Children’s Halloween Picture Books Round-Up {Updated 2017}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing through them helps support this blog.)

Halloween will be here soon!  To help get you in the holiday mood, we have rounded up a collection of Halloween picture books to share with you.   This collection includes recent releases as well as some oldies but goodies that we’ve read.  Stop by your local library or bookstore and pick some of these fun Halloween books!

The 13 Nights of Halloween
Written and illustrated by Rebecca Dickinson

from amazon.com:
A rhyming Halloween story follows a shy goblin boy who gives his sweetheart a special present on each of the thirteen days of Halloween, and eagle-eyed readers must find the presents hidden in the illustrations. 

A witch brews up a special potion to help a shy goblin propose to his sweetheart on Halloween night. She gives him thirteen nights of Halloween.  This book tells the story of the gifts he gives to his sweetheart each night.  It is most enjoyable when sung to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”  We read this book several years ago, when my daughter and I took turns singing the lines aloud to our son.  I have to say, it got old for me around the fifth night but I was a trooper and finished the book with her.  The illustrations are really great and detailed.  Readers are challenged to find the presents that the goblin is giving and a tiny wizard mouse on each page.  As much as I wasn’t into this that much the kids really enjoyed this book.

*This book was borrowed from the library.  


Written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli

from goodreads.com:
The inimitable Baby brings a humorous spin to the holidays in a cheerful board book fit for trick-or-treat bags.
It’s almost Halloween! How should Daddy carve the pumpkin? So many expressions to choose from! What should Baby be—a princess or pirate, ballerina or clown? When the jack-o’-lantern’s ready (looking suspiciously like Baby), it’s time for a little ghost to head out in the slightly scary night. But fear turns to excitement as the pumpkin fills up with treats. WOW!

Fans of Patricelli’s books will enjoy this Halloween board book.  Readers follow along as Baby gets ready for Halloween and picks out a pumpkin, chooses a Halloween costume and goes trick-or-treating.  The simple but colorful illustrations will appeal to the youngest readers.

*This book was read at a local bookstore.


Boo Who?
Written and illustrated by Ben Clanton

from goodreads.com:
A shy little ghost who’s new to the group has trouble fitting in until his special talent comes to the fore. Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can t play any of their games. (“You tagged me? Oh, sorry. I couldn’t feel it.”) Can Boo find a way to fit in and make friends with the rest of the group? From the creator of Rex Wrecks It! comes a funny story about feeling invisible and finding a way to be seen and appreciated for who you are.” 

This isn’t a Halloween book, but has a ghost as the main character, so it’s a seasonally appropriate read.  It’s a cute and simple story about making new friends and fitting in with others.

*this book was borrowed from the library.


CinderHazel:  The Cinderella of Halloween
Written and illustrated by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

from goodreads.com:
Filled with wonderful details and funny mishaps, this spin on the classic Cinderella fairy tale is the perfect Halloween treat.  Cinderhazel is a blond witch who loves dirt more than anything. When her stepsisters and stepmother fly oiff to attend the annual Halloween witches’ ball, where the elusive Prince Alarming will make an appearance, they leave Cinderhazel behind. All her attempted spells turn to dust — until her witchy fairy godmother appears and sends Cinderhazel off to meet the equally messy prince. Could this be the beginning of filthily ever after?

This book is a Halloween take on the traditional Cinderella story.  In this book, Cinderhazel’s stepsisters are going to the Witches’ Halloween Ball in hopes of seeing Prince Alarming.  But with the help of her witchy godmother she makes it to the ball.  The story takes a detour from the traditional tale because when the clock strikes midnight Cinderhazel meets the Prince, and of course there’s a fairy tale ending.  I didn’t like that the title of the book is CinderHazel but the character’s name in the story is spelled Cinderhazel, with a lower case h.  This definitely wasn’t one of my favorite versions of the tale of Cinderella but the kids seemed to like it and it was fitting for Halloween.

* This book was borrowed from the library.


City Witch, Country Switch
Written by Wendy Wax
Illustrated by Scott Gibala-Broxholm

from goodreads.com:

Mitzi is a city witch.  She likes pizza and plays, crowded subways and noisy streets. Muffletump is a country witch. She prefers hayrides and fresh air, pumpkin picking and her pet snake. When the cousins visit each other, their differences come between them. How can they solve their problem? With a spell, of course But finding the right one isn’t so easy. The rhyming text makes this a wonderful read-aloud, while the vibrant watercolor and colored-pencil artwork contains fantastically funny details for kids to pore over.

This book isn’t technically a “Halloween” themed book but because of the witches I thought it was seasonally appropriate.  Prior to reading this book I was more familiar with author Wendy Wax’s novels for adults.  This book, told in rhyme, is a take on the classic tale The City Mouse and the Country Mouse.   Witch cousins Mitzi and Muffletump visit each other’s homes and discover that they each prefer their own homes better.  This is of course after they perform spells to create a more enjoyable visit. The illustrations are eye-catching and colorful helping to make this a fun read.

* This book was borrowed from the library.


