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Review of The Wrong Train

The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt; illus. by Dave Shelton Middle School    Fickling/Scholastic    209 pp.    g 7/17    978-1-338-12125-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-12126-1    $11.99 This unsettling collection of eight ghost stories, framed by a ninth, will surely delight fans of the eerie and the macabre. A British boy hurriedly boards a train one night, but […]

Review of Creepy Pair of Underwear!

Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds; illus. by Peter Brown Primary    Simon    48 pp. 8/17    978-1-4424-0298-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7670-6    $10.99 This companion book to the author-illustrator team’s Creepy Carrots humorously spookifies another not-usually-scary item. While underwear-shopping with his mom, young bunny Jasper Rabbit spies a pair of green glow-in-the-dark undies with a Frankenstein’s-monster […]

Halloween treats

The Halloween countdown is on. As certain people in my house wait not-so-patiently for the witching hour on October 31, we’ve been working our way through our pile of favorite spooky picture books and are looking forward to checking out some new ones from the library. Happily, the ghosts and ghouls at The Horn Book […]

From The (Ghoulish) Guide: Horn BOO! 2017

  In addition to Boo Who? and Creepy Pair of Underwear, reviewed in the September/October 2017 issue, here are nine new picture books our staff thinks are unboolievably right for Halloween reading. Clickard, Carrie  Magic for Sale 32 pp.     Holiday     2017     ISBN 978-0-8234-3559-3 e-book ISBN 978-0-8234-3910-2 K–3  Illustrated by John Shelley. In a story told […]

Review of The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead

The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead by Deborah Noyes Middle School    Viking    152 pp. 8/17    978-0-8037-4018-1    $18.99 In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Spiritualist movement swept the nation. Noyes (Ten Days a Madwoman, rev. 1/16) uses Harry Houdini’s attempts to discredit the […]

Review of Elizabeth and Zenobia

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller; illus. by Yelena Bryksenkova Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    202 pp.    g 9/17    978-1-4197-2724-4    $16.99 Elizabeth’s father is gloomy since her mother left; Witheringe House, his childhood home to which he returns with his daughter, is gloomier. Elizabeth’s main company is Zenobia, a vivacious, morbid, obsessed-with-clairvoyance friend who, although no […]

Books mentioned in the October 2017 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Deborah Noyes The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead by Deborah Noyes, Viking, 11–14 years. Supernaturally good scares Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds, Candlewick, 11–14 years. The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt, illus. by Dave Shelton, […]

Five questions for Deborah Noyes

In The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead (Viking, 11–14 years), Deborah Noyes homes in on the Spiritualist movement during the turn of the twentieth century (think séances, spirit photography, ectoplasm, etc.) — and on Harry Houdini’s efforts to debunk its claims. 1. What drew you […]

Family curses, grief, and fate

These recent books for middle graders dip into the supernatural (ancestral curses, spectral mothers, ghost frenemies, growing skeletons) to raise larger questions about family, friendship, memory, grief, and love. In Lauren DeStefano’s The Girl with the Ghost Machine, ten-year-old Emmaline Beaumont and her father Julien are devastated by Emmaline’s mother’s sudden death, and grief drives […]

Scared silly

The following picture books perfect for Halloween put their own silly spins on thrills, chills, and…creepy underwear? For more, see “From The (Ghoulish) Guide: Horn Boo!” In Boo Who? by Ben Clanton, a little ghost named Boo is new to the neighborhood. He isn’t very good at the games his new friends invite him to […]