HALLOWEEN PICTURE BOOKS: I Want to be in a Scary Story/The Scariest Book Ever


Monster may think he wants to be in a scary story, but then again . . . A hilarious return by the team that brought us Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise. 

Our author would like to write a funny story, but his main character Monster has a different idea. He wants to be the star of a chilling, petrifying, utterly terrifying SCARY story. But scary stories . . . well, they can be very scary especially for their characters! Particularly when they involve dark forests and creepy witches and spooky houses . . . Oh yikes and crikes, this is definitely not the scary story Monster had in mind! Maybe he wants to be in a funny story after all!"


In this delightful story, Little Monster wants to be in a story.  Preferably, a scary story and not a funny story.  But when he sees the scary setting with the dark, haunted house and creepy woods, he's not so sure.  As the story continues, Little Monster keeps having the narrator adjust the story because he's scared.  Finally, he decides that maybe a funny story would be best after all.  But his version of what's funny and the narrator's don't exactly match up, leading to a surprising conclusion. I enjoy stories like this one, where the main character and the narrator interact, but only when it's well done.  Enough of these stories have already been done that it needs a fresh approach to make the book stand out. Focusing this story on scary versus funny helps provide that freshness, as does a couple of the twists and turns the story takes.  This is a fun book that is bound to be both a little scary and a little funny, a perfect read-aloud for Halloween.


Reader beware! This is the scariest book ever! Or so claims its melodramatic ghost narrator. You can go ahead and turn the page, but don't expect him to come with you. Anything might pop out of that black hole in the middle of the forest. What do you mean it's just a bunny? Well, it's probably a bunny with big fangs. Watch out, it's--picking pumpkins with its friends, you say? Actually, despite the ghost's scare-mongering, none of the animal characters in the illustrations seem scary at all. . . . What's up with that? Many delights, such as surprises after the page turn, an alarmist narrator, and punch lines to anticipate make this book a scream for both kids and parents.


Bob Shea seems to have a gift for writing picture books that children can relate to easily.  In this one, the ghost is trying not to be scared of the dark woods, but doesn't quite manage it.  And of course, he can't go exploring after spilling orange juice on his nice white sheet, so he makes the reader do it.  As the story continues it becomes clear to the reader (but not the ghost) that the woods really aren't that scary and do in fact house ghost's friends.  There are clues scattered throughout the illustrations that indicate what is coming, but of course the ghost is clueless.  Eventually though the ghost starts to figure out that maybe he's overreacting and the forest isn't so scary.  But there is one final surprise in store. This cute book makes for a fun read aloud as the narrator (reader) has to reassure the ghost over and over again.  A scary book that isn't quite so scary as it pretends to be (which makes it appropriate for younger readers).


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