Creepy Pair of Underwear!
Written by Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by Peter Brown

from goodreads.com:
Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. A ghoulish, greenish glow. If Jasper didn’t know any better he’d say his undies were a little, well, creepy. Jasper’s not scared obviously, he’s just done with creepy underwear. But after trying everything to get rid of them, they keep coming back!

This isn’t a Halloween-themed book but it’s a “spooky” tale that will entertain readers. What child does not find humor in underwear?  Fans of Aaron Reynolds books will need to check out this latest of his.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
Written and illustrated by:  Adam Rex

from goodreads.com:
Being a monster isn’t all frightening villagers and sucking blood. Monsters have their trials, too. Poor Frankenstein’s cupboard is bare, Wolfman is in need of some household help, and it’s best not to get started on Dracula’s hygiene issues. What could be scarier?  Nineteen hilarious poems delve into the secret lives of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bigfoot, Godzilla, and others. In a range of styles that pay homage to everyone from Charles Schulz to John James Audubon, the monstrously talented Adam Rex uncovers horrific–and clever–truths you won’t want to miss.

This is not your typical Halloween book about trick or treating.  It does however feature all kinds of monsters, zombies, and mummies in poems.  Yes, this book is a book of poems about monsters and some of the poems also feature food.  The kids especially liked the Phantom of the Opera who keeps appearing and can’t get songs out of his head, which of course requires the reader to sing the words to that particular tune.  A lot of the humor is for older kids and adults but I think younger kids will still enjoy listening to the poems and looking at the detailed and funny pictures.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Fright Club
Written and illustrated by Ethan Long

from goodreads.com:
Each year, on Halloween eve, Fright Club meets to go over their plan: Operation Kiddie Scare. Only the scariest of monsters can join Fright Club-Vladimir the Vampire, Fran K. Stein, Sandy Witch, and Virginia Wolf have all made the cut. They’ve been practicing their ghoulish faces, their scary moves, and their chilling sounds. But when a band of cute little critters comes along asking to join in the fun, the members of Fright Club will find out who really is the scariest of all!  This clever, rollicking read aloud text and delightfully spooky illustrations will have young readers laughing, cheering, and begging to be the newest members of Fright Club.

This  Halloween picture was an okay, cute read.  The kids enjoyed me attempting to speak in a vampire voice.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Goodnight Goon
Written and illustrated by Michael Rex

from goodreads.com:
Goodnight monsters everywhere, in this parody romp with its own special twist!  Goodnight tomb. Goodnight goon. Goodnight Martians taking over the moon.   It’s bedtime in the cold gray tomb with a black lagoon, and two slimy claws, and a couple of jaws, and a skull and a shoe and a pot full of goo. But as a little werewolf settles down, in comes the Goon determined at all costs to run amok and not let any monster have his rest.  A beloved classic gets a kind-hearted send up in this utterly monsterized parody; energetic art and a hilarious text will have kids begging to read this again and again.

This book is also not a “Halloween” themed book, but since the main character is a goon, I thought it seasonally appropriate.  This picture book is a spooky  parody of the classic story Good Night Moon that the kids enjoyed.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


The Halloween Queen Who Lost Her Scream
Written by Donna Davies
Illustrated by Rob Peters

from goodreads.com:
Halloween author, Donna Davies has created an exciting Halloween mystery that will have your kids sitting on the edge of theirs seats. An action-packed tale of a Halloween Queen named Calliope who lost her scream right before Halloween. Meet an amazing cast of Halloween monsters from witches to zombies as they go on an adventure to help their Queen and save Halloween. Filled will stunning colorful Halloween illustrations by the very talented Rob Peters. This delightfully fun book is sure to become a family tradition.

Calliope, the Halloween Queen kicks off the Halloween Bash every year with a scream.  But this year, someone has stolen her scream. Told in rhyme, the reader follows the black widow Mina as she searches for clues to who stole the Queen’s scream.  We are taken on an adventure as she helps to gather the special ingredients needed for Witchy Wanda’s special potion to help the Queen get her scream back.  After reading this book I discovered that the author is a local Hudson Valley resident and owns/runs the publishing company.  Overall, this was a cute Halloween read.

* This book was borrowed from the library.


The Hallo-Wiener
Written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey

from goodreads.com:
Oscar is short, like all dachshunds and other dogs make fun of him. On Halloween he takes more ridicule than ever in his hot-dog costume, but one brave act makes him a hero. Color illustrations throughout. A “School Library Journal” Best of the Best of 1995.

