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Give Out Comics Not Candy on Halloween – Free Comics Oct. 25 on Halloween ComicFest

Celebrate All Hallows’ Eve With Comics:
Get free comic books & purchase mini-comics
to hand out instead of candy.HCF14 Poly bag Comics_group

In homes across America, families are preparing for Halloween. Many are looking for a candy substitute, something to offer as a treat. Is there something sugar-free that will still bring a smile to kids’ faces? Consider this great idea – comic books!

HalloweenComicFes400x400Take note parents! On Saturday, October 25th, participating comic book shops will be handing out FREE comics to anyone who comes to their stores in celebration of Halloween ComicFest in addition to hosting special Halloween activities in communities across the US, Canada and internationally. There are 19 free comics available to choose from that are great for readers of all ages with titles that include, Scooby Doo and Batman Team Up, Marvel Secret Wars, My Little Pony, Afterlife with Archie, Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, and more!

Also, it’s a great time to consider giving out comics instead of candy. So, while getting your free comics, pick up Halloween ComicFest Mini-Comic Packs because they’re “just as sweet and last a lot longer than candy!”

Each pack contains 20 mini-comics and are only available to purchase at comic book shops for just $4.99 per pack. Such a delicious deal that won’t get stuck in your teeth! There are seven titles to choose from which include Angry Birds, Betty and Veronica, Plants vs. Zombies, BOOM! Studios Fright Fest, LBX Little Battlers, Mermin and Vamplets. The Mini-Comic packs are a healthy alternative to candy, promote literacy, provide entertainment for families to enjoy, can be used as prizes for Halloween games or prizes used in the classroom.

Click here to find participating comic shops in your community.

MiniComicPacks“Our BOOM! Studios Halloween Fright Fest mini-comic, featuring stories from Adventure Time, Peanuts, and Fraggle Rock, is sooooo sweet that you don’t need to eat any candy! Plus, you won’t get any cavities from reading it either. Because it’s comics!” – BOOM! Studios publisher.

“The LBX Halloween Comic-Fest sampler is better than candy because super-strong cardboard robots that battle each other on command are pretty much better than anything, right? And this new manga series is actually about super-strong cardboard robots who battle each other on command!

Kids will love LBX because it’s about kids who do tournament battles with super-strong cardboard robots that battle each other on command (which is, of course, better than candy…or most anything). It’s a kid-safe comic starring an actual kid trying to save the world with his paper robot. What’s not to love, really.

Handing out the LBX mini-comic will make even the dullest, apple-giving, toothbrush house the most popular because you can win anyone over with manga, even the most super-strong cardboard robot-hating neighbor kid. Only, since there aren’t any kids who hate super-strong cardboard robots (especially if they can battle each other on command), you don’t have to worry about that. Can’t help you with the toothbrushes, though.” – Joel Enos, editor of the Little Battlers comic from VIZ Media.

www.freecomicbookday.com
www.halloweencomicfest.com

 

 

 

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Snow White and Rose Red, the Brothers Grimm Way

Rita Zobayan reviews Snow White and Rose Red: A Pop-Up Fairytale ($19.99, Tango Books; ages 5-7), by the Brothers Grimm and illustrated by Rachel Cloyne.

Long before Snow White sang with forest critters and took up with seven gentlemen of diminutive stature, the Brothers Grimm had written the original version of her story that is still prevalent in Europe today. Snow White and Rose Red is the traditional tale that does include a dwarf and a prince, but tells a deeper story of kindness in the face of ingratitude and of bravery in the face of danger.

Sisters Snow White and Rose Red live with their mother near a forest. They often venture into the forest and fields to gather food. When a talking bear visits them on a cold winter’s night, their simple lives are changed forever. Suddenly they are beset by a wicked dwarf, who often needs their help and yet shows them nothing but contempt.

There they found a Dwarf with an old wrinkled face and a long snow-white beard. The end of his beard was caught underneath a fallen tree…He glared at the girls with red fiery eyes and exclaimed, “Why do you stand there? Are you going to help me?”…

As soon as the Dwarf was freed he snatched his sack filled with gold, threw it over his shoulder and marched off, grumbling and crying, “Stupid people! To cut off a piece of my beautiful beard. Plague take you!”

Patient and kind, the sisters help the ungrateful dwarf three times. In each instance, we see young women who are capable, clever and confident. They do not turn from danger. They rely on their wits to help another, even when he, in turn, insults them and ultimately attempts to bargain their lives for his freedom.

