Halloween Hustle by Charlotte Gunnufson




Halloween Hustle
Author: Charlotte Gunnufson
Illustrator: Kevan J. Atteberry
Published September 3rd, 2013 by Two Lions

Goodreads Summary: In the dark, a funky beat. / Something white with bony feet. / Skeleton dancing up the street, / Doing the Halloween Hustle. Skeleton is dancing his way to a Halloween party but as he grooves across town, he keeps stumbling, tumbling, and falling apart! Can Skeleton stay in one piece long enough to make it to the party?

Kellee’s Review: This is a perfect Halloween book for young readers who want to get into the spirit yet do not want to be scared. The colorful illustrations add an extra element of fun to the book which will suck the readers even more into the book. My favorite part, though, is the rhyming and rhythm. It adds something special to the book that makes it different than other Halloween books.

Ricki’s Review: This is the first book I read to my pregnant belly. My future son was kicking the entire time! It was such an entertaining story, and my husband even listened in. My favorite aspect of this book would easily be the great examples of figurative language. For example, this alliteration: “Gets up and grooves with ghoulish grace” (p. 7), or this consonance: “Bones scatter / What a clatter / Spine is like a broken ladder!” (p. 4). You may also notice the simile in that last passage! Like Kellee, the colorful illustrations also drew me in, and I also loved all of the famous scary characters in the book, like Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This book is made for reading aloud! It rhymes, has a great rhythm, and has repetitive text for students to read aloud with the teachers. It also has a great message to students and has opportunities for discussion about cause and effect, imagery, and rhyming. Teachers of any level would it beneficial to use this book to teach alliteration, assonance, consonance, similes, and other types of figurative language.

Discussion Questions: What characteristics does the Skeleton have that makes it so he is able to get to the party? What characteristics does the Skeleton have that would make him a new friend?; How does the author use rhymes to convey her message effectively?; Is this book a poem? Use textual evidence to defend your answer.

We Flagged:

“In the dark, a funky beat,
Something white with bony feet.
Skeleton dancing up the street,
Doing the Halloween Hustle.

Bony thumbs and fingers snap.
Bony heels and toes tip-tap.
Knees knock-knock and elbows flap,
Doing the Halloween Hustle.” (p. 2-3)

Skeleton and his Sidekick

Read This If You Loved: Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt, Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey, Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex, Monster Mash (Babymouse #9) by Jennifer L. Holm, Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt; Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Charlotte Gunnufson for providing us copies for review!**

Encyclopedia Horrifica by Joshua Gee



NF PB 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


Encyclopedia Horrifica: The Terrifying TRUTH! About Vampires, Ghosts, Monsters and More!
Author: Joshua Gee
Published August 1st, 2007 by Scholastic

Goodreads Summary: Bursting with eerie photos and Special Investigations, a nonfiction compendium of all things ghoulish and ghastly–from Aliens to Zombies!

Vampires, ghosts, monsters, and more–Encyclopedia Horrifica invites you to join our quest for the terrifying truth about all things ghoulish and ghastly. But beware! Surprises lurk at the turn of every page. . . .

Discover a time line of ALIEN LIFE on earth–beginning 4 billion years ago! Meet a man recruited by the U.S. government to become a PSYCHIC SUPERSPY. Spend a dark and stormy night with professional GHOSTBUSTERS. Visit a mysterious library in search of DRACULA’s shocking origins. Witness new photos of the actual sea monster that inspired the mythical KRAKEN. And much more!

My Review: This book is full of crazy information that students are going to love. Information about ghosts, aliens, zombies, pixies, mummies, and crazy other things. The book is a perfect mix of text and photos/illustrations that will keep middle grade readers turning the pages.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This book will find a happy home in the classroom and school libraries of middle schools around the world.

Discussion Questions: Do you believe in _____?; Pick one of the historical elements of the book and research it. What did you learn? What is your conclusion about the historical mystery?

We Flagged: Some of my favorite parts of the book are:

Ghost or Hoax? A section where the reader must decide if the photos being shared are a real ghost or just a hoax.

Q&A Sections There are sections throughout the book filled with questions and answers from paranormal people like a psychic spy and “Professor Paranormal” who knows all you want to know about the afterlife.

The Top Five Most Horrific Hoaxes Exactly what it sounds like and so interesting!

Read This If You Loved: Ghost stories, Nonfiction books about ghosts and monsters

Recommended For: 



Top Ten Tuesday: Scariest Book Covers


top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Top Ten Scariest Book Covers

Before we cracked the cover, we were scared.


1. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

This book cover draws so many students because it is so scary!


2. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

This cover is even scarier after you read the book!


3. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

There are monsters cooking in that glass!


4. Annabelle by Ruby Jean Jenson

I haven’t read this book, but the cover always frightened me.


5. It by Stephen King (Spanish Edition)

This is the scariest movie of my childhood, and the Spanish edition fits my memories of it.



Ricki shared some of my favorite scary covers already: Anna Dressed in Blood and The Monstrumologist are definitely on my list as well.

1. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

This cover is more creepy than scary, but it definitely deserves to be on the list.


2. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

These books terrified me when I read them in high school and this new cover really captures the fear.


3. Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

Another creepy more than scary, but it is majorly creepy and the ending makes it even worse!


4. Doll Bones by Holly Black

Creepy doll is creepy!


5. Carrie by Stephen King

I knew I had to find a King book with a scary cover because he is the ultimate horror author.


Can you think of any other really scary book covers?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/28/13



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday anubis 17332968 dollbones

squirrel chatswood1 chatswood2

**Click on any picture to view the post**


Congratulations to our two giveaway winners this week!

Double Vision Giveaway Book Set: Joy Olenick

Now Open the Box Children’s BookLinda Baie

Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: I’ve had a pretty great reading week! I read two novels, a nonfiction book, and a picture book… not bad 🙂 The two novels I read were quite different: My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson was a realistic fiction novel about two sisters trying to find themselves and Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick. The nonfiction book was called Encyclopedia Horrifica and I can see why so many of my students are drawn to it. Finally, for our Halloween review, I read Halloween Hustle by Charlotte Gunnufson.

Ricki: This week was a busy, busy week for me. I had to finish midterms and then I had my baby shower. 🙂 I read the manuscript of In This Moment by Wendy Glenn on www.swoonreads.com (a Macmillan website). It was fantastic. If you like meaningful, quality YA romances, this is a great book for you. My review will be up next week. I am just about done with Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson. It is such a fun story. I can’t wait for Kellee’s and my double review this week!

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: Gorgeous was the first book in my 4 books pile in preparation for the ALAN Workshop. Next is girlchild by Tupelo Hussman followed by Loud Awake and Lost by Adele Griffin then Season of the Witch by Mariah Fredericks. I hope to finish them all this week! *Fingers Crossed*

Ricki: As I get more and more exhausted, my reading seems to fall. I have wondered if I should start reading my YA books to my belly. I may start with Halloween Hustle, which will be our Halloween review book. I also want to start If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch. I have heard it is quite good. Has anyone read this one yet?

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday encyclopedia halloween


 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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The Chatswood Spooks #1 & #2 by Notti Thistledore



chatswood1 chatswood2

The Chatswood Spooks
Author: Notti Thistledore
Illustrator: Nela Krzewniak
A Frightful Recipe published January 15th, 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Sheets and Ladders published February 17th, 2013 by Crooked Chimney Books

Goodreads Summary (A Frightful Recipe): The Chatswood Spooks are in trouble. If they don’t improve their scare tactics they’ll have to find somewhere else to haunt. But the spooks have lived their entire afterlives at the Chatswood Manor, and are determined to show just how scary they can be.

Unfortunately, they haven’t counted on having to scare Ivan the Fearless…

The Chatswood Spooks: A Frightful Recipe is the first in the Chatswood Spooks series. Each story is illustrated with detailed line drawings and is bursting with silliness.

Goodreads Summary (Sheets and Ladders): With his sheets, chains and pet spider, Jingo likes to look the part of the classic ghost. So when someone puts their red knickers in with Jingo’s favourite white haunting sheets, Jingo is devastated.

Feeling hurt and unloved, he decides to run away to join the local Carnival. But what Jingo has in spooking skills he lacks in street smarts, and he soon finds himself in trouble…

My Review: A cute (non)scary ghost story early chapter book that features 3 very different ghost personalities. I loved the vocabulary throughout this book that was not overwhelming yet showed that the author was obviously not writing down to her readers. She also had allusions to fairy tales, word play, and onomatopoeias making the narrative more interesting. I also found the author’s humor really rang throughout.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I could definitely see these books being used as a read aloud in a classroom as well as a great mentor text to introduce narrative elements since it has a perfect plot arc, conflict, and interesting characters as well as an introduction into figurative and descriptive language and allusions.

Discussion Questions: Book 1: What do you think the ghosts are going to do to be scarier?; Book 2: Do you think Jingo did the right thing by running away?

