Seems like the perfect time to read a ghost story.

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie tells the story of Claire, a middle grade student who believes in science and not ghosts. So it’s rather embarrassing that her dad is all about ghosts – writing stories about the ghosts of Chicago and hosting a ghost-themed bus tour. One day, Claire is forced to help her dad out on the tour and she notices a boy at the back of the bus – dark hair wearing all white. But when she goes back to check it out, the boy is gone.

And that is when things start happening – a scritch scratch noise, whispers in the dark and the number 396 appearing everywhere.

“Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.”

Currie does a great job of showing how terrifying it would be to be be Claire – as things get progressively worse as Claire tries to figure things out herself. I don’t like to be scared so while what Claire experiences would be awful, I myself wasn’t terrified, which is good as I likely wouldn’t have finished reading the book.

There was a side story about Claire and her best friend, who is changing and appears to be growing away from Claire. I liked how those two stories worked together.

Without giving anything away, I also like that I learned a bit about Chicago’s history as well.

Scritch Scratch is $24.99 and is from Raincoast Books.


“Are you the kind of person who detests happy endings? Does it oil your blood to see a hero defeat a villain and make him look silly in the process? No? Well, thank goodness. That means you’re not as bad as the scoundrels in this book.”

So begins DK’s Villains, which offers a look at some of Disney’s most recognizable villains including Captain Hook and the Jolly Roger as well as the villains under the categories of Deception (Mother Gothel, Yokai and Kaa). Each villain gets some information as well pictures from the movie, which makes me want to watch these movies again.

There are very few villains I didn’t know and I enjoyed reading about the ones I do.

Villains is by DK Books.

Time for Bed’s Story

Bed knows that kids actually don’t like bed – they say they are not sleepy, need a drink of water and want five more minutes. But Bed says the boy isn’t much better – there is the drooling, the stickers, the kicking. But the boy is getting older, and perhaps Bed can reason with him.

I liked this book. I liked how it was written and I liked reading the story from bed’s point of view.

The illustrations are fun, too.

Time for Bed’s Story is by Monica Arnaldo and is from Kids Can Press ($19.99).

The Ride-by-Nights

The Ride-by-Nights is such a lovely picture book. A group of witches silhouetted in the purple sky fly by as the families below are getting ready for trick-or-treating. When the witches play, we get to see their faces and learn they are not so different from us. We also get to see and learn about the constellations that the witches fly past. I love the purple with splashes of white, orange, red and white.

The Ride-by-Nights is by Walter de la Mare and illustrated by Carolina Rabei. It retails for $14.99 and is from PGC Books.


A little girl is petting her cat and when it coughs up a fur ball (disgusting even in illustrations). The little girl offers the cat a hug, which then leads to hugs from all sorts of creatures from a pair of ducks to a porcupine and a tiger, who may be taking a nibble in addition to the hug. The little girl keeps hugging until she herself doesn’t feel well.

Hug was cute enough, but I am not sure what the point was. The little girl offered the hugs. Did it become too much because she was hugged out?

The book said Hug? Was a “hilarious look at the joys and the perils of hugs.”

Hug? Is by Charlene Chau and is from Kids Can Press ($17.99).

If You Were Night

The book asks If You Were Night would you see the moon and tiptoe outside? Or if you heard a raccoon would you creep by unseen and sift through the riches, too?

The book is beautiful as it encourages kids to explore the night and the beauty of the creatures and places. I also like the cut-paper illustrations and the fact everything is dark with a hint of colour.

I just felt it was a bit too long.

IF You Were Night is by Muon Thi Van and illustrated by Kelly Pousette and is from Kids Can Press ($19.99).

A copy of these books were provided by DK Books, Kids Can Press, PGC Books and Raincoast Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.