Spooky stories

I just couldn’t let Hallowe’en go by without sharing a little of what we’ve been reading recently, as well as a little of what we’ve been making. I’ve been trying to retain a more autumnal feel to our stories and not focus toooooo much on the ghosts and ghoulies side of things, but as the day has drawn nearer we’ve been indulging in as much horror as we can handle. As it turns out, our horror-handling capacity is poor. BUT, we’ve had fun and decorated our house well enough that C shouted, “WOW!” as he walked downstairs for breakfast this morning – despite the fact that he’d been instrumental in the decorating process yesterday and therefore knew exactly what it looked like………

Anyway, the book that H has been LOVING is a classic – ‘Meg and Mog’ by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski.

The bold illustrations in their limited palette of colours captivate him every time and it’s just such a brilliant book for reading out loud. I get a little carried away with the sound effects, especially as H loves it if you repeat, “Bubble, bubble…” endlessly into the side of his neck (he loves it if you do the same with the “Zzzzzzzzz…” as well). It makes me giggle to see him enjoying the not just the sound of the word, but the physical feel of it as well.

He also lingers on this page:

which he appreciates not just for its bubbling cauldron possibilities, but also because he likes to point at the different foods and make me say their names over and over for him. I know it’s only a small step from this to the mind-blowingly awesome world of ‘You Choose’ by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt, which was one of C’s first book crushes and still remains a favourite (to the extent that he’s already told us that the next book by the same team ‘ Just Imagine’ is top of his list for Farmer Christmas. Yep, despite our gentle attempts to correct him, C is insistent that the chap who’s bringing him presents on December 24th is Farmer Christmas. When asked what this gentleman might farm, his answer was, “Reindeer, chocolate and sweets, of course.” He’s not actually too far off the mark, so we’ve left him to it for now).

The boys and I have also enjoyed these two books together:

‘Funnybones’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

‘Room on the Broom’ by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

but in addition to these favourites, we’ve also started reading a new book in the last week or so…

‘Ghosts in the House!’ by Kazuno Kohara

We already have Kohara’s ‘Jack Frost’ and are looking to bring that out once winter is well and truly upon us. This book obviously showcases her eye-catching illustrative style again, but with orange, black and white as opposed to the blue, white and silver of ‘Jack Frost’. In a similar way to ‘Meg and Mog’, both boys seem to respond to this and the deceptively simple pictures still provide lots of points for discussion about fear and how to overcome it. C was initially quite frightened by the story – a girl moves into a haunted house (arghhhhhhh!) but soon finds a cheery way to deal with the ghosts (phew!) who actually look comfortingly non-scary pretty much from the start (to me, at least).

I always find it both interesting and amazing to watch the boys so openly respond to the story arcs of their favourite books and the talking we do after reading often bring up ideas and issues that I just don’t think we’d share otherwise. C has never really had any experience of ghosts, but he was (it seemed) almost instinctively scared of them. This book and our subsequent chats addressed his worries more than adequately, but just in case, we made these (inspired by this) ghosts of our own out of some of the boys’ old muslins (which I promise were clean, though their, hmmmmmm, ‘well-loved’ appearance may suggest not):

We made quite a few more, but the others are hanging on the orange and black tinsel in the background, with hanging being the operative word. It looks gruesome to me, but who am I to mess with the boys’ interior design instincts???

I hope you all have a happy Hallowe’en, with many more treats than tricks 🙂



  1. A great selection of spooky books here. I’m interested that you are drawn to artwork with a limited palette, me too. And I LOVE that C was freshly amazed to see his handiwork the next morning – rightly so, it looks terrific!

    1. He was wowed again this morning as well. Christmas is going to blow his mind 🙂

  2. Meg and Mog! Oh, I’d forgotten about those stories. *off to amazon…*

    1. They are fab! Found some of the other ‘Meg and Mog’ books amongst my husband’s loft treasures and the boys enjoy all of them.

  3. That is absolutely my favourite page from Meg and Mog too. Have always loved the kipper in particular!

    1. I love the page where they’re actually eating the breakfast, as it features the owl 🙂

  4. […] you’re looking for any more ideas, check out our Hallowe’en post from last year. H is still LOVING the ‘Meg and Mog’ books and if you visit our Pinterest board to see […]

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