Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Scary books for beginning readers: #Road2Reading Challenge (ages 6-8)

As kids work hard at beginning to read, they can get frustrated that simple books seem too young for their tastes. As Halloween approaches, try sharing these scary books with 2nd graders. They'll like the combination of creepy moments, simple sentences and ghoulish humor. This group of books is especially good for 2nd graders at the beginning of the year (often reading at levels I-J-K).
Eek! Stories to Make You Shriek
by Jane O'Connor, illustrations by Brian Karas
Penguin, 1992
Amazon / public library / Goodreads / level K
Kids wrestle with spooky situations in three short, slightly scary stories about Halloween night, a possessed doll, and a haunted photograph. Short, simple sentences keep new readers engaged. "It was dark now. The trees made spooky shadows on the street. Ted hoped Danny would come soon." Karas' illustrations enhance the spooky mood.
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories
by Alvin Schwartz,  illustrations by Victor Rivas
HarperCollins, 2017 (reillustrated version)
Amazon / public library / Goodreads / level J
New illustrations by Victor Rivas reinvigorate this classic easy reader with cartoonish, creepy kids, ghosts and ghouls. Schwartz begins his book writing, "Most of us like scary stories because we like feeling scared. When there is no real danger, feeling scared is fun." He uses repetition, suspense and sudden revelations to great effect. Rivas' illustrations amp up the fright with creepy cartoon characters in the style of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey.
Scary, Scary Halloween
by Eve Bunting, illustrations by Jan Brett
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1986
Amazon / public library / Goodreads / level J
As sinister green eyes look through the darkness, a narrator begins: "I peer outside, there's something there / That makes me shiver, spikes my hair. / It must be Halloween." Bunting's rhymes are full of repetition, making them read almost like a chant. This classic picture book is delightfully scary to read aloud, and perfect for beginning readers to tackle on their own. "Little ones, stay safe inside! / It's best to stay at home and hide / On hallowed Halloween."
Secret of the Summer School Zombies
by Scott Nickel, illustrations by Matt Luxich
Stone Arch / Capstone, 2008
Amazon / public library / Goodreads / level J
With over-the-top imagination and action, these graphic novels appeal to kids who love funny, frightful stories. When Trevor and his friends realize that their summer school teachers have all turned into zombies, it's up to the three friends to save the day. Also try Monster in the Outfield and Attack of the Mutant Lunch Lady, two other monster-themed graphic novels for beginning readers.
There's a Nightmare in My Closet
by Mercer Mayer
Dial / Penguin, 1968
Amazon / public library / Goodreads / level I
A friend just wrote to me about the power of monster spray for her son. Childhood nightmares are real, and kids know this. "There used to be a nightmare in my closet. / Before going to sleep, / I always closed the closet door." In this classic picture book, Mayer turns the tables and has the child scare the monster as it comes out of the closet. Absolutely brilliant! All told with one short sentence on each page, with illustrations that respect the power of kids and their imaginations.

Please check out other posts in the #Road2Reading Challenge, hosted by my friends Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy and Michele Knott at Mrs. Knott's Book Nook. As they say, every journey has a beginning and it's important to celebrate & support readers at the start of their reading journey.

The review copy of In a Dark, Dark Room was kindly sent by the publisher, HarperCollins, and the other review copies came from my public and school libraries. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

2 comments:

  1. This is a great roundup, thanks, Mary Ann!

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