Dav Pilkey is the author/illustrator of the famous Captain Underpants series, which my son loves.  In this story, Oscar, a dachshund is picked on by the other dogs.  For Halloween his mother gets him a hot-dog costume.  He doesn’t want to make her feel bad so he wears it, even though he gets made fun of.  He can’t walk fast in it and misses all of the treats.  The other dogs who have gotten all of the candy and who usually make fun of him have a change of heart after Oscar helps them out.  There is some hot dog humor in this book, that probably only older children and adults will get.  This was a cute story that the kids enjoyed.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

The Haunted Ghoul Bus

The Haunted Ghoul Bus
Written by Lisa Trumbauer
Illustrated by Jannie Ho

from goodreads.com:
Of course children know about the big yellow school bus…but have they ever heard about the haunted ghoul bus? It’s wilder and way cooler, with a Mutant Mummy driver and a menagerie of monster passengers. But one Halloween day someone else gets on board by mistake: a normal little boy. Soon he’s taking a ride with a furry werewolf, a skeleton whose rickety bones go clitter-clatter, a grinning pumpkin head, a swirl of bats, and a friendly witch named Dolores. Told in fun and appealing rhyme, and featuring holiday-bright illustrations of a cast of unforgettable characters, this playful picture book has sturdy cardstock pages and embossing throughout. It’s perfect for celebrating a (not too) scary Halloween. Kids will want the ghoul bus to come to their neighborhood, too!

This Halloween book, told in rhyme, tells the story of a little boy who mistakenly gets on the ghoul bus.  He meets lots of different creatures on his ride.  The pictures are bright and colorful but overall, the story was just okay.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


I Dare You!
Written and illustrated by Nicole Maubert

from goodreads.com:
This very scary, very silly book will have young children roaring with laughter as they dare each other to touch the hair of a spider, the belly of a monster, the sticky tongue of a snake, and many more icky parts of creepy creatures! But who will be brave enough to turn to the last page to see the spookiest monster of all? The truly courageous will be rewarded with a shockingly hilarious—yet eerily familiar—surprise!

This is a fun touch and feel board book for the youngest readers.  They can touch a spider, a witch’s wart, the teeth of a shark and more.  This is another seasonally appropriate but not Halloween-themed book.

*This book was read at the local bookstore. 


It’s Halloween
Written by Jack Prelutsky
Pictures by Marylin Hafner

from goodreads.com:
Thirteen poems to spice up the holiday that ghouls and ghosts love most. “Prelutsky’s Nightmares tamed for beginning readers. They’re catchy at the most rudimentary level.”–Kirkus Reviews.

Wow!  This book was first published before I was born!  Definitely an oldie….but goodie!  This book caught my eye because Prelutsky is a well-known children’s poet.  We are a fan of his Scranimals and my daughter has read his  poetry collections A Pizza the Size of the Sun and The New Kid on the Block.  This book was a cute collection of Halloween-themed poetry.  He writes about everything from “Bobbing for Apples” to a “Haunted House” and a “Skeleton Parade.”  The illustrations have a classic, older look to them.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Little Blue Truck’s Halloween
Written by Alice Schertle
Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

from goodreads.com: 
Beep! Beep! It’s Halloween! Little Blue Truck is picking up his animal friends for a costume party. Lift the flaps in this large, sturdy board book to find out who’s dressed up in each costume! Will Blue wear a costume too? With the delightful rhymes and signature illustration style that made Little Blue Truck a household name, Blue’s new adventure is full of festive costumes, fall colors, and plenty of Halloween fun!

Many young readers are familiar with Little Blue Truck.  In this book readers follow along as he drives to a Halloween party.  On the way he stops to pick up his animal friends, all disguised in their Halloween costumes.  This is a fun lift-the-flap book told in rhyme.

*This book was read at a local bookstore. 

Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete
Written and Illustrated by Kimberly & James Dean

from goodreads.com:
Pete loves Halloween and candy but not so much scary surprises. Follow Pete as he goes trick-or-treating from house to house and discover what is waiting behind each door. With over ten flaps that open to reveal fun spooky surprises, this book is sure to be spooktacular! 

Fans of Pete the Cat will enjoy this Halloween-themed book.  Pete enjoys trick-or-treating but doesn’t want anything spooky to happen.  As children lift the flaps of this book they will meet Pete’s friends and follow them on their trick-or-treating adventure.

*This book was borrowed from the library. 


Scary, Scary Halloween
Written by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Jan Brett

from goodreads.com:
Four pairs of eyes stare from the blackness to watch fearsome creatures trick-or-treat.

This is another oldie but goodie Halloween book.  Award-winning author Eve Bunting has written over 250 books and illustrator Jan Brett (a family favorite)  is also an award-winning author and illustrator of many books.  Written in rhyme, this book is told from the perspective of something with two green eyes, shining in the night.  It watches as children go trick-or-treating dressed up as goblins, witches, and ghosts.  Only at the end of the book is the identity of the narrator revealed.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Tell Me a Scary Story…But Not Too Scary
Written by Carle Reiner
Illustrated by James Bennett

from goodreads.com:
A little boy has an adventure in the scary basement of his mysterious new neighbor, Mr. Neewollah. 

A father tells his son a scary story about a little boy who meets his neighbor Mr. Neewollah and has an adventure.  Our book came with a CD in which Reiner reads the story.  While I was unfamiliar with comedian Carl Reiner, my husband is a fan.  This was another okay Halloween story.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


There’s a Monster In Your Book
Written by Tom Fletcher
Illustrated by Greg Abbott

from goodreads.com:
Bestselling author of The Christmasuarus, Tom Fletcher, has written a brand new picture book perfect for bedtime, where a mischievous monster has invaded the pages of your child’s book!  This read-aloud, interactive picture book treat invites children to make magic happen page by page, tilting, spinning and shaking the book, and then seeing the funny results when each page is turned. A fantastic celebration of all the fun that can be had with a book, with a wonderful wind-down bedtime ending!

