It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to stories that may be a little scary. This month I have chosen some monster stories for toddlers and preschoolers, scary stories for kids in grades K-5, and horror stories for young people in grades 6 and up. Visit your local library and check some out.
Ages 3 & up Socksquatch. (Henry Holt and Company, ages 4 and up) by Frank Dormer. Poor Socksquatch. All he wants is two warm feet, but things aren't going his way. Even his friends can't help. What's a monster to do?
If You’re a Monster and You Know It. (Orchard Books, ages 3 and up) by Ed Emberley Monsters sing their own version of this popular song that encourages everyone to express their happiness through voice and movement.
Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, ages 3 and up) by Barbara Jean Hicks. In this rollicking picture book, monsters insist they don’t like broccoli. They would rather snack on tractors or a rocket ship or two, or tender trailer tidbits, or a wheely, steely stew. But boy do those trees they are munching look an awful lot broccoli. Maybe vegetables aren’t so bad after all.
Laura Numeroff’s 10-Step Guide to Living with Your Monster. (Harper Collins, ages 4 and up) by Laure Numeroff. A retelling of the French fairy tale in which a clever cat wins his master a fortune and the hand of a princess.
Your Pal Mo Willems Presents: Leonardo the Terrible Monster. (Hyperion Books, ages 3 and up) by Mo Willems. Losing all hope in his ability to scare people, which is sorely lacking, Leonardo, who is terrible at being a monster, discovers a nervous little boy who seems to be the perfect candidate for him.
Grades K-5 The Seer of Shadows. (Harper Collins, ages 8 and up) by Avi. In 1872, Horace Carpentine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen. Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora’s image and her ghost.
A Monster is Coming. (Random House Books for Young Readers, ages 4 and up) by David L. Harrison. When Inchworm overhears Mama Bug tell Baby Bug that she eats like a monster, he cries out in fear and sets off a chain reaction of animals trying to hide from the horrible beast they believe is coming.
Sir Small and the Sea Monster. (Random House Books for Young Readers, ages 5 and up) by Jane O’Connor. Tiny sir Small rides his trusty ant into Itty-Bitty City and immediately must rise to the challenge of rescuing the prince who, the queen fears, was taken captive by a terrible sea monster while out in his boat (a peanut shell).
Half-Minute Horrors. (Harper Collins, ages 8 and up) by Susan Rich. An anthology of very short, scary stories by an assortment of authors and illustrators including Chris Raschka, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, and Lane Smith.
Haunted Houses. (Square Fish, ages 9 and up) by Robert San Souci. Scare-master Robert San Souci serves up ten chilling tales about untraditional haunted houses: a Mansion full of pirate treasure, a ghost trapped in a mysterious dollhouse a boy whose vacation house comes complete with people-eating spiders, and many more.
Grades 6 and up The Poisoned House. (Albert Whitman Teen, ages 13 and up) by Michael Ford. As the widowed master of an elegant house in Victorian-era London slips slowly into madness and his tyrannical housekeeper takes on more power, a ghostly presence distracts a teenaged maidservant with clues to a deadly secret.
The Museum of Mary Child. (Kane/Miller Books Publishers, ages 11 and up) by Cassandra Golds. Heloise lives with her strict and forbidding godmother in an isolated cottage where the emphasis is on doing one's duty and avoiding all things which could be considered a waste of time. Next door is a sinister museum dedicated to the memory of Mary Child. Visitors enter the museum with a smile, but depart with fear in their eyes. Heloise has never been in the museum.
The Knife that Killed Me. (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, ages 14 and up) by Anthony McGowan. Paul Varderman, a secondary student in an English Catholic School, is a loner until, just as he is becoming friends with "the freaks," the school bully encourages Paul to join his gang and gives him a knife to carry as an incentive.
Morpheus Road: The Light. (Aladdin, ages 10 and up) by D. J. MacHale. Sixteen-year-old Marshall Seaver is expecting a boring summer when his best friend goes away, but instead he finds himself haunted--and hunted--by ghosts that want something from him which he cannot decipher.
The Boneshaker. (Sandpiper, ages 9 and up) by Kate Milford. When Jake Limberleg brings his traveling medicine show to a small Missouri town in 1913, thirteen-year-old Natalie senses that something is wrong and, after investigating, learns that her love of automata and other machines make her the only one who can set things right.