Marvelously illustrated by Rachel Cloyne, this book features shades of black, white and red. Each page has 3-D pop-ups that are beautifully drawn. The artwork is striking in its detail, and captures the darkness of the time period and of the tale. It is truly a spectacular book for Halloween or any other time of year.

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Scared Silly

 Reviewer Rita Zobayan gets hoppy and in a Halloween mood.

Have you ever had the sneaking suspicion that you are being stalked? Perhaps someone or something is at the root of your suspicions? Jasper Rabbit believes that villainous vegetables, namely creepy carrots, are on his tail. What is a rabbit to do when the vegetable he loves the most won’t leave him alone?

Written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown, Creepy Carrots ($16.99, Simon & Schuster, ages 3 and up) is an amusing read with a shadowy twist. We meet Jasper, consumer of carrots, who has a sneaking suspicion that there is more than meets the eye regarding the carrots of Crackenhopper Field. Could it be that the carrots are alive and following him?! Is Jasper imagining the bevy of beta-carotene watching his every move?!

Jasper was about to help himself to a victory snack…when he heard it. The soft…sinister…tunktunktunk of carrots creeping. He turned…but there was nothing there. Just my imagination, he thought. But he hopped a little faster. That night, as he was brushing his teeth…there they were! Jasper whipped around…but nothing. He laughed at himself, picked his toothbrush off the floor, and went to bed…quickly.

Jasper’s growing unease of carrots is portrayed in a kid-friendly manner. My three year old daughter was held captive by this storyline and by the pictures of common items that children can so easily mistake for scary bad guys (or scary carrots). This clever read is enhanced by the cartoon-like illustrations. Set to a simple color palette of black, white, gray and orange, the illustrations seem like a film noir in charcoal. The expressions on the carrots are fun to pick out.

 

Creepy Carrots makes for an entertaining Halloween or meal-time read. Just be sure to watch your back the next time you’re in the produce section of your grocery store. Click here to see a video interview with the illustrator, Peter Brown.

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All Treat, No Trick Halloween Giveaway Part 2

Did you read yesterday’s post when we introduced a fun fall giveaway? In order to be eligible to win, go back and check out yesterday’s review and then, after reading today’s as well, enter if you dare. You just might be the winner of over $150 worth of Halloween books!

Halloween’s just 22 days away! And to get the excitement brewing, we’re giving away a bunch of books for boys and ghouls (and one for parents as well) to enjoy before their big night out. Scroll to the bottom for more info after reading all the reviews.

Vampirina Ballerina writtten ($14.99, Disney/Hyperion Books, ages 2-6) by Anne Marie Pace with pictures by LeUyen Pham, is wicked and whimsical with arabesques and a twist. Pace takes a typical budding ballerina tale and turns it on its head in the best possible way! Add the plethora of vampiralicious puns coupled with killer artwork from the ever talented Pham, and this ballerina picture book rises above the others, or should I say flies, soars and sweeps? If Vampirina just follows her mom’s advice (remembering not to turn into a bat or trip on her cape to name a few), she’ll achieve her goal. Fangs a lot for this fab read.

The Secret History of Hobgoblins ($16.99, Candlewick, ages 8 and up) by Professor Ari Berk had me at Hob! I have been fascinated by the lore of of these little folk since falling for J.K. Rowling’s Dobby so it came as no surprise that I found myself studying every last word on each elaborate page. The old-world style in which the book is presented will no doubt capture your child’s attention as it did mine. Full of detailed artwork in color and black and white, fold-out spreads, flaps to flip and facts to glean, The Secret History of Hobgoblins (is that a tongue twister?) fascinates as it entertains. We learn from the book’s opening that the Secret Folk (who thrive on hospitality and domestic order) are sharing their privately held practices with us in order to “herald a swift return to the hospitable practices of the past.” Hear! Hear! Learn about where they live, what their spells and charms are and how to peacefully cohabit with them. Frankly, while I could really use a hobgoblin at home, I must resign myself to just reading about them in Berk’s engaging new book.

