Boo! Little Leonie is afraid of nothing…. except ghosts. Four of them, you see, live in her big bedroom, and come out at night when she’s trying to sleep. No one can see them but her, making bedtime a scary time.
Until one day she meets Fantominus, the smallest phantom in the world, who’s actually a quite sweet little spook.
You can read all about their friendship en francais in Fantominus, by Brigitte Weninger and Kirsten Hocker (1995, filed with a yellow dot).
Here’s another perfect tale for this All Hallows’ Eve that stars Alex the little pig, who is terrified. He’s about to be eaten. In Monster, Don’t Eat Me! (words by Carl Norac, pictures by Carll Cneut, 2006), a giant monster is feeling snacky, and he’s scooped up Alex to devour him. Piglets are yummy, thinks the monster…
Alex has to keep his wits about him, even if he’s afraid: how can he keep from being eaten all up? You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you wait to find out what Alex does to save himself.
Halloween is the perfect time to be scared. But what if you’re too scared? Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend (by Melanie Watt, 2007) is about a little guy who “doesn’t have a friend. He’d rather be alone than risk encountering someone dangerous.”
But of course, you can’t live your life being all scared all the time. This is the story of how Scaredy Squirrel comes to realize that being alone is pretty boring, and decides to make a friend — even if it’s a scary thing to do. Unfortunately, his plan goes wrong… sort of. (Warning: Story is not suitable for walruses. Please do not hurt their feelings by exposing a walrus to this book.)
What about when you’re trying to not be scared at all, ever? A Not Scary Story About Big Scary Things (C.K. Williams and Gabi Swiatkowska, 2010), is set in a forest that has its very own MONSTER. “It was big — about ten feet, six inches tall. And it was scary. It was green, for one thing. Or blue. Or maybe it changed colours. It had long, sharp claws, for another thing. And TEETH! And FANGS!” Seriously — it’s very very scary.
But this is a story about a little boy who isn’t afraid.
This sort of attitude is, as you can imagine, very problematic for a monster. So he and the little boy have to negotiate a little bit. The final result is a smaller, much less scary, monster.
All these books are filed with a blue dot.
Next, The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives (by Michael Buckley, 2007), are the descendants of the writers of the original, and scary and rather bloody, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, published by two brothers in 1812. (Lovers of the outrageous will know that modern editions of these French and German oral folk stories often edit out much of the innuendo, though much of the gore remains in the non-Disney versions, marvelously gothic tales which are well worth revisiting.)
This reboot features 11-year-old Sabrina and little sister Daphne, orphans claimed by a grandmother they didn’t know they had, who lives in a spooky old house in a dark forest. Granny’s reading material of choice includes the book 365 Ways To Cook Dragon.
Sabrina doesn’t think much of this crazy fake grandmother who talks to herself and nails windows shut, and the suspicious almost-teen plans to escape. But odd things keep happening, things which remind her of the fairy tales she heard as a child. Then granny goes missing, and the girls are all alone, and need to try to save her.
This is the first in a series that’s both witty and fast-paced, filled with monsters and scary doings. It’s filed with an orange dot, in juvenile fiction.
Here’s one last book that’s ready-made for Oct. 31, Marlene Perez’s Young Adult novel Dead Is The New Black (2008). Daisy Giordano is a Dull Normal teen in a family of psychics, living in the town of Nightshade with its mix of wacky humans and non-. Then a girl shows up dead, Daisy’s mother gets involved in the police case, her best friend Ryan gives her the sort of kiss that has nothing to do with friendship, and her frenemy Samantha starts dressing all in black and dragging a coffin around (at school, too — how on earth is she getting away with that?). This is a murder mystery filled with the creeps.
– Eleanor Brown, Oct. 28, 2011