Monday, July 08, 2013

MMGM-- Scary and Gross

I always forget that middle grade is much younger than 6-8th grade. Children do change dramatically from year to year, even during the three years that I have them. Here are some books that fourth graders would love, as would 6th graders, but 8th graders would be much "too cool" for.

Home Sweet Horror (Scary Tales Book 1) Preller, James. Scary Tales: Home Sweet Horror.
9 July 2013, Feiwel and Friends

ARC from Baker and Taylor
Liam and Kelly Finn and their dog Doolian move to a spooky new fixer upper with their dad after their mother’s death.  Creepy things happen right away: messages appear in the steam in the bathroom, a handyman warns them the house is evil, voices come through the fans even though they are unplugged, and faces appear in the bathroom mirror. When Kelly and her friends invoke the “bloody Mary” chant, Bloody Mary herself appears and tries to drag Kelly into the bathroom mirror. Liam smashes the mirror and saves her, but Kelly becomes ill and draws houses on fire as if possessed. A neighbor boy tells them that there was a “crazy lady” living in their house who got killed in a car accident, but it’s too late for the Finn’s, who are unable to stop their house from burning down. Luckily, no one is hurt. A second book, I Scream, You Scream is coming soon. 
Strengths: Short, scary but not terrifying, and fast paced. Terrific for reluctant readers who want something spooky. Kids love the Bloody Mary myth. (Which is why Richards' Devil's Footsteps is still a top circulator at my library!)
Weaknesses: A tiny bit young. 

Strange FoodsRosen, Michael J. Strange Foods.
1 October 2013, Millbrook Press
E ARC from
This 32 page, colorfully illustrated book is filled with examples of VERY gross food from around the world. This goes back in history, as well, covering things like Mithradates inuring himself to poison by eating small quantities of it, and discussing how a more modern herpetologist survived by exposing himself to snake venom. Any odd part of an animal (feet, especially) that is eaten is discussed in nose wrinkling detail, with rather nauseatingly full color pictures. The e book version of this loads rather slowly, so it is hard to flip back through to look at the contents.
Strengths: Definitely gross, well formatted, and covers a wide variety of cultures in the world, as well as points in time.
Weaknesses: Definitely gross. I would buy this if it were AR, because the most reluctant readers would love this one.

Even though I'm very bad about getting on the computer in the summer, I still am ALWAYS reading, and it's MG stuff 99% of the time! I adored Margaret Hale's Lost in My Work post over at the Nerdy Book Club-- what, doesn't everyone love her job so much that it's a 24/7 kind of deal?


  1. Scary Talkes sounds like the perfect book to "hook" those reluctant readers.

  2. I've got Home Sweet Horror starred on my TBR list! I love a good scare, and I know kids do too :) Thanks for reminding me of this title...I've got too many on my TBR list to keep it straight. Sigh ;)

  3. Anonymous10:30 AM EDT

    BOTH of these will be snapped up in my library--I'll add them to our collection for sure. The "scary & gross" category is one that appeals to all kinds of readers--reluctant and avid both. Thanks for these recommendations!

  4. Anonymous12:23 PM EDT

    I loved the Lost in my work post! Loved it cause I am like you and the love of 24/7 mg reading and work. Good to know on the AR of the food book. I am working on building our non fiction and would actually like to have that in the non AR part.

  5. Anonymous12:29 PM EDT

    Looking forward to getting these in and sharing them. Have some in the grade three crew who would LOVE both.

  6. Yes I can guess kids will love to read this book about really gross food! Now if only the could get to taste it too.

  7. These look perfect for my school. Thanks for sharing these!

  8. My 4th graders would LOVE the Strange Foods book. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Both of these are books that will be a must for my classroom library :) Thank you!

    Thank you so much for participating in IMWAYR and happy reading this week :)

  10. Both of those sound intriguing.