The Monster Alphabet ($7.99, Price, Stern, Sloan, ages 3-7) by Michael P. Spradlin and illustrated by Jeff Weigel provides a field day for monster hunters like narrator Morgan Marvin Marshall. This intrepid traveler will take children around the world searching for monsters from A-Z. There’s the Abominable Snowman hiding in the mountains of Nepal, the Ogre found “most everywhere” and Zombies (aka living dead) who will “eat the brains straight from your head,” and Spradlin’s monster hunting Marshall will find them all. Now I am not sure I want to read this to a 3-year-old at bedtime, but with the light-hearted illustrations that definitely don’t scare, I certainly would not hesitate to illuminate my little one about gargoyles, hydras and imps around Halloween. And it’s told in uncomplicated rhyme, too. Kids may even find a bit of costume inspiration from Weigel’s artwork. Bonus feature: For each alphabet letter illustrated, there are 3 hidden objects beginning with the same letter to be found on every page.

Haunted Castle ($15.95, AZBooks, ages 5 and up) by Nadezhda Shumovich is the perfect Halloween book for pop-up book fans. It’s Halloween night in a small village where threesome Nick, little Alex and Kristy find themselves bored after their local trick or treating is soon finished. Kristy suggests they visit the castle at the forest’s edge for some more exciting entertainment. Who should greet them when they arrive but a vampire butler along with a slew of other costumed party goers or so they think! It’s not until they notice no mirror reflections of these dressed up ghouls that the kids realize they might be the biggest treat at this gathering. Some quick thinking saves the trio but not before readers get to share the spooking with REALLY SCARY SOUNDS in this sound effects and “Nightmarish 3D” book.

Duck & Goose Find A Pumpkin ($10.99, Schwartz & Wade Books, ages 2 and up) is yet another delightful board book for the preschool set and for story time by author/illustrator Tad Hills. The pages are large and durable, the art is adorable, bright and inviting and the story is just simple enough for your littlest reader. Duck and Goose go in search of a pumpkin after they see the one Thistle has found. It’s not long before the pair are looking in a log, a pile of leaves, up in an apple tree, in a pond, on top of a stump all for naught! But with Thistle’s help, perhaps the pair’s luck will change. Learn more about this award-winning author and his other Duck & Goose books by clicking here.

It wouldn’t be Halloween without mentioning the always popular Scream Street series, Book #7, Invasion of The Normals ($5.99, Candlewick, ages 8-10) by Tommy Donbavand available in paperback. As the first page professes, “The fiendish fun continues at www.screamstreet.com” so what are you waiting for kids?  This is an ideal choice for reluctant readers with short chapters, imaginative illustrations and even free collectors’ cards inside the back cover! Take a walk down this street, but you’ve been warned! Something strange is going on and it could be NORMAL!

On Monday, October 8 and then again on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 we’re reviewing and/or briefly mentioning books that we’ve read recently then giving them away the following week! So **read both posts before entering. And guess what? If  you LIKE us on Facebook and also send us your name and contact info in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by midnight on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 you’ll be entered to win a prize package of all 11 books covered (worth a value of $153.77) just in time for Halloween!! Remember to write Halloween Book Giveaway in the subject line.  **YOU MUST LIST ALL BOOKS COVERED IN THE 2 BLOGS as part of your entry eligibility so be sure to read the blog every day!! Click here now for more detailed rules. Good luck!

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All Treat, No Trick Halloween Giveaway

The leaves are changing color, there’s a cool breeze in the air, nights are longer, baseball season’s winding down, pumpkin patches are popping up on every other corner and bags of candy are already stacked a mile high on supermarket shelves. It must mean Halloween’s on the horizon. And to get the excitement brewing, we’re giving away a bunch of books for boys and ghouls (and one for parents as well) to enjoy before their big night out. Scroll to the bottom for more info after reading all the reviews.

Bedtime For BOO ($10.99, A Golden Book, ages 2 and up) written by Mickie Matheis and illustrated by Bonnie Leick is a real treat. Young Boo is going to stay up late to go a-haunting and, as little ones can imagine, Boo’s thrilled. Always with a smile on his face, Boo will swirl through the sky, whoosh past an owl and stir up the leaves as part of the fun. But soon bedtime beckons and Mama Ghost wants young Boo to go to sleep even though he claims to not be tired. “Listen to the sounds of the house,” Mama Ghost suggests. All around you can hear noises from bats flapping, footsteps tapping, mice squeaking and doors creaking. Of course there are black cats hissing and wolves howling all included in rhyme that a parent can whisper as the book nears its end. What could be scary is actually comforting when shared from a sweet little ghost’s perspective. I found the illustrations to be perfectly suited to the text and when kids are less tired they, too, will want to study every page.

Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs ($16.95, Charlesbridge, ages 7-10) written by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen with illustrations by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins is just the kind of offbeat picture book that is at times ever so subtly humorous and other times outright in your face. Either way, the variety of the verses are clever and catchy and the gray-toned artwork is moody and evocative with the occasional surprising smidgen of scarlet. Look closely, too, or you might miss some very funny touches Timmins has tossed in to keep you on your toes as you walk amongst the tombstones. Whether the creatures have been crushed, fallen ill or been struck while crossing the street (see page 6 Chicken Crosses Over), the myriad methods of demise are as hysterical as the epitaphs! I have a feeling this original and whacky poetry book might just tickle a few funny bones and get more than a few kids eager to try their hand at a few epitaphs this fall. With a chill in the autumn air, it’s really the right time of year to nurture all those budding Edgar Allan Poes.

Making a Jack-o’-Lantern, Step by Step (Captsone/A+ Books: Step-by-Step Stories, ages 5 and up) by J. Angelique Johnson is a terrific book for children parents will want to have on hand for a variety of reasons. First, the photos are fantastic!  They help to illustrate the simple, straight forward text and are so good they could work without words though not for a beginner pumpkin carver. Second, the book is divided into 4 easy steps or mini-story chapters so a child can learn sequencing along with just enjoying young Elliot’s first time helping his dad find, set-up for, prepare and finally carve a Jack-o’-Lantern. At the end readers are rewarded with seeing the fab finished product and also have a chance to participate in a photo sequencing activity.  Also provided are a helpful glossary, reading recommendations and internet sites for more fun after finishing the book.  So parents, while this may be a messy activity, it will be worth every minute! Other books in this series are: Fighting a Fire, Getting a Pet, and Recycling.

Halloween Howlers: Frightfully Funny Knock-Knock Jokes ($6.99, Harper Festival, ages 5-8) by Michael Teitelbaum with pictures by Jannie Ho will make your child’s All Hallow’s Eve and the days leading up to it a laugh a minute. Whimsical, colorful illustrations pair well with humor like “Knock, knock! Who’s there? Disguise! Disguise who? Disguise giving me the creeps!”  I counted over two dozen jokes, lots with funny lift-the-flaps that help make this inexpensive book something different to send along to school to spice up a lunch box or to stuff into a backpack to make the bus ride home a giggle fest or even to give out as a Halloween season birthday party favor.

Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween: A Glittered Guide for Whimsical Crafting! ($19.99, Andrews McMeel Publishing) by Stephen Brown (craft expert and judge on TLC’s Craft Wars) is for folks who are crafty in the positive sense of the meaning. Are you one of those people like Good Reads With Ronna reviewer Debbie Glade who can make something fantastic out of just about anything or are you like me whose claim to fame is the Pilgrim Placeholders I made for Thanksgiving six years ago from toilet paper rolls. I need good photos, good directions and a lot of motivation and this book has all of those things and then some! With 20 wickedly clever craft projects inside, Brown’s book reveals some spooktacular secrets this successful entrepreneur has gleaned from years of experience. He’ll tell you about the materials you’ll need with handy descriptions of them if you’re not familiar with things like monofilament (aka fishing line), other tools-of-the-trade, basic techniques and then with step-by-step instructions you’ll be ready to roll.  I’m partial to the witchy party hat, but maybe you’ll prefer the Chenille Pumpkin, the Spider Puppet, the Spooky Forest Sticks and (yum) Orange Candy Apples or the Bride of Franky GlitterStein table decoration. There are patterns provided in the back of the book and you can use this book as a jumping point for other happening holiday crafts.

Beginning today Monday, October 8 and then again on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 we’re reviewing and/or briefly mentioning books that we’ve read recently then giving them away the following week! So **read both posts before entering. And guess what? If  you LIKE us on Facebook and also send us your name and contact info in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by midnight on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 you’ll be entered to win a prize package of all 11 books covered (worth a value of $153.77) just in time for Halloween!! Remember to write Halloween Book Giveaway in the subject line.  **YOU MUST LIST ALL BOOKS COVERED IN THE 2 BLOGS as part of your entry eligibility so be sure to read the blog every day!! Click here now for more detailed rules. Good luck!

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Killer Poems

Take a midnight stroll through Amen Creature Corners and glimpse what’s carved on the animals’ headstones.

Ronna Mandel wants to get your youngsters hyped up for Halloween with her  review of Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs ($16.95, Charlesbridge, ages 7-10) by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen with ilustrations by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins. 

