These new 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 Medal-winning 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 action-packed illustrations are personality-packed, while the entire book makes a rousing fall read for the 3- to 7-year-old crowd.
"Evil Librarian" by Michelle Knudsen; Candlewick Press; 345 pages; $16.99.
The title and slick red-and-black cover drew me into Michelle Knudsen's latest novel. Funny and theatrical, the irresistible read stars a high-schooler named Cyn who questions her best friend's crush on the new librarian. Makes sense, since he's "seriously hot" but also grows blood, horn and bat-like wings whenever friend Annie isn't around.
As if trying to keep your buddy away from a demon isn't hard enough, Cyn has to save her beloved school musical ("Sweeney Todd") and try to maintain normalcy around her own crush.
Tongue-in-cheek, witty and just plain cool, "Evil Librarian" is a superbly fun teen read for fall.
Ticktock Books' "Spooky Sticker Book" ($8.99) is monstrous fun, with 500 reusable stickers and a cauldron full of creative, slightly spooky activities.
The latest from Ron Roy's Calendar Mysteries (Random House, $4.99), "October Ogre" is an easy chapter book for beginning readers about a haunted house.
"Lady Bug Girl and the Dress-Up Dilemma" by David Soman and Jacky Davis (Dial/Penguin, $17.99) is the Lady Bug girl's quest for a different costume: robot, vampire panda, silent movie star? But eventually she realizes it's best to just be yourself.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.