Again, this is not a Halloween book, but with a monster as the main character, I thought it fitting for the holiday. This is a fun, interactive book that has children doing all sorts of things to try to set it free.

*This book was read at a local bookstore.  


Trick Arr Treat: A Pirate Halloween
Written by Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by Jorge Monlongo

from goodreads.com:
Charlotte Blue-Tongue, Peg-Leg Pete, Glass-Eyed Gabby, and their friends swashbuckle through the streets demanding loot and treasure from their neighbors in this Halloween pirate tale. As their world transforms from neighborhood to pirate’s lagoon, they shout, “We be pirates. TRICK ARRR TREAT!” But what’s lurking in the shadows? Are the pirates brave enough to defend their treasure?

This Halloween picture book was published in 2015. The story, told in rhyme, is about a group of children dressed as pirates trick-or-treating on Halloween. Overall, it was just an okay read for us.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

Do you have a favorite Halloween book that you recommend we read?

The Kid Reads: July 2016

The Kid Reads July 2016

Welcome to The Kid Reads July 2016 edition.  The summer has provided lots of reading time for my 8 year-old son, a.k.a. “The Kid.”  We’ve been making weekly visits to the library where he has been choosing lots of books to read.  I’ve also been trying to get him to read some of the books off of our own bookshelves so I can donate them once he’s finished.  Here’s a look at what he’s been reading this month:


Cheesie Mack is Cool in a Duel by Steve Cotler – This is the second book in the Cheesie Mack series.  You can read our review of the first book in the Kid’s June book post.  Cheesie will be starting sixth grade in the fall.  He loves making lists.  In this book Cheesie and his best friend Georgie are headed off to sleep away camp in Maine.  In error, Cheesie and Georgie are placed in a cabin with the older boys, including Kevin, the boyfriend of Cheesie’s sister, June (“Goon”).  Tired of Kevin’s bullying, Cheesie challenges him to a Cool Duel.  This book is recommended for readers ages 8-12.  There are 15 chapters with very few illustrations.  There are several points in this book where Cotler breaks down the so-called fourth wall and has Cheesie directing questions to the readers.

The Kid’s Review: I liked this book because it’s funny.   I like the spitball game that Cheesie and his friend’s play on the bus.  Cheese is a good character because he tries to stop bullying at camp.  My favorite part was the talent show because Cheesie makes a really creative project.  I would recommend this book to someone who can read long chapter books.  It’s 229 pages!

*We borrowed this book from the library.

Field Trip to Flying Feathers Farm by Michelle Poploff –  Mrs. Bono’s class has been invited to Flying Feathers Farm.  They take a field trip to the farm where they learn about the different farm animals.  Wanda spends the time there searching for a special animal ,but will she find it?  This book is six short chapters with lots of illustrations.

The Kid’s Review:  I thought this was a fun book.  It had lots of jokes and the characters are monsters.

*We own this book.


Missing Monkey! (Good Crooks Book One) by Mary Amato – This is a mystery series geared towards readers in 2nd – 4th grade.  Twins Billy and Jillian are the children of criminals.  Their parents want them to follow in their footsteps and in this book, their parents end up stealing a monkey from the zoo.  Billy and Jillian feel bad about the theft and try to find a way to return it, but a series of unfortunate events occurs.  This book has 14 chapters with some Secret Extras at the end.  There are small illustrations every few pages.

The Kid’s Review: I liked this book because Billy and Jillian don’t want to be bad like their parents.  They do good deeds.

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Now Look What You’ve Done (Timmy Failure #2) by Stephen Pastis – The Kid read the first book in the series, Mistakes were Made last month.  In this sequel, Timmy Failure continues his work solving cases at his detective agency, this time with the help of Aunt Colander.  He wants to enter a detective contest at school to win $500.  However, a series of unfortunate (but according to the Kid, humorous) events prevents him from entering.  This book is recommended for readers ages 8-12.

The Kid’s Review:  I  liked this book because it is super funny.  Timmy is a good detective who solves his cases.  In this book Total, Timmy’s polar bear, does things that Timmy does not like.  This is why Timmy makes the Lazy Bear 2000.  If you like funny books, then you should read this one!

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Poison Island (Zac Power #1) by H.I. Larry – After I mistakenly borrowed book #3 in the series, Mind Games, my son requested the first book to read.  This series is about Zac and his family, who are ass spies and work for the Government Investigation Bureau (GIB). In this book, Zac Power is sent to Poison Island to track down an enemy scientist.  When his brother is kidnapped, Zac must save him and find Solution X to solve the mission.  This series is recommended for readers ages  8-11.  There are some illustrations throughout the book.

