Monsters, Zombies and Other Creepy Creatures

It’s October and we’re getting close to the time of costumes and candy. There are tons of fun activities, crafts and books on the subject but I’m partial to some that are Halloween-themed but not specifically about Halloween. This is a good way to include everyone even if they do not choose to celebrate Halloween.

Suggestions for younger kiddos:andreaoctober1
Leonardo the Terrible Monster
by Mo Willems

Leonardo is truly a terrible monster — terrible at being a monster that is. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to frighten anyone. Determined to succeed, Leonardo sets himself to training and research. Finally, he finds a nervous little boy, and scares the tuna salad out of him! But scaring people isn’t quite as satisfying as he thought it would be. Leonardo realizes that he might be a terrible, awful monster-but he could be a really good friend.

If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Emberly
Children will stomp their paws, twitch their tails, snort and growl, and wiggle and wriggle along with this bright and bold twist on “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. Rebecca Emberley has written a rollicking text, which she has illustrated in collaboration with her father, Caldecott Medalist Ed Emberley. Includes a fun sing-along song, which can be downloaded at the Scholastic Web site. If you’re a monster and you know it, give a ROAR! If you’re a monster and you know it, give a ROAR! If you’re a monster and you know it, and you really want to show it, if you’re a monster and you know it–give a ROAR!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams
The little old lady’s fearless attitude and her clever solution as to what to do with the lively shoes, pants, shirt and pumpkin head that are chasing her will enchant young audiences.

The Skeleton in the Closet by Alice Schertle
Bam! Bam! Bam! A skeleton’s knocking at the door. Creak . . . creak . . . creak . . . Now he’s going up the steps — but this skeleton isn’t looking for what you’d expect. There are both snickers and shivers awaiting readers in this wickedly funny rhyming story that is sure to tickle funny bones.

Peanut Butter and Brains by Joe McGee
Reginald isn’t like the other zombies who shuffle through Quirkville, scaring the townspeople and moaning for BRAINSSSSS! The only thing Reginald’s stomach rumbles for is sticky peanut butter and sweet jelly. He tries to tell his zombie pals that there’s more to life than eating brains, but they’re just not interested. Will Reginald find a way to bring peace to Quirkville and convince the other zombies that there’s nothing better than PB&J?

Suggestions for older kiddos:andreaoctober2

Bunnicula: a Rabbit Tale of Mystery by James Howe
This book is written by Harold. His full time occupation is dog. He lives with Mr. and Mrs. X (here called Monroe) and their sons Toby and Pete. Also sharing the home are a cat named Chester and a rabbit named Bunnicula. It is because of Bunnicula that Harold turned to writing. Someone had to tell the full story of what happened in the Monroe household after the rabbit arrived. It all began when the Monroes went to see the movie Dracula.  At the theater, Toby found something on his seat — a baby rabbit that he took home and named Bunnicula. It proved to be an apt name, at least as far as Chester was concerned. A well-read and observant cat, he soon decided that there was something odd about the newcomer. For one thing he seemed to have fangs. And the odd markings on his back looked a little like a cape. Furthermore, Bunnicula slept from sunup to sundown. He was awake only at night. When the family started finding white vegetables, drained dry, with two fang marks in them, Chester was sure Bunnicula was a vampire. But what to do about it. None of the family seemed to grasp the trouble, and Chester’s hilarious hints were totally misunderstood. Was Bunnicula really a vampire? Only Bunnicula knows for sure. But the story of Chester’s suspicions and their consequences makes uproarious reading

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara
When Tom’s big brother decides to become an Evil Scientist, his first experiment involves dunking Frankie the goldfish into toxic green gunk. Tom knows that there is only one thing to do: Zap the fish with a battery and bring him back to life! But there’s something weird about the new Frankie. He’s now a BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH with hypnotic powers . . . and he’s out for revenge!

Dark Mansions by Dinah Williams
A big, beautiful mansion sounds like a great place to live. But what if its many rooms hold only memories of pain and suffering? What if sad spirits haunt the hallways and ghostly screams echo out the large windows? No amount of money can stop a house like that from becoming a nightmare. Among the 11 mansions in this book, readers will discover a beautiful plantation where a ghostly hound howls on stormy nights; Manhattan’s oldest home where a spirit shushes schoolchildren; and an architect’s dream house that turned into a nightmare with the swing of an axe. Riveting true tales and full-color photos will keep children turning the pages to discover more spooky stories.

