Archive for the ‘Halloween’ Category

I had a great response for the Winnie the Witch giveaway! This was my first giveaway and was so much fun to host. You are all obviously getting into the Halloween spirit.

In the end a winner had to be chosen. I picked at random and the winner is Sally Willcock! Thankyou to everyone who entered, and please check back soon for a bumper giveaway in November. This will include a book by Michael Morpurgo and some beautiful illustrated postcards. Check back soon.

Congratulations Sally.

ps. Thankyou to the lovely Korky Paul for telling me off about spelling his name wrong. Oopsy.

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What I love about this edition is that it looks genuinly vintage. The blood red cover draws you in and Dracula holds your attention with his deadly glare. With his crazy, wild hair seemingly coming out of the book, who are you to resist the thrall of the first vampire. He is the original undead, before the new-found Edward Cullen’s came to be and the book is unadulterated horror. ‘Dracula’ really is a fantastic gothic book and the subject for much literary debate. Whilst Stoker didn’t ‘invent’ the vampire, his work is considered the turning point for gothic horror stories about the undead and should be read by all children if they are to appreciate the wealth of vampire fiction available to them today.
This edition has of course been adapted for younger readers but it still maintains its epistolary format through letters and journal entries. It is a most frightening book in its original form but the content has been tempered down, whilst the historical reference remain. The illustrations, by Anne Yvonne Gilbert are impressive and take on the format of etchings in a journal, using scratchy black ink on a white background. They are very emphatic of the story and paint the picture of an eery mountain landscape in Transylvania. A fantastic book, a gift for keeps.
Published by Templar ISBN: 9781840115161 Recommended 9-12
Templar also had a new edition out in July with similar illustrations. I can’t recommend Templar publishing enough as they maintain the integrity of the original story through their emphatic illustrations. Looks great, now you have a choice. In fact, you have a huge choice in Dracula editions, these are just two of my favourites.

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This week is just for the teens and young adults among us. I’ve found some thrilling, chilling and disgusting reads to feature this week. If you want a ghost story to read at the dead of night, thrilling classic tales, or a zombie -pastiche on a festive tale then you will find it here at 5 Minutes Peace.

Tales of Terrors from the Tunnel’s Mouth by Chris Priestley – horrifying short stories.

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas by Adam Roberts – Marley was dead…to begin with.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman- A curiously creepy tale.

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine- a childhood favourite of mine.

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“Magic is always impossible,” said the magician. “It begins with the impossible and ends with the impossible and is impossible in between. That is why it is magic.”

If those words straight from the magician’s mouth don’t intrigue you, then nothing on this earth will. This glorious fable, now available in paperback is one of magic, mistique and intrigue and perfect for the dark October nights.

Amazon description: What if? Why not? Could it be? When a fortune-teller’s tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchenne knows the questions that he must ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortune-teller’s mysterious answer (An elephant! An elephant will lead you there!) sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that you will hardly dare to believe it is true. With atmospheric illustrations by fine artist Yoko Tanaka, here is a dreamlike and captivating tale that could only be told by Kate DiCamillo. In this timeless fable, she evokes the largest of themes – hope and belonging, desire and compassion – with the lightness of a magician’s touch.

What I really love about this book is how well the illustrations are paired with the story. Kate DiCamillo tells a perfect and often heartbreaking tale through the eyes of little Peter and Yoko Tanaka’s illustrations give him just cause to hope and believe that his sister is still alive. And if we’ve ever learnt anything from Michael Morpurgo, we will know any tale with an elephant is a tale of true worth. The illustrations are haunting and tell a lot of the disparity of Peter’s world.

There’s something quite Dickensian about a street performer and the cover seems to reinforce that. It might just be my love for Oliver Twist and the performers in The Old Curiosity Shop but the book certainly seems to draw inspiration from a time when street performers were entertainment but also posed a threat.

A beautiful tale that inspires morals and messages throughout. Often confusing and peculiar but a book that certainly makes you smile.

The Magician’s Elephant, published by Walker Books, PB, £6.99


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Halloween is meant to be a fun, frightening celebration, traditionally of ridding the house of evil spirits. Today it has evolved into a feast of a celebration that stems far beyond good and evil. We have vampires, ghosts, possessions and that’s to name a few. And that’s why, when celebrating halloween with children it’s important not to expose them to something which is beyond their comprehension. A halloween story which is suitable for a teenager certainly may not be suitable for a child of say, nine years old.

That’s why I wanted to feature a ghoulish story for younger readers. This one is for the 5-8 year olds.

‘Frightfully Friendly Ghosties: Ghostly Holler-day’ by Daren King, illustrated by David Roberts has a distinct ‘Casper’ feel to it as these ghosts are friendly! Surely any ghost that stays around on this planet is staying round for creepy things? Nope, that’s not the case here.

Three friendly ghosts who are friends want to get away from the cold days and the dark wintry evenings and set about planning a holiday (although quite why they think Scareborough and Frighten -on-Sea is going to warm them up is beyond me). If they thought picking a destination was frustrating enough then, sharing their holiday with Headless Leslie without killing him is mission impossible. And of course, what would a halloween story be without a few spooky beings and a very mysterious pier?