The Kid’s Review:  I liked this book because there are lots of cool spy things like Tramp-o-Socks and Eruption Powder.  I liked that Dr. Drastic made a potion that can turn your tongue into a party whistle.  I like Zac Power because he is very smart like me.  I recommend this book to readers who like detective stories.

*We borrowed this book from the library.


The Science Fair from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler – This is the fourth book in the Black Lagoon Adventure series.  In this book Mrs. Green announces that there is going to be a science fair and everyone has to participate.  Hubie doesn’t know what he is going to do and has nightmares that no one likes his project.  On the day of the science fair, his project ends up being a hit.  This series is recommended for readers ages 7-10.  This book series has short chapters and lots of illustrations.  I read this book and honestly was not impressed.  There are a lot of bad puns and really bad examples of science fair projects.  However, young children may find this book humorous like my son did (see below) and enjoy all the illustrations.

The Kid’s review:  I liked this book because it’s funny.  I liked reading about everyone’s science fair projects.

*We own this book.


Stop That Hamster (Ready Freddy! #12) by Abby Klein – This is book number 12 in the Ready Freddy! series.  In this book, Freddy is chosen to take care of Harold, the class hamster.  There is one problem though, Freddy’s mom won’t let him keep it in the house.  Freddy’s friend Robby comes over to help take care of Harold, who ends up escaping from his cage.  Ready Freddy! is a popular series, which is recommended for readers ages 4-8.  My son has read several of the books in the series and has enjoyed them.

The Kid’s Review: I liked this book because I think hamsters are cute and there is a hamster in this book.  Freddy makes Harold a cool Lego rocket ship.

*We own this book.


We Meet Again (Timmy Failure #3) by Stephan Pastis – My son has been devouring the Timmy Failure series, with this being the second book in the series that he’s read this month!  This is the third book in the series, in which Timmy has to complete a nature report.  Unfortunately, he is partnered with Corrina Corrina, his biggest enemy.  In this book he is hired to help find the Miracle Report and also deals with his mother dating his baseball coach.  This continues to be an enjoyable series for my son.

The Kid’s Review: I liked this book because it’s about friendship.  Timmy doesn’t like Corrina Corrina in the beginning but they become friends at the end.  Timmy is a good character because he’s funny.

*We borrowed this book from the library.



July 2016 Tween Books

Tween July Reads

My daughter has been loving all the reading time that summer has allotted her and she has been taking full advantage of it!  Her love of reading makes this mom proud!  Below are short reviews of my ten year old’s July reads, written by her. Hopefully, they will help provide reading recommendations and inspiration to other tween children!


Agnes Parker…..Happy Camper? by Kathleen O’Dell – This book is about a girl named Agnes Parker whose best friend Prejean Duval is going to camp with her. The problem is, Prejean is not in the same cabin as Agnes! Agnes is stuck with the snobby Nyssa Vanderhoven, who likes Agnes and Prejean as much as they like her [which isn’t much!], as a bunkmate. Prejean is lucky because she gets friendly, fun girls in her cabin who all like each other. Read this book to find out if Agnes is stuck in a cabin where she knows no one and has a horrible time, or if she has the time of her life pranking and making friends.  I gave this book 3 ½ stars because it shows true friendship.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Cassidy’s Guide to Everyday Etiquette (and Obfuscation) by Sue Stauffacher – CGTEEAO [short for the title!] is about a girl named Cassidy whose Grandmother forces Cassidy to go to etiquette school in her will. So Cassidy has to be away from all her friends, family, and fun for 5. WHOLE. WEEKS. I mean, she goes home every day after classes which are on Wednesdays and Fridays every week for 5 weeks. On top of all that, Cassidy’s best friend Jack has a crush on their new neighbors, the Bensons. If you read this book I promise that you’ll never look at etiquette, mischief, and friendship the same again. I gave this book 3 ½ stars because this was a very long book. I recommend this book for tweens and older.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Dive In! (Pool Girls #1) by Cassie Waters –  Dive In! is about a girl named Grace Davis who is ready for summer and RSC swim club. She has to earn ALL of the money for the swim club herself, but Grace thinks it’s worth it. When her best friend Christina ditches her for a few popular girls in her grade that like Grace as much as she likes them, [not very much!] Grace reaches out to her new BFF Jacie for encouragement. Grace finally crushes on one of the most popular boy on the swim team and in her school! I gave this book 3 ½ stars out of 5 stars because this was an interesting book and makes me want to dive in that pool!

*This book was borrowed from the library.


