From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night...
It's Halloween, and the perfect time to choose some spooky stories. Witches, wizards and ghosties...read on for some mainly funny, occasionally frightening, books featuring witches, wizards and other Halloween happenings. I've organized them roughly by age of reader and slipped in a book of my own.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schlieffer
Julia Donaldson is the queen of the rhyming picture book, and this one is features a wonderfully traditional (if benevolent) warty-nosed witch, complete with cat and a very over-crowded broomstick...
It's Wilbur the cat and the wonderful illustrations - veering from all dark, to a world of colour - that absolutely make this book for me.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
The classic adventures of the accident-prone Mildred Hubble at Miss Cackle's Academy are ever-fresh and delightful.
The Best Halloween Ever - by Barbara Robinson
I have to admit I haven't actually read this yet - in fact I only just discovered it existed. But it's by one of the funniest childrens' writers ever, Barbara Robinson, about one of the funniest families ever, the Herdmans. They produced a hilarious Christmas Pageant so I'm looking forward to what they'll do with Halloween...
Bella Donna by Ruth Symes
An ordinary girl, who just happens to be a witch...or rather a witchling. A contemporary take on witches.
Witch Baby by Debi Gliori
I think this would be a book my own Wild Thing character would enjoy - because, like her story, it concerns a little sister whose behaviour is driving her older sister crazy. Only this little sister is a witch. Sibling rivalry with a big dose of magic thrown in.
Jessica Haggerthwaite: Witch Dispatcher by Emma Barnes
Yes, this one's by me! Jessica Haggerthwaite wants to be a famous scientist and is determined to foil her mother, Mrs Haggerthwaite's, witchcraft business. Her plans come to a head at a disastrous Halloween Party for her mother's magical pals and their familiars.
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
DWJ is my favourite fantasy author and I could have chosen several of her books: Witch Week or The Time of the Ghost or Howl's Moving Castle. Charmed Life is one of the Chrestmanci series, and is perfect for Halloween as it is during a grand dinner party at Chrestomanci Castle ("because they always do lots of entertaining around Halloween") that the magic really goes awry, with the help of a pinch of dragon's blood. A truly wonderful book.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
The Midnight Folk by John Masefield
Older and darker in tone, this classic novel is one of my all-time favourites. The witches, including the terrifying Mrs Pouncer and her friends, are genuinely scary, as is Abner Brown. There is a wildness to time and setting. And Nibbins the cat is probably my favourite Witch's cat of all.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
A bit of a change of subject matter here, as most of my list is funny rather than terrifying, but if you want something truly spinechilling then Coraline fits the bill. Just why is that mother with the button eyes so disturbing? But don't blame me if you (or they) get nightmares.
What have I forgotten? Please nominate your favourite Halloween reads.
Emma's new series for 8+ Wild Thing about the naughtiest little sister ever (and her bottom-biting ways) is out now from Scholastic.
"Hilarious and heart-warming" The Scotsman
Wolfie is published by Strident. Sometimes a Girl’s Best Friend is…a Wolf.
"A real cracker of a book" Armadillo
"Funny, clever and satisfying...thoroughly recommended" Books for Keeps
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