hubblebubbleHubble Bubble and the Super-Spooky Fright Night
Tracey Corderoy (text) & Joe Berger (illustrations)
(Nosy Crow)

With its gorgeous Hallween-y cover, this latest book from the Hubble Bubble young fiction series ( a spin-off of the bestselling picture book series) puts you in the right mood straight away. Pandora is having a Halloween party with her friends and both her grannies are helping. Granny Podmore is sensible, but Granny Crow (who is a witch, but don’t tell anyone), well, not so much. She is lots of fun though, and always means well. Will the party end up be a disaster?
Heavily illustrated, with Joe Berger’s gorgeous artwork in shades of orange and grey, this is a wonderful series for newly independent readers. The book includes three individual stories; this helps, alongside the illustrations, the text to be split in less daunting and more manageable chunks.  It is fun and the relationship between Pandora and her grandmother’s brings a certain dynamic to the stories. Young children will relish in Pandora being the sensible one, and this current tome is the perfect opportunity to introduce young readers to the series


gothgirlGoth Girl and the Fete Worse than Death
Chris Riddell
(Macmillan Children’s Books)

The wonderfully quirky Goth family and all those who live in their estate return for another sagacious and elegant adventure.  Lord Goth is on a book tour and has left the organisation  of the annual Full Moon Fete to his staff. Preparations are well underway, including a celebrity bake-off, but with Maltravers acting not unusually suspiciously,  Ada thinks something is afoot and with the help of her friends, she is keen to discover what might be happening behind closed doors. But will anyone remember it is also her birthday? And will she have time to sort out her elusive nanny’s relationship problems?
Spies, vampires, baking and even doomed relationships: there is something for everyone within the pages of this exquisitely designed little book. Chris Riddell’s meticulous and refined artwork and his witty writing are sure to delight young readers again; yet intertextuality, cunning references and parody galore make this book particularly enjoyable for adult readers.
It is faultless, down to the a mini book included at the end, “Biography of a Bear”, a perfect example of a wordless comic, which is so good, it could easily be used to teach storytelling techniques in panel formats.


thirteenchairsThirteen Chairs
Dave Shelton
(David Fickling Books)

A darkened room – 12 empty chairs around a table, slowly filled one by one by a ghostly figure. Jack is offered a seat, the thirteenth chair. Then the stories begin: how they died, what they did wrong in life that resulted in their death. After each participant has finished their story, they blow their candle out, making the room increasingly darker, and creepier. But who will tell the final story?
Thirteen Chairs is an exploit of chilling storytelling, with the reader left on tenterhooks and gradually more breathless as each tale unfolds. Short stories are the perfect literary form for doing scary – short, snappy text makes the resolution all the more ominous, particularly when the worst is implied, rather than described.
Shelton demonstrates once more what a brilliant writer he is as well as artist,  by delivering a book which is well polished yet poles apart from  his award-winning A Boy and A Bear in a Boat


Finally, you can’t be a classic, and this year, the classic young fiction Eva Ibbotson “scary” tales have been republished with glorious new cover  artwork by Alex T Smith. A perfect opportunity to introduce them to young readers:



mountwoodHer son, Toby Ibbotson, has also written a story  based on his mother’s original idea, which is also a ghost story, Mountwood School for Ghosts. All are published by Macmillan Children’s Books.