The Melting of Maggie Bean by Tricia Rayburn – The Melting Of Maggie Bean is about a 12-year-old girl named Maggie who is overweight with big bones.  She doesn’t like the diet that her doctor puts her on but she wants to be skinnier.  She is a chocolate addict and has a hidden stash in her room.  Her best friend Aimee encourages Maggie to try out with her for Water Wings, the school synchronized swim team.  To prepare, Maggie gives up her chocolate and turns a new leaf.  She ends up impressing everyone at tryouts, despite her size and gains more confidence.   I gave this book 4 ½ stars because it shows new beginnings.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Mission Hurricane (The 39 Clues:  Doublecross #3) by Jenny Goebel – Mission Hurricane has the same characters as the The 39 Clues series except Grace’s husband Nathaniel Hartford is now an Outcast. Doublecross is a new series in which the Cahill KIDS have to save the world before people die. In this book, the Outcast is about to drop a nuclear bomb on the people of Amsterdam, Holland on King’s Day. Will the Cahill kids be able to save the day, or is everyone in Holland in mortal peril? I gave this book 4 ½ stars because of the serious adventure involved.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper – Out Of My Mind is about a girl named Melody who can’t talk, walk, or move. She is miserable that she can’t communicate and tell everyone that she is NOT a baby anymore and that she is VERY smart, but how can she? She can’t talk! That is until her parents get her the Medi-Talker that has big buttons the perfect size for Melody thumbs. She can enter thousands of words and the Medi-talker will speak the words she wants aloud. The awesome part is Meoldy can print things out of her Medi-talker too! Everything goes fine for Melody until her little sister Penny comes along. Now, her parents need lots more help with Penny, a baby, and Melody, a stubborn, disabled 11 year old. On top of all that, Melody misses the plane for her flight to D.C. for the Whiz Kids team and gets sad. I give this book 4 ½ stars because I think it is absolutely amazing. I recommend this book because it shows an example that we should treat disabled kids better.  They are JUST like us in most ways, except better.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Pippa Morgan’s Diary by Annie Kelsey – This book is about a girl named Pippa who tries becoming friends with Catie Brown by telling her that she auditioned for the show the Voice. But that’s so not true. Pippa lied because she wanted to have a new friend that would actually want to be her friend. Unfortunately, Catie is popular so word gets around fast that Pippa “auditioned” for The Voice and everyone wants her to sing.  That would be great but Pippa CAN’T SING. She is so terrible at it that once while she was singing, the neighbor almost called the police because he thought that Pippa was being mauled by cats. Then, Catie signs up Pippa for the talent show, but, remember, Pippa can’t sing. Read the story to see how things go from bad to worse, and then to good. I give this book 3 ½ stars.  I recommend this book to kids my age.


The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O’Roark Dowell – The Second Life Of Abigail Walker is about a girl named Abigail Walker who is considered “fat” in her school by some very nasty girls. Abigail follows a dog that looked like it wanted her to follow her and meets a boy, Anders, around her age on the other side of the creek. When she goes over to Ander’s side, she learns that his family runs and owns a horse training business. His father is a war veteran and survived a bomb attack.   He is obsessed with a Lewis and Clark Expedition project, which Abigail and Anders help him with. There is also a magical fox in the book that leaps into stories and helps Abigail.   I gave this book 4 ½ stars because of the fact that this book was very entertaining while I saw Abigail turn into a new Abigail Walker.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Turning Up the Heat (Dish #2) by Diane Muldrow – Turning Up The Heat is about 4 girls named Peichi, Shawn, Amanda, and Molly. They are in a cooking class with Natasha, a girl who everyone thought was annoying and mean. That was until, she volunteered to help with Amanda and Molly’s Mom’s surprise party. Natasha was a great helper so they invite her to be their friend and to be a part of their new cooking club. I gave this book 3 ½ stars because it was a great book with tons of adventures for cooks and kids. I highly recommend this book for rising or current 5th graders. In fact, this book is on my 5th grade Recommended Reading list.  It is actually the second book in the series so I will have to go back and read the first one.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

Children’s Camping-Themed Books

Camping CollageGrowing up my family did a lot of camping.  We went from tent camping to a pop-up to eventually an RV.  It was a cheap way for us to travel and vacation.  Prior to having kids the Weekend Chef and I did some tent camping.  We’ve taken the kids camping a couple of times when they were much younger, but haven’t had a chance to go more recently.  This summer we are planning a weekend camping trip.  In preparation, our bedtime reading books have been focused on camping! Here we share a round-up of some camping themed books for children.

*Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through a link I may receive compensation which is used to support this blog.

Picture Books:


A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

In this picture book, that is told in rhyme, Mr. Magee and his dog Dee take a camping trip.  They tow a camper up to the mountains and find a perfect place to set up camp.  Unfortunately, after roasting some marshmallows, they leave the bag of leftovers out, which attracts the attention of a bear.  In trying to get to the marshmallows the bear accidentally unhitched the camper and sends it rolling down the hill into a stream.  Before falling over a waterfall Mr. Magee and Dee are unintentionally saved by the bear.  The two decide to head home and enjoy camping in the backyard instead.  This was an adventurous camping story in which things end up getting a little chaotic, but ends well.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Just Me And My Dad by Mercer Mayer
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

In this picture book Little Critter and his dad go camping, just the two of them.  While he has the best intentions, Little Critter ends up finding himself in disastrous situations – from pitching the tent, trying to take a canoe ride and catching fish for dinner.   Luckily, dad is there to help straighten things out!  The illustrations add to the enjoyment of this story.  This is a classic picture book that I grew up reading and it still has the charm and humor that I remember!

*This book was borrowed from the library.