I love this book because it’s harmless fun and reminds us like dear old Casper did that ghosts were people too and just because you can see through them, doesn’t mean they don’t want to have fun and make sandcastles like the rest of us. The black and white line illustrations by  David Roberts are great, giving the holiday setting of Frighten, a rather mysterious eery feel.

Just never trust a magician!

‘Frightfully Friendly Ghosties: Ghostly Holler-day’ is published by Quercus £5.99


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There’s always leftover flesh from an afternoon spent carving pumpkins so what better way to use it all up than to make pumpkin soup. here, Winnie the Witch shows you how.

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Never one to disappoint, another great book by Anthony Horowitz provides as a Halloween classic. ‘More Bloody Horowitz’ stands up as a very frightening read. I just know that anyone who buys this will be told at bedtime “lights out” and then will find a torchlight, hide under the duvet and then read this book until their eyes pop out in fear!


The fate of a writer lies in your hands as a real life author is murdered in the book! The book also come with a warning LITTLE GIRL DEVOURED!

The classic cover reminds me of Sweeney Todd meets Charles Dickens. Imagine writing at your desk with only a flickering, dim lamp as company. There is no noise but the scratch of your pen against the paper, until a creak in the floorboards tells you that you are not alone, and you my dear friend are about to meet your end.

Of course this is all fiction but there are some chilling facts featured throughout and I’m sure you’ll want to check up on the victim… once you’ve finished reading of course. Take your time. 

I love Anthony Horowitz…he has brought horror back to life and these illustrations are just great! Recommended for 11+

‘More Bloody Horowitz’ published by Walker Books, £9.99


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Award winning ‘Pumpkin Soup’ by Helen Cooper is a seasoned, autumnal picture book perfect for teaching children about the seasons, pumpkins and learning to share.

This Halloween All Angel’s Eve month on 5 Minutes Peace is likely to get a little scarey, ghoulish and downright gross so I wanted to include a few books so that little ones can also join in with the spooky fun.

Three friends Duck, Cat and Squirrel all live together in a lovely cosy little home and make pumpkin soup every night for their dinner.

They each help prepare the soup with their own specific tasks until Duck wants to do something different and it messes everything up. Soon, feathers are flying and duck leaves the house with soup splashed everywhere and their friendship somewhat cold.

It takes all of them to realise the error of their ways and how sometimes you have to compromise; it’s all about giving and sharing. This is a lovely tale and the somewhat traditional, well-known moral is told in an original way. The illustrations are so rich and it’s a lovely book to curl up with on a chilly autumn evening and read to your child. They’ll soon be ready to help with the leftover squelchy pumpkin to make their own pumpkin soup.

Duck, Cat and Squirrel also feature in other tales including ‘Delicious!’ and ‘A Pipkin of Pepper’

‘Pumpkin Soup’ by Helen Cooper is published by Corgi Children’s Books

£5.99 paperback


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So this Halloween we’ve dealt with Angels, what’s next? Aliens! Chris Riddell’s new book Alienography is something to be marvelled at. It’s a fantastic, fun book that will leave you thinking some aliens are cute and some are best well left alone. Aptly titled ‘Alienography or How to Spot an Alien Invasion and What To Do About It’ this book is different on every page. If ever you come across an alien, all you have to do is flick through this book and you can decide whether the Zyglon Tentacle Beast is friend or foe.

I just love this book. It has everything in it that should feature in an alien book. Important facts, helpful advice and informative  information.

Like, did you know if another face grows out of your nostril then it’s probably not just a common cold rather, an Uncommon Cold; “a space virus which spreads like flu before being sneezed out of its unfortunate host and taking his place.” Oh dear!

Some aliens might be quite familiar as there’s a clever play on well known films, books and sayings such as The Day of the Truffles. You’ll never want a chocolate truffle again! There’s also a handy tear out and keep mugshot collection of the usual suspects.

This book kept me amused for hours, there’s literally a different species on each page. Fans of Chris Riddell’s books will love this harrdback gift book, I certainly did and I’m not usually partial to aliens.

A word of warning though, don’t take advice from Heeves the Robot. He is on the charm offensive with his friendly smile and geeky bow tie but believe me his cocktail inventions are truly disgusting and the stuff of nightmares. Cowpat Milkshake anyone?

Happy Halloween from all the aliens. And for any parents who like Alan Titchmarsh…look through the book carefully, mwahahaha. 



Alienography is published by Macmillan, HB £14.99


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This month, in honour of the publication of ‘Angel’ by L.A. Weatherly, I’m dedicating a whole month to all things Halloween. From pumpkins and witches, to aliens and angels you’ll see it all here. I kicked off the month with a review of ‘Angel’ and it’s all go from there.

I love Halloween…the pile of scary pumpkins lit up outside homes, the smell of pumpkin pie and soup wafting through the house and of course the opportunity to dress up like a zombie. It’s all fun and also reminds me…Christmas is on its way.

Coming up this week on 5 Minutes Peace:

  • ‘Alienography’ by Chris Riddell. From the friendly to the downright disgusting. This po-up, lift the flap interactive book is such great fun.
  • ‘The Shadowing: Hunted’ by Adam Slater. A truly, terrifying read.
  • ‘Pumpkin Soup’ by Helen Cooper. One for the little ones. Heartwarming, autumnal reading.

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