I know what you’re thinking. Bizarre, morbid. Maybe. But I love this kind of offbeat picture book that is often ever so subtly humorous and other times outright in your face. Either way, the variety of the verses are clever and catchy and the gray-toned artwork is moody and evocative with the occasional smidgen of scarlet. Look closely, too, or you might miss some very funny touches Timmins has tossed in to keep you on your toes as you walk amongst the tombstones. Whether the creatures have been crushed, fallen ill or been struck while crossing the street (see page 6 Chicken Crosses Over), the myriad methods of demise are as hysterical as the epitaphs!

I have a feeling this kind of original and whacky poetry book might just tickle a few funny bones and get more than a few kids eager to try their hand at a few epitaphs this fall. With a chill in the autumn air, it’s really the right time of year to nurture all those budding Edgar Allan Poes. 

Here’s a brief sample of a few of my faves:

Good-bye to a Rowdy Rooster

Too cocky by far,
he head-butted a car. 

Flickering Moth

Here lies a moth
without a name,
who lived by the fire
and died by the flame. 

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Halloween Books, Bones & Boo!

If you are in need of some good, ghoulish tales tonight and tomorrow, take a look at this roundup of recommended reads.

Sally’s Bones by MacKenzie Cadenhead ($6.99, Sourcebooks, ages 9-12)
Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall ($16.99, Little, Brown, ages 4-8)
Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters: A Lullaby by Jane Yolen with illustrations by Kelly Murphy
Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas ($9.99, HarperCollins, ages 2-5)
What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen by Nick Sharratt ($12.99, Candlewick Press, ages 3 and up)
The Monstrous Book of Monsters by Libby Hamilton with illustrations by Jonny Duddle and Aleksei Bitskoff ($17,99, Templar Books, ages 5-8)

 

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Terrifying and Terrific: Halloween Books

This year there has been a deluge of dark, demonic books for the ghoul next door. I cannot pick a favorite but here is a sampling of what you can read to your kids or give them to read on their own. Just remember, keep a flashlight close at hand!

51wctlw6ecl_sl500_aa300_How To Be A Zombie (Candlewick Press, $14.99, ages 12 and up) by Serena Valentino – A gruesomely good read for those of you “who crave brains.” Find out what the undead in your neighborhood are up to. There are tips to share, fantastic photos and artwork as well as info on Zombie fashion, terminology and so much more.

9780810939004_s3On a Windy Night (Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.95, ages 4-8) by Nancy Raines Day with illustrations by George Bates – “Clacklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours – if you look back.” I don’t know about you, but I’m outta here! It’s a windy Halloween night below the light of a full moon. Creepy creatures abound on the street and in hidden images throughout this imaginatively rendered book with pictures resembling wood cuts. A little boy is finishing up with his trick-0r-treating and unlike you or me, goes home through the dark woods and scares himself silly imaging all sorts of frightening sounds and spirits out to get him.

barronseduc_2125_67692250Octavius Grimwood’s Graveyard Guide (Barron’s Educational Series, $9.99, ages 8 and up) by Rod Green – “Prepare to be scared” is how this book touts itself and it’s absolutely right. Learn all about the supernatural, spooky and weird, but memorize Octavius’ secret spell first to keep you safe. Turn the pages at your own risk as youdtravel near and fear (oops, I meant far) exploring haunted houses, unmasking wicked witches and unfathoming phantoms.

9780439634304_xlgZen Ghosts (Scholastic Press, $17.99, all ages) by Jon J Muth is one of those timeless tales that will captivate the entire family. Stillwater, the wise and friendly Panda returns in a spine-tingling story set under a full Halloween moon. Inviting his young friends Addy, Karl and Michael to meet a special storyteller who’ll tell a ghost story, Stillwater (or the mysterious storyteller) introduces the children to some Zen Buddism concepts, imparting his unique Panda wisdom to the listeners and readers alike. The water-color artwork only adds to the atmospheric tale and takes us right onto the pages alongside the characters.

thmb-chills_coverChills and Thrills: The Ultimate Anthology of The Mystical, Magical, Eerie, & Uncanny (Welcome Books, $16.95, all ages) Edited by Lena Tabori & Natasha Tabori Fried and designed by Timothy Shaner is an indispensable guide to all things scary, superstitious and spine-tingling! Overflowing with curses, spells,tales of magic and fantasy, magic tricks and more, Chills and Thrills is a creepy compendium you’ll feel compelled to keep on your bedside or coffee table. Whether you seek a classic poem like Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven or a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, it’s included here.

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