S is for S’mores:  A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James
Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Like the title suggests, this is an alphabet book about camping.  The main text of this book is told in rhyme touching on aspects of camping from hiking and emergencies to parks and s’mores.  The sidebars of this book include much more detailed information about the things touched upon in the main text of the story.  Colorful illustrations accompany the text.  We are big fans of the alphabet book series from Sleeping Bear Press.  I like that the books can be read on two levels – the main text with simple rhymes for my son and the more detailed text for my daughter.  The sidebars always provide information that is new even to us adults.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

If you are unfamiliar with Scaredy Squirrel, I recommend you start with the first picture book, Scaredy Squirrel.  Scaredy Squirrel is afraid of everything and never goes camping.  He realizes that he can enjoy camping through a television show that he’s found, but……he has to plug in his television.  To do that he must cross the dangerous campground.  Scaredy Squirrel always plans and is prepared.  The book contains plenty of charts and diagrams to support this.  This is a fun read that shows kids to enjoy new experiences and that sometimes you may end up liking things that you didn’t think you would.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

Poetry Book:


Toasting Marshmallows:  Camping Poems by Kristine O’Connell George
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

This picture book is a collection of poems related to camping from the tent to hiking to toasting marshmallows and fishing.   There’s a variety of different types of poems in this book as well including a shape poem, rhyming poems, poems that don’t rhyme and more.  Each poem is accompanied by a colorful illustration.

Beginning Readers:


Flat Stanley Goes Camping by Lori Haskins Houran
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Flat Stanley originated as a character created by Jeff Brown in a chapter book series.  He is now part of the I Can Read series.  In this beginning reader book Flat Stanley and the rest of the Lambchop family go on a camping adventure.   After setting up camp Stanley and Arthur go exploring but mom warns them, “Don’t get lost or fall off a cliff.”  Of course they do both!  While Stanley first feels bad about being flat he soon discovers that it is helpful in getting them out of some sticky situations.  Tent camping, campfires, s’mores and hiking are all mentioned in this book.

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Fred and Ted Go Camping by Peter Eastman
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

In this early reader book Fred and Ted go on a camping trip.  They set up their tent and then decide to go fishing.  Unfortunately, after catching fish, they have a little accident and end up with no food.  A little bird helps them out and the two don’t go hungry.  This book is part of the Random House “I Can Read It All By Myself” Beginner Books.  It has short sentences with simple text.  This book contains lots of opposites and the illustrations are humorous and engaging.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

Chapter Books:


Camping Catastrophe!  (Ready, Freddy! series #14) by Abby Klein
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Our family has enjoyed the Ready, Freddy! series.  If you are unfamiliar with Freddy, he’s a 1st grader who loves sharks.  The series is aimed towards early to middle readers.  Camping Catastrophe!, number 14 in the series, has Freddy and his friend Robbie taking a camping trip with Freddy’s father.  It’s not a Freddy book without some type of trouble occurring.  In this book trouble involves a bee hive, fishing problems, a bear and some skunks.  This was an enjoyable read that touches upon aspects of camping like pitching a tent (remember the directions if you’ve never set it up before!), collecting firewood, fishing and making s’mores.  Despite all of the “catastrophes,” Freddy ends up having a great camping trip.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


The Case of the Marshmallow Monster (Jigsaw Jones Mystery #11) by James Preller
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

In this book Jigsaw goes on a neighborhood camping trip with his dad.  Mr. Hitchcock tells a ghost story about a lake creature.  The kids leave a bag of marshmallows out for the lake creature and wake up to find the marshmallow bag gone.  Jigsaw and Mila have a new case – to find out who (or what!) ate the marshmallows.  This book is the eleventh book in the Jigsaw Jones Mystery series, a series aimed towards readers in middle elementary grades.  This book touches upon aspects of camping like starting a fire, making s’mores, not leaving food out to attract animals and campfire ghost stories.  The lake creature story may be scary for some readers and could possibly scare them away from camping and lakes.

*We own this book.


Ellie McDoodle:  Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

In this chapter book, Ellie McDougal (a.k.a. Ellie McDoodle) and her baby brother Ben-Ben have to spend a week camping with their aunt, uncle and cousins, while their parents are out of town.  Ellie loves to sketch (and spy) and this book is an illustrated diary of this family camping trip.  It’s filled with games played, camping adventures and of course family drama.  This is the first of Barshaw’s Ellie McDoodle books and has been compared to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Humphrey’s Creepy-Crawly Camping Adventure by Betty G. Birney
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Humphrey is the class hamster in Room 26 and this book is told from his point of view.  Each weekend a different student takes him home.  In this book, Heidi takes him home and they have a campout in her backyard with several other girls from Room 26.  Richie, another student in Room 26 and Heidi’s neighbor is having a campout with some boys from Room 26 as well.  The boys try to scare the girls and later, the boys end up being scared by Humphrey and no one ends up camping out!  The girls in this book attempt to campout in a tent, take a hike around the backyard, stargaze  and play flashlight games.  This book is part of the Humphrey’s Tiny Tales series.  There is also the original Humphrey series, for readers 8 and up, though we are unfamiliar with it.

