Missed our CEO Elaina Ryan on Ireland AM this morning? Never fear! Here are the spooktacular books she recommends for Halloween:
Have You Seen the Dublin Vampire? by Úna Woods (age 0–4)
A friendly looking vampire takes a night-time stroll through the fair city’s iconic spots, hopping on the ghost bus, battling the rain and partaking in Bewley’s finest buns. The characters populating the pages are as diverse as they are stylish, with bright patterned outfits that mark them off the dark backgrounds. The night setting is refreshing and absolutely not scary, and young readers will love being involved in the text by the search-and-find element and feeling that bit special (‘Only you see the Dublin Vampire’).
Gustavo, the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago (3+)
Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters. Whenever he tries getting close to them, he realizes they just can’t see him. Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves? With fancifully detailed artwork and visual humor, debut picture-book creator Flavia Z. Drago’s vivid illustrations tell a sweet and gently offbeat story of loneliness, bravery, and friendship that is sure to be a treat for little ghouls and goblins everywhere.
Mirabelle Gets Up to Mischief by Harriet Muncaster (age 5–8)
Illustrated in two colours – black and purple – this new series of chapter books introduces Isadora Moon’s cousin. Isadora is half vampire, half fairy, and now we get to know Mirabelle, half witch, half fairy and totally naughty! Lots of Halloweeny spells, potions, dragons and broomsticks in this one, but what I really like about both Mirabelle and Isadora is that they come from ‘mixed’ families and aren’t sure exactly where they fit in. Fun and compelling to read for younger children or newly independent readers.
The Haunted Lake by P. J. Lynch (age 6–10)
The flooding of a village sets the scene for this timeless ghost story. The Haunted Lake tells the story of Young Jacob and his beloved Ellen. One night out fishing, Jacob’s curiosity gets the better of him; he follows the sound of a bell and the glow of a light down to a drowned village. There he is captive for fifteen years. True love prevails, however, and all is well by the close of the tale. Strikingly beautiful illustrations convey love, menace, endurance and tenderness with unmatched skill.
Zombierella by Joseph Coelho and Freya Hartas (age 8+)
The first in a funny, deliciously dark, three-part series of twisted classics, written in verse by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Freya Hartas. A yellow moon hangs in a satin sky the night Cinderella, barefoot and in hand-me-downs, slips at the top of the stairs … and dies. But not for long. The Shadow of Death arrives to breathe life back into her bones and, for three nights only, Cinderella goes forth as ZOMBIERELLA. With her skin as cold as ice and her faithful horse Lumpkin back by her side, can she seek revenge on her three cruel, fake sisters, once and for all? Crawl out of the grave and step into your mushroom carriage for this haunting and humorous adventure of the undead girl searching for her happily ever after.
The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny (age 9+)
The latest book from the author of Tin and Pog. Mirabelle has spent her entire life in Rookhaven with her supernatural family. Their home is surrounded by a magic that hides and protects them from the outside world. One night, Jem arrives, accidentally. When the girls’ worlds collide that fateful night, an immediate friendship is formed. This gothic tale is filled with family secrets, mysterious visitors and excellent twists. While it is a fantastical story, the message is clear and pertinent: family, friend or neighbour, we must embrace one another’s differences, instead of fearing them.