Media Reviews: Books for Kids

Heather West

The Babysitter from Another Planet by Stephen Savage

From the creator of “Where’s Walrus?” comes a tale of an unexpected extraterrestrial babysitter. At first, the kids cower under the kitchen table, but soon the alien charms them with powers that are out of this world. Enjoy Savage’s simple, geometric illustrations alongside this simple, charming story. Even though this intergalactic babysitter give the kids a fright at first, this book is friendly enough to share at bedtime. FOR AGES 3-6

Bone Soup: A Spooky, Tasty Tale by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Tom Knight

“Bone Soup” is a bewitching retelling of the classic stone soup story. Three witches with rumbling stomachs find their cupboards bare, except for a single bone. Together they visit their spooky neighbors to ask for a little help creating delicious bone soup. The ghosts and ghouls are skeptical this is a witchy trick, but ultimately share ingredients that create the ultimate Halloween treat. Read this seasonal folktale retelling and even cook your own bone soup with the recipe included on the final page. FOR AGES 5-8

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Animal Zombies! And Other Bloodsucking Beasts, Creepy Creatures, and Real-Life Monsters by Chana Stiefel

Explore the world of terrifying critters from across the globe. Learn about the killer cone snail that shoots venom through its nose deep in the ocean, or the slithery hairworm that grows inside a cricket and controls its mind. This volume from National Geographic Kids features tons of spine-tingling facts together with large, fascinating photographs. While this book is not for squeamish kids (or grown-ups), check it out to learn about the actual zombies and bloodsuckers that share our world. FOR AGES 8-12

The Haunting of Henry Davis by Kathryn Siebel

From day one in his new school, it’s apparent that Henry Davis is an odd kid. When assigned seating in the lunchroom forces Barbara Anne and Henry together, she learns his secret: he’s being haunted by the ghost of a young boy. The duo team up to uncover the mystery of who the ghost was and how to set him free. Even though this story is a spooky mystery, it still has a lot of heart. FOR AGES 9-12

The Haunted by Danielle Vega

A truly terrifying ghost story that belongs firmly in the horror genre, “The Haunted” follows Hendricks, whose family moves to a new town into a fixer-upper house, for a fresh start. Hendricks soon learns the house is part of local lore and supposedly haunted. Soon, she experiences strange things inside. But are they ghosts from the house, or is a past toxic relationship coming back to haunt her? FOR TEENS


The World of R.L. Stine

This site from Goosebumps author R.L. Stine offers extension activities for his perennially popular books. Visitors can listen to Rainy Night Theater, a podcast series of “creepy stories to listen to in the dark.” Stine also shares his writing program, which discusses how to get inspired, develop your ideas, begin writing, and never suffer from writer’s block. Kids are encouraged to write to Stine with an address included at the bottom of the site and share their own spooky stories. Recommended for ages 9-14.

Heather West is the youth services supervisor of the Parsons Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.