These new books are super fun and help kids get in the mood for the year’s spookiest holiday.

Scary Tales: One-Eyed Doll

By James Preller; Feiwel and Friends; 98 pages; $5.99

Dedicated to the memory of The Twilight Zone and host Rod Serling, Scary Tales: One-Eyed Doll — a little paperback with larger text and a clear, classic writing style — is a slightly shock-worthy story that’s fun and spine-tingling.

Scary Tales

It stars a brother and sister who love to explore the woods and an old house near their home. They particularly enjoy treasure hunting, this time with neighbor “Soda Pop,” who helps them discover a creepy one-eyed doll witch with lots of scary havoc to wreak.

The fifth in James Preller’s “Scary Tales” series (the next is Swamp Monster), the quick reads, peppered with spooky black sketches, make fun Halloween reads for 8- to 10-year-olds.

The Graveyard Book: Volume 2

By Neil Gaiman; with graphic adaptation by P. Craig Russell; HarperCollins; 164 pages; $19.99

These fabulously entertaining graphic adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Medal-winning The Graveyard Book (volume 1 was released in July) are primo entertainment.

The story of a boy named Nobody Owens who lives in a graveyard, this second volume captures the angst of Bod, who yearns to leave to go to school and find out who killed his family. First, though, Bod has lots of adventures, with an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, and the strange and terrible Sleer.

Each chapter is illustrated and designed by a different artist from the comic book world, making Gaiman’s graphic books legitimately worthy as standalone reads.

Volume 2 captures chapters six through the end of the original The Graveyard Book and is a gorgeous and heart-stopping tale perfect for reluctant readers and kids who love art with their scary stories.

The Scarecrows’ Wedding

By Julia Donaldson; illustrated by Axel Scheffler; Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic; 34 pages; $17.99

The Scarecrows’ Wedding is a bit quirky and lots of fun. Julia Donaldson’s tale of two scarecrows preparing to marry isn’t scary, but is certainly autumn-themed.

The pair, Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay (who bears a strong resemblance to the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz), first search for wedding items: flowers, rings and a dress of white feathers. Harry gets lost at one point, and Betty is surprised to see their farmer has replaced him with a slick cad of a new scarecrow named Reginald Rake.

To Betty’s dismay, Rake smokes a cigarette and drops it, nearly burning her, and Harry swoops in to save the day.

Axel Scheffler’s action-packed illustrations are personality-packed, while the entire book makes a rousing fall read for the 3- to 7-year-old crowd.

Evil Librarian

By Michelle Knudsen; Candlewick Press; 345 pages; $16.99

The title and slick red-and-black cover drew me into Michelle Knudsen’s latest novel, Evil Librarian. Funny and theatrical, the irresistible read stars a high-schooler named Cyn who questions her best friend’s crush on the new librarian.

Makes sense, since he’s “seriously hot” but also grows blood, horn and bat-like wings whenever friend Annie isn’t around.

As if trying to keep your buddy away from a demon isn’t hard enough, Cyn has to save her beloved school musical (Sweeney Todd) and try to maintain normalcy around her own crush.

Tongue-in-cheek, witty and just plain cool, Evil Librarian is a superbly fun teen read for fall.


» Spooky Sticker Book ($8.99) from Ticktock Books is monstrous fun, with 500 reusable stickers and a cauldron full of creative, slightly spooky activities.

» The latest from Ron Roy’s Calendar Mysteries (Random House, $4.99), October Ogre is an easy chapter book for beginning readers about a haunted house.

» Ladybug Girl and the Dress-Up Dilemma by David Soman and Jacky Davis (Dial/Penguin, $17.99) is the Ladybug girl’s quest for a different costume: robot, vampire panda, silent movie star? But eventually she realizes it’s best to just be yourself.

— Lee Littlewood writes the Kids’ Home Library column for Creators. The San Diego wife and mom’s pure love of children’s literature helps her stay interested in words and pictures meant for tots to teens. Click here to contact her, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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