EVER LAUGHTER series by Amie & Bethanie Borst
So that’s my list of not-so-scary books perfect for the timid readers among us. What are some of your favorites? Do you have a recommendation to share? Leave a comment for us!
Amie Borst likes not-so-scary books, not for her kids, but for herself! Goosebumps aren’t for the faint of heart. She writes not-so-scary middle-grade books. Find her on her blog.