, $11; ages 10 to 14)
The suspenseful graphic novel from Doug TenNapel (Ghostopolis
), about a family of four’s boat trip gone awry, is filled with the seriously scary creatures tweens and young teens respect: carnivorous trees, frightful aliens and a mysterious skeleton. Its evocative images and noir plotline propel it like a true ghost story.
(Roaring Brook Press
, $17; ages 4 to 8)
Three quarters endearing and one quarter spooky, the new title from Caldecott Medal winner Eric Rohmann (My Friend Rabbit
) explores the tenacity of the bond between a boy and his dog. Gus sets out to trick-or-treat one Halloween with a heavy heart, having lost his beloved pooch Ella. What he finds amid a gang of mean-spirited skeletons is as touching as Rohmann’s concept is inventive and brave.
Emmy and the Rats in the Belfry
, $18; ages 9 and up)
Author Lynne Jonell’s Emmy series, the high-pitched adventures of a girl who speaks the language of rodents and has the power to become one herself when necessary, continues with the wonderfully goth story of Emmy’s unexpected trip to visit her aunts in Schenectady, New York. Drama unfolds when her evil former nanny comes seeking revenge. Be sure to flip the pages to watch illustrator Jonathan Bean’s flying bats.
Gibbus Moony Wants to Bite You
(Simon & Schuster, $16; ages 4 to 8)
Author Leslie Muir and illustrator Jen Corace's Gibbus Moony, one of the year's most clever Hallows Eve offerings, riffs on the similarity between vampires and those little biting creatures called toddlers. Gibbus Mooney, an aspiring vampire, is looking for the perfect bite with which to seal his fate. He attempts putting his fangs into toys, his violin and even a gardener before setting his sights on a little girl named Mandibles. He has a change of heart when Mandibles's brother Moe declares matter-of-factly that "biting's for babies." This, of course, gives Gibbus pause. It doesn't take him long to decide that making a new friend and biting apples beats becoming a vampire any day.
The colorful, cartoonish board book by Kevin Sherry follows a bug-eyed purple “vampire bat” on his romp through a castle filled with scary characters. Let’s just say the little guy’s boasting gets him into a whole lot of trouble.
Kate Stone’s artful book alternates sheets of silhouette-imprinted, semitransparent vellum with graphic cutouts to take readers on an atmospheric walk through the woods. The interplay between the two types of pages, both before and after one turns them, makes it an adventurous read for little Halloweenistas.