Halloween Book Review: Friendly Witches and Scary Dragons

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Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler

Room on the Broom has become something of a Halloween staple. It’s even been turned into a rather good cartoon.

It’s a wonderful story about a witch who keeps dropping things and finding woodland creatures who help her find them again. Each creature asks to join the witch on her broom and she happily agrees. Unfortunately, the broom can’t handle that much weight. A large dragon who like to eat witches attacks the overloaded broom, causing it to snap and allowing the dragon to catch the witch! But, fear not! The woodland creatures come to the rescue by scaring away the horrid dragon!

I love this story…BUT….it’s important to note that the which is very nearly eaten by a dragon, the illustrations show her being lifted into the dragon’s jaws, and the whole event is drawn out far longer than similar events in other children’s books.

The way the story is told proved to be extremely scary for some of the children in my life, and that made them dislike the book long-term.

I recommend previewing this book before reading it to your child. If it looks like something that they will find exceptionally scary, then wait a