Continue your creepy fun with a “glowing eyeballs” craft!  It’s always fun and lets the children get a little creative; directions courtesy of Mommy Brain Reports!



Ready, Set, Skate!

It’s hockey season, and there’s nothing mixing up a nice cup of cocoa and settling down in a cozy chair and reading about this icy cool sport. Check out some of these amazing books about this fast-paced, thrilling team sport.


The Hockey Machine by Matt Christopher
Abducted by a fan and forced to become a member of a professional junior hockey team, thirteen-year-old star center Steve Crandall quickly realizes that he must play not only to win but to survive.

The Story of Hockey by Anastasia Suen
Forms of hockey have been played for centuries. This book gives young readers a glimpse into the rich history of this exciting sport.

Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
In the mold of our very popular series of state alphabet books, we offer “Z is for Zamboni” to hockey fans young and old across North America. Matt Napier’s “breakaway” rhymes and “hard-checking” expository text team up with the “top-shelf” illustrations of Melanie Rose to elucidate this increasingly popular game for every beginning hockey aficionado. Highlighting rules, players, coaches, teams, and the history of the game, it is both fun and educational.

Hockey: The Math of the Game by Shane Frederick
How do you calculate a players points? Whats the difference between a goalies save percentage and his goals against average? How much water is needed to cover an ice rink? Fight for the puck and learn about the math that goes into the sport of hockey!

Frankenstein Doesn’t Slam Hockey Pucks by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
The coach of the new junior hockey team looks familiar. He’s the creepy assistant from the science museum, and he looks just like Frankentein’s monster!

And for some crafting fun, construct these cool Popsicle stick hockey sticks with button pucks and play a little table-top hockey!  Directions available at Today’s Parent.


See the “Wild Things” Before Max Sails Home!

There’s still time to visit Central Library to see The Art of Maurice Sendak exhibit, which features 50 original works of art by Sendak and a life-size, interactive recreation of Max’s bedroom. But come soon—the exhibit ends Sunday, October 18!


Check out the boats crafted by kids at Kingshighway Branch, they’re all ready to sail off through night and day and in and out of weeks and over a year to where the wild things are.

Set Sail with Max 1

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!


The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
Describes how pumpkins come in different shapes and sizes, how they grow, and their traditional uses and cultural significance. Includes instructions for carving a pumpkin and drying the seeds.

Mystery Vine: A Pumpkin Surprise by Cathryn Falwell
As the seasons go by, the mystery vine grows and grows and grows. Now, finally, it is autumn, and the mystery vine is no longer a mystery. Hello, pumpkins! This is the season for jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin seeds–ready for toasting and munching, and for saving and planting come spring.

Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
Preschoolers will cheer the return of Duck and Goose in their fourth board book appearance. This time, Duck and Goose are looking for the perfect pumpkin. Is it in the log? Is it under the leaves? Is it in the apple tree? Young children will surely enjoy going on a pumpkin hunt with Duck and Goose . . . especially when they find the perfect pumpkin at the end!

The Pumpkin Elf Mystery by Abby Klein
Who is the Pumpkin Elf, and where is he? Join Freddy Thresher and the rest of his first-grade class as they follow clues to find a mysterious Halloween elf who comes to their classroom at night and plays tricks on everyone. The teacher says that the Pumpkin Elf will leave treats only if the class behaves. Can Freddy and his friends find the elf, mind their manners, and collect their pumpkin surprises? Halloween is so much fun in first grade! Can you guess how Freddy and his friends will decorate their pumpkins?

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara
“How many seeds are in a pumpkin?” Mr. Tiffin asks his class as they gather around the big, medium, and small pumpkins on his desk. Robert, the biggest kid, guesses that the largest one has a million seeds; Elinor, sounding like she knows what she’s talking about, guesses the medium one has 500 seeds; and Anna, who likes even numbers better than odd ones, guesses that the little one has 22. Charlie, the smallest boy in the class, doesn’t have a guess.

Try making these beaded pumpkins from Cutesy Crafts!

Or if you need a pumpkin that’s a little easier to make, try this one from Blissfully Domestic!