As we inch closer to the spookiest night of the year, here are our recommendations for delightfully haunting Halloween reads. With witches, werewolves and demons aplenty, there’s a monstrously-good book lurking around the corner for every reader.
For readers 0-5
You’re invited to a party.
What fun! Hip, hip, hooray!
So come along to Monster’s house
at three o’clock today.
Raymond the hairdresser is scarily busy. Everyone wants to look their best for Monster’s party. But a series of disasters at Raymond’s hair salon – Oops, too much hair gel! Oops, the dyes have been muddled! – leave his customers disappointed until … they discover Monster’s party has a very special theme!
A very silly, slightly spooky story that is perfect for youngsters at Halloween! From a bestselling author (Aliens Love Underpants) and illustrator (Barry the Fish with Fingers, Supertato).
Ten little monsters set off in search of adventure. But what will the ten little monsters do when they meet a howling werewolf, a giant spider and other scaries in the night?
“A rollicking read with an easy rhythm and jaunty illustrations… an excellent addition to books that help with counting.” Guardian
Creak! Squeak! Halloween is an exciting board book with five sturdy flaps for preschoolers to lift, and five spooky noises including a croaking frog and a creaking door. Develop your child’s language with the rhythmic read-aloud rhymes, then work together to guess who or what could be hiding under each flap.
For the chance to win a copy, enter our competition by the 20th of October 2017.
For readers 5-8
When Elsie Pickles offers to house-sit the mysterious home of local witch Magenta Sharp, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Left with a talking raven and a scruffy dog for company, a magical tower that has a mind of its own and a book of instruction called Everything You Need to Know, what could possibly go wrong?
With an assortment of weird and wonderful neighbours banging at the door and a box of volatile magical ingredients that must be used immediately, Elsie finds out that looking after Magenta’s home might not be as easy as she first thought … does she have what it takes to be a witch for a week or will it all end in a magical disaster?
Spooky Night! (The Not-So-Little Princess), by Wendy Finney & Tony Ross, published by Andersen Press
The Little Princess is not so little any more! Perfect for newly independent readers, this full-colour series brings Tony Ross’ beloved character to a whole new audience.
Princess Rosie is woken in the night by a very strange noise. Just what could it be?
Together with her best friend Ollie, she goes on a hunt round the royal castle to find out. It’s going to be a very spooky night!
Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball, by Laura Ellen Anderson, published by Egmont
Amelia Fang would much rather hang out with her pet pumpkin Squashy, and her friends Florence the yeti (DON’T CALL HER BEAST!) and Grimaldi the reaper than dance at her parents’ annual Barbaric Ball.
And when the King’s spoiled son Tangine captures Squashy, Amelia and her friends must escape the party to plan a daring rescue! In their race against time, they begin to realise things in Nocturnia may not be quite what they seem . . .
Join Amelia on her very first adventure. She won’t bite!
Waterstone’s Children’s Book of the Month
For readers 8-12
From the bestselling author of How to Train Your Dragon comes an exciting high-adventure series – set in an ancient, magical time, full of Wizards, Warriors, Giants and Sprites.
This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.
In this whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they’re going to make it to the dungeons at Warrior Fort, where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring…
Listen to the first chapter of The Wizards of Once, as narrated by David Tennant, here.
Maudlin Towers: Curse of the Werewolf Boy, by Chris Priestley, published by Bloomsbury
Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom-laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!
But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?
Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.
Enter our competition for your chance to win a copy of the book (closes on the 31st October 2017).
Lockwood & Co: The Empty Grave, by Jonathan Stroud, published by Corgi Children’s
After their recent adventures, the Lockwood & Co team deserve a well-earned break . . . so naturally they decide to risk their lives breaking into a heavily-guarded crypt. A building full of unsettled souls, it’s also the final resting place of Marissa Fittes, the legendary and (supposedly) long-dead ghost hunter – though the team have their suspicions about just how dead she might be.
What they discover changes everything.
Pitched into a desperate race to get to the truth behind the country’s ghost epidemic, the team ignite a final, epic battle against the Fittes agency. A battle that will force them to journey to the Other Side, and face the most terrifying enemy they have ever known.
Can everyone make it out alive?
Join Lucy, Lockwood, George and Holly for one last time as they battle ghosts and humans for truth and justice in this breath-taking finale to the bestselling series.
For readers 12+
Alys was the only one to see the soul eaters when they came to her village. The others were sleeping. They never woke up…
Now, an orphan, Alys knows the full danger of the soul eaters. She’s heard the nursery rhymes the children sing about the twin sisters who feed on souls. She’s seen people disappear into the forest and never come back. So why, then, does she find herself mysteriously drawn to the forest? Is she what everyone around her says she is? A witch?
Alys soon finds herself on a journey that will take her to the very heart of the forest. There she must decide where true evil lies. And face the thing they call… The Beast.
A fairy tale with a difference: shivery, dark, and deeply satisfying.
Enter our competition for your chance to win a copy of the book (closes on the 31st October 2017).
Alyce is in Bedlam asylum – mad, they say. Her mother has been executed for witchcraft, her home destroyed and her spirit crushed … so maybe it’s true. Or maybe she isn’t as broken as she seems.
A visit from two masked strangers provides an opportunity to escape – and Alyce takes it. Now she must navigate the dark streets of London where there’s a secret waiting to be unravelled. In an England divided by rival queens, it seems Alyce has a part to play – if only she can master the rising power within her…
Read an extract here.
Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) was one of the leading illustrators from the golden age of British book illustration. Fairy-tale and fantasy were his forte and in later life he responded to the dark stimulus of Poe’s gothic tales with gleeful appreciation of their macabre and otherworldly qualities, claiming afterwards that he had quite succeeded in frightening himself!
For lovers of the thrilling and chilling, young and old, Poe’s sensational stories cannot fail to hit the spot. This collection contains the best of his prose works, including of course the well-known masterpieces ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ (the ultimate haunted house story), ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ (the very first detective story in fiction). First published in 1935, it has been redesigned, re-typeset and republished in a handsome edition which features all Rackham’s original colour and black and white illustrations. A perfect gift – though not for the faint-hearted!
Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.
No. 1 New York Times– bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love. Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans of the Grishverse.
This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them beautifully illustrated with art by Sara Kiplin that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.
For fans of Cassandra Clare and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the second book in this kick-ass new series will keep you on the edge of your seat…
Diana, Minerva and Vesta are Demon Hunters, gifted with amazing powers. They can see truth with the touch of the hand, break down solid walls and shoot lightning from their fingertips … basically all the things you could want in the battle against supernatural evil.
When an eerie fog cloaks Edinburgh and the girls find a boy, bloodied and confused, they suspect a demon is up to no good. Before they can even grab their weapons, they’re plunged into a fight against an ancient foe. Will the united strength of their Trinity be enough to keep them alive?
With new faces, an old flame and one seriously blood-thirsty demon, things are about to get interesting…