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As Seen on CTV: Seven Spooky Halloween Books for Kids

Spooky season means spooky books! Here are seven new Canadian kids’ titles to read leading up to the big day. Watch the full segment here.

Picture Books, ages 3-7

In the retro-tinged A Spoonful of Frogs, a glamourous witch is explaining how to make soup on camera, as if she’s on a TV cooking show, but one of the ingredients won’t cooperate. The frogs have no intention of being in the soup and they lead the witch on a wild chase through the house, into the woods, until eventually the witch decides that pickles are a good substitute for frogs. This is a great read-aloud that is more fun than frightening.

Night Lunch is not specifically about Halloween but nails that spooky, October vibe. Owl prepares delicious meals for all the nocturnal animals who come to visit his exquisite night cart. The simple text, Victorian setting, and gorgeous nighttime landscapes create a fairytale feel.

In The Wolf Suit, Bellwether is a sheep who is afraid to go into the woods and run into wolves, so he makes himself a wolf suit. But his wolf suit is so convincing he finds himself befriended by wolves…the kind of scary wolves that might eat Bellwether if they knew he was really a sheep. This book has Halloween tropes like costumes, wolves and the spooky woods, but at its core The Wolf Suit is about the masks we put on to fit in and the relief of finding others who like you just as you are. Vibrant art and a touching allegorical story make this a very promising debut.

Chapter Books, ages 5-9

Crimson Twill: Witch in the City is the first book in a new series by Kallie George who really excels at writing for this age. Crimson is not a typical witch; she wears gum boots instead of pointy boots and polka dots instead of all black clothing. In this first book, readers accompany her on a big shopping trip to New Wart City to visit Broomingdales. Crimson is the kind of slightly witchy character that will appeal to kids who like princess and mermaids. George builds a witchy world reminiscent of NYC rich with details that kids will adore and want to return to.

The Weird Sisters: A Note, a Goat and a Casserole is also the first book in a new series. Three witch sisters arrive in town to set up a pet store and the residents aren’t quite sure what to make of them. There is a lot of wordplay and punning that reminds me a bit of Amelia Bedelia, and these witches are definitely sweet not scary. The heart of the book is about acceptance and it would make a fun family read-aloud.

Middle Grade, ages 10-14

Double O Stephen and the Ghostly Realm is a great blend of two kid faves- ghosts and pirates. Stephen’s greatest dream in life is to become a pirate. When he discovers he is a baksu mudang, a Korean term for someone who can communicate with spirits, all his pirate lore comes in handy and he gets to realize this ambition by rescuing the ghost of his grandmother. This is a fun, fast-paced adventure that takes place mostly in the spirit realm and therefore has the feel of a fantasy.

Ghostlight also features kids who can talk to ghosts, but takes place in contemporary Toronto. Three kids team up with the ghost of a lighthouse keeper’s daughter to stop a particularly evil ghost from using a special lens that will raise the dead. Oppel mixes historical figures with fantastic ghost lore and this blend of fact and fantasy is extremely compelling. Most of the action is set in and around the Toronto Islands, including an amazing battle scene set on the CN tower.

Happy Halloween!

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