October 24, 2013

Two Reviews for Halloween

Today I have two reviews on books great for Halloween! (which for-the-record I can't believe is next week!)

First Up:

Desmond Pucket: Makes Monster Magic

By Mark Tatulli
Meet Desmond Pucket - professor of frightology and master of monsters.

Someday Desmond will be famous for his special effects wizardry, but for now he's just trying to make it through sixth grade at Cloverfield Memorial Junior High, which means he needs to stay one step ahead of the school's disciplinary officer, Mr. Needles.

The only problem is Desmond just can't stop pulling pranks - like the time he attached a shrieking rubber goblin to the toilet seat in the teachers' bathroom. Mrs. Rubin screamed so loudly her wig flew off! Or the time he put giant motorized worms into the mashed potatoes in the cafeteria. Or the time Desmond and his best friend, Ricky, arranged for a three-headed ghost to crash his sister's slumber party. Rachel still hasn't forgiven him.

And now Desmond has to stay prank-free for the rest of the year, or he won't be able to go on the class trip to Crab Shell Pier, home of the Mountain Full of Monsters ride! It's going to be tough, but Desmond has to try.

This book includes a section of "Desmond's Notes": instructions for making monster magic (think scary noises, or fake blood) at home!

What a cute and fun book! I loved that it's a graphic novel, but not so much a graphic novel that it lacks any words to read. I'm not a person who can read true graphic novels with very little words, so I for one liked how it was!  Ok beyond that what did I like? - I really liked Desmond. I've had students like Desmond, so I could totally buy into him as a real kid. Yes maybe an over-the-top kid, but definitely a middle school kid. I also liked that the whole book could've been about Desmond's escapades scaring people and just trying to get away with stuff. That would've been fun, but it would've lacked something. Watching as Desmond tries a few different places to channel his "creativity", and finds it in the drama club was full of silliness. But, the fact it goes beyond that and has Desmond try to change his ways makes it much more fun and has a bit more of a message. It shows nicely how, even when you want to change, not everyone will believe it if you've been "bad" for so long. 

Bottom line - it's a fast paced, cute, funny, crazy book with a nice little message. I have many boys that I would easily hand this book. (can anyone say Wimpy Kid fans?) 

Last note: How can you not like a book that starts out with a kid (in the middle of the night!) pretending a monster is bursting out of his stomach just to scare his mom????


That's Creepy: Spine-Tingling Facts That Will That Will Test Your Creep-out Factor. 
By Crispin BoyerIn a world where werewolves rule and vampires are just the boy or girl next door, kids love anything that will scare the pants off them. But how do you separate fact from fiction? Do haunted houses, spooky ghosts, and UFOs have a place in history, or is it all just a bunch of hooey? Crawling with spine-tingly facts, eerie anecdotes, and fun information, this book is all about everything creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky. It's a perfect book for the bathroom library or to read by flashlight under the covers. Just don't tell kids how much real science and history they're actually learning!

I have to say that I don't have a first hand review for this book. What I do have is everything I heard from my students as they read it.  When I got this book I shared it with each one of my classes and said they could look at it if they had time left after their assignment.  Each hour I just about had it ripped out of my hands!  Two kids poured over it the entire time they had left.  Then they had to share with other students what they found! I had to remind them a few times that it was work time, and they needed to be quiet.  They just couldn't hold in their thoughts!  

Things they told me:
Really creepy stuff in there.
Wow! Great pictures.
That's a crazy book.
I want that!

So in short - the book is awesome for kids.  It's the kind of book they'll pick up again and again until they have the whole thing memorized!

There ya go - two books with a Halloween feel! Which, remember, is NEXT WEEK!


  1. I really love books like That's Creepy with lots of weird and fun facts. I'll be looking for that one. Thanks for telling me about it.

    1. Just yesterday I had more 8th graders "fighting" over it! Great book to just put out in my classroom for kids to look at when finished with their work.