*This book was borrowed from the library.




Family Armchair Travel: Israel


As mentioned yesterday, our subscription to International snack box Universal Yums!  sparked the idea of our family to armchair travel to the featured country each month.  May’s snack box featured country was Israel, so off we went!

Prior to receiving the box, I knew that the featured country was Israel.  I printed up a blank flag of Israel found at Coloring Castle and using an online picture I had my son color the flag (see picture above).   We have a children’s atlas and the kids found Israel.

We watched volume 1 of Shalom Sesame: Welcome to Israel.  This is a 12-DVD series that includes episodes on Passover, Purim, Shabbat and more.  My children are almost seven and nine years old.  I figured that this DVD was going to be too babyish for them.  Although Sesame Street characters like Grover and some new characters from Israel are featured, this DVD was surprisingly informative and engaging for even my older children.  Viewers accompany Anneliese as she goes to Israel to visit a relative.  You get to see the sights and food of Israel and meet children from the country.  Hebrew words and numbers are also introduced.  There’s a special appearance by actress Christina Applegate who teaches viewers the different meanings of “Shalom.”  (We borrowed this DVD from the library.)

We read the following books:

Count Your Way Through Israel by Jim Haskins
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

This book was published in 1990 and has a dated look and feel to it.  There’s an informative introductory note that gives a little background information on Israel and the alphabet and pronunciation of some of the letters.  The book counts from 1 through 10 showing the Hebrew word and pronunciation for each number.  It also connects each number to information about the country.  While the Four Questions is appropriate for number 4, for the number 5 Haskins writes about five agricultural products that Israel is known for.  The book also shows illustrations, whereas I think photographs would be much more engaging.  This book had difficulty holding the interest of my six year-old son.  (We borrowed this book from the library.)


Exploring Countries: Israel by Joy Gregory
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

This book is part of the Exploring Countries series AV2 Media Enhanced Books collection.  There’s a special code in the beginning of the book that when input into the AV2 website makes a variety of additional resources available to the reader.  This is one of the most recently published children’s books about Israel.  It includes information about the land and climate, plants and animals, goods and services and much more.  The supplemental online media includes videos, quizzes and activities.  Each set of pages includes a “By The Numbers” feature, with factual information relating to the particular topic.  For example, under Politics and Government, the “By The Numbers” feature notes that Israeli citizens can vote at the age of 18 and that there are 15 judges on Israel’s Supreme Court.  The book is colorful and includes lots of photographs.  The text on each page is semi-lengthy and the book is geared towards older elementary students.  (We borrowed this book from the library.)


The Remarkable Journey of Josh’s Kippah by Barbara Elissa
Rating:  2 out of 5 stars

In this picture book, we follow a kippah from Joshua Jacob’s Bar Mitzvah as it travels around the world.  From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur the kippah travels from New York to places like Israel, Argentina and Miami before making its way back to New York.  Unfortunately, we were not big fans of this book.  There were lots of words that many readers may be unfamiliar with.  While there’s a glossary in the back of the book, the number of words that are unfamiliar, and not defined in the story, disrupt the flow of the book.  While many Jewish holidays and special days are identified in the story, there’s little to no description as to what the day is about. This was not a favorite book of ours. (We borrowed this book from the library.)


Welcome to Israel by Elma Schemenauer
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

This book is part of the Welcome to the World! series from They Child’s World.  This book is a little older, but still very informative.  Again, the amount of info and detail in this book makes it geared toward middle to upper elementary students.  It covers information about the land of Israel as well as its people, food, holidays, school and work.  At the back of the book there’s a list of famous people from Israel as well as a glossary and pronunciation guide for some basic Hebrew words.  This book was informative but did not keep my six year-old son’s interest.  (We borrowed this book from the library.)

To finish up our Armchair Travel we ate some Israel-themed dinners. 

The Weekend Chef’s family is part Jewish, so we celebrate Passover and Hanukkah with them.  Our kids are familiar with latkes, gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, matzo and haroset.  I wanted to make some dishes that were new to us.

I made Fresh Mozzarella, Mushroom and Eggplant Shakshuka from blog May I Have That Recipe?  Although, my shakshuka didn’t come out quite as pretty as theirs!  I served this with some Italian bread which we used to scoop up the sauce and veggies.  I was pleasantly surprised that both kids ate this, eggplant, mushrooms and all.

I made a whole roast chicken in the slow cooker and made Noodle Kugel from the Food Network to go with it.  The kids loved this sweet noodle dish!

The last dish I made was Baked Falafel, adapted from allrecipes.com with a Tomato and Cucumber Salad.  This wasn’t a new dish for us, but I hadn’t made it in a long time.  I love falafel  but the kids aren’t the biggest fans.  They ate theirs mixed with the tomato and cucumber salad inside their pita.  I wanted to have them try it again before we had the falafel-flavored snacks in the Universal Yums! snack box.

We are looking forward to see where we will be traveling next month!  Stay tuned so you can travel along with us!