We Flagged: “On Tuesday evening Toby, the caretaker of Chatswood Manor, called a meeting. All three Chatswood Manor ghosts were there, as well as two crows and a stone gargoyle.
“That gargoyle is worse than Hansel and Gretel,” muttered Winifred as she swept a trail of rocks from the carpet.
“Ahem!” Toby adjusted his half-moon spectacles and consulted a sheet of paper with a squiggly graph on it. Now, listen up, spooks. You’re here because my research shows that you’re all lazy to the bone!”” (Book #1, Location 5)

“Hauling his battered suitcase along behind him, Jingo wandered out onto Bridges Road. All the way he kept telling himself that the Chatswood ghosts were very disrespectful and didn’t deserve to work with him.” (Book #2, Location 34)

“The moon was starting to drag across the sky when the Ghost Bus appeared. Jingo stuck out his thumb to flad it down. The Ghost Bus was the sort of old-fashioned car that had to be started with a hand crank, and its headlights could only be turned on with a switch near the grille.”(Book #2, Location 40)

Read This If You Loved: Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watts, The Witches by Roald Dahl, Ivy Bean and the Ghost that had to Go by Annie Barrows

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Notti Thistledore for supplying copies of these books for review**

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watts




Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween
Author: Melanie Watts
Published August 1st, 2013 by Kids Can Press

Goodreads Summary: From costume ideas to trick-or-treating strategies, Scaredy Squirrel helps readers plan for the spookiest night of the year! Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween is the second in a series of nutty safety guides featuring everyone’s favorite worrywart.

My Review: Scaredy Squirrel is one of my favorite rodent characters ever and he shines again in this “Safety Guide for Scaredies.” Scaredy Squirrel thinks of everything and gives advice for everything in preparation for the scariest holiday of the year. As always, he fills his advice with lots of cautions, but also with lots of practical advice– costumes, games, decorations, etc.

One of my favorite things about the Scaredy Squirrel books is that his voice is so consistent and always rings true throughout the book and never falters. He cracks me up! If you’ve read any Scaredy Squirrel books, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This book would be perfect for reading aloud before Halloween. Kids will love it and many discussions about choices for the holiday can happen with this book as a jumping off point.

With all of Scaredy Squirrel books, there is always the opportunity for cause and effect discussions.

Discussion Questions: Which of the “Scaredy Tips” did you find the most helpful?; What do you think Scaredy Squirrel is scared of when it comes to Halloween?; Which of the costumes S.O.S. shared do you like the best?; What do you prefer: makeup or masks?; What is your plan for trick-or-treating?

We Flagged: “About this safety guide: Salutations, ghostly readers. Halloween is creeping up quickly, and it’s time to gather the courage and face the ghoulish festivities! Which is why I, Scaredy Squirrel, have created this essential Safety Guide. Divided into 8 spellbinding chapters, this books is designed to help you prepare for and survive Halloween, all in one piece! Now let’s begin! S.O.S. (Disclaimer: This safety guide includes fictional monsters and similarities to real monsters are pure coincidence.)” (p. 14)

Read This If You Loved: Any other Scaredy Squirrel book, Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein, Sticky Burr by John Lechner

Recommended For: 

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Doll Bones by Holly Black




Doll Bones
Author: Holly Black
Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
Published May 7th, 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Goodreads Summary: Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity…

My Review: Wow. I am very reluctant to read “scary” books because I too often find that they rely too much on the scary and not enough on the writing. However, with Doll Bones, Holly Black was able to write a well-written middle grade novel with a good plot arc and characterization mixed with a lot of creepy. Within her “scary” book, Holly Black is able to capture a very awkward time in one’s life– middle school! –in a very realistic way. Her characters are believable, completely filled with the internal debate of growing up or staying a child a bit longer. Then, on top of her great middle grade story, she has included a completely creepy aspect of the story that I even had to put down a couple of times because I knew I was reading some creepy stuff too close to bedtime.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This one will be a phenomenal read aloud and will find a ton of readers when put into classroom libraries. I also know that some of my teacher friends are planning to use it in a book club setting as well.

Discussion Questions: Have you ever been in a situation like Zach where you feel like you are supposed to grow up, but you’d rather play like you used to?; Do you think Poppy was telling the truth the whole time?; What do you think happened to The Queen?

We Flagged: “It wasn’t like a regular dream,” Poppy said, her fingers smoothing back the Queen’s curls and her voice changing, going soft and chill as the night air. It reminded Zach of the way Poppy talked when she played villains or even the Queen herself. “It wasn’t like dreaming at all. She was sitting on the end of my bed. Her hair was blond, like the doll’s, but it was tangled and dirty. She was wearing a nightdress smeared with mud. She told me I had to bury her. She said she couldn’t rest until her bones were in her own grave, and if I didn’t help her, she would make me sorry.” (p. 62-63)

Read This If You Loved: Mary Downing Hahn books, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy!**