Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween and Pumpkin Surprise!

Riddle: Which ghost is the best dancer? The Boogie Man!

For the October issue of Two-Lane Livin' I wrote Pumpkin Surprise!
Hope you enjoy reading this on Halloween.

  Pumpkin Surprise!

     “It’s Halloween,” said Sadie to her cat. “We need to carve jack-o-lanterns!”
     “Meow.” Pippin strolled back and forth and then pounced up on the window ledge, stretched her front legs and arched her back.  
     Sadie plopped her hat on her head. “Let’s gather pumpkins from my patch,” she said.
     She walked out the door of the cottage pulling Pippin behind her in a little red wagon. She shuffled through the frost covered gold and red leaves scattered upon the ground. The rustling noise alerted the critters that someone was near.
     The squirrels scampered up the tall oak trees. The mice scurried and hid beneath the brush pile. The crows, never afraid of anyone, sat upon the scarecrow’s arms and stared at the old lady and her cat.
     She looked at them and said, “Where are my pumpkins? Did you see who took them?”
     The shiny black crows shook their heads. “Caw! Caw!” Their voices floated through the crisp autumn air.
     “How will I greet the children on Halloween if I don’t have jack-o-lanterns, filled with flickering flames, on my front porch?”
     She searched and searched. The empty vines crawled over the ground and between the dried up cornstalks. At last she spied small ones, in the far corner of the field, hidden beneath the fallen leaves.
     “These will not do. They are not big enough to make jack-o-lanterns.”
     She sighed and picked them anyway. She placed them one by one in her wagon.
     “Meow.” Pippen pounced on top of the pile of pumpkins and rode back to the cottage.
     Sadie placed her finger on her pointy chin. “I have an idea,” she said.  
     The old lady gathered sugar and spices, eggs and vanilla, and everything tasty. Mouthwatering smells floated all through her kitchen.
     That evening they heard shouts of “Trick or treat! Trick or treat!”
     Sadie opened the door and Pippen ran out to greet the ghosts and goblins.
      “Happy Halloween!” they shouted. “We decided to treat you this year.  We picked and carved your pumpkins for you.”
     Her eyes sparkled when the costumed children greeted her with the jack-o-lanterns.  “Come in. Come in,” she said. “I made a treat for you, too. Pumpkin pies for everyone!”

Do you have a favorite Halloween story?


Monday, October 28, 2013

MMGM - Spooky Middle Grades

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I did a search for spooky Middle Grade Books.

I found three of the following.

The Case of the Graveyard Ghost
by: Michele Torrey
Sterling 2009

Who you gonna call to ghostbust a graveyard spook? Doyle and Fossey, that’s who! They’re on the job and ready to free a snobby girl from a tight situation, uncover the culprit who’s ruining some prize roses, nab a dangerous smuggler of rare animals, and of course reveal the truth about that pesky ghost!
Here is a link to the author’s site and more info about the book.

The Dead End
by Mimi McCoy
Scholastic          May 2010

Publisher’s synopsis: Casey Slater can’t believe her bad luck. It’s the summer before seventh grade, and instead of the perfect vacation she’d planned with her best friend, Casey is in a remote country town, where her parents are restoring an old, creaky, creepy house. Worst of all, everyone else in town thinks the old house is haunted. And soon Casey thinks so, too — a vase explodes, a heavy china cabinet falls over on its own — and it seems like the ghost doesn’t want them there. Casey thought she’d be dying of boredom, but now she’s scared to death!

The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root
by Christopher  Pennell
HMH Books for Young Readers
September 2013

This middle grade novel tells the story of a little girl who can only sleep during the day and is awake all night. She befriends a rat and gets pulled into the mysterious lives of the creatures of the woods of Whistle Root.

It is a fantasy filled with unforgettable, quirky characters  and imagery. It shows how one can find friends in the unlikeliest of places, such as windowsills, rabbit burrows and the library.

School Library Journal said - 
"Charming black-and-white illustrations add to the overall effect of the story, which will remind readers of beloved works by Kate DiCamillo and E. B. White. . . . It's all rather old-fashioned and quite lovely."

 I have not read these books, but thought I would post about them in case you or a child you know may want to read them  during this Halloween week.

For more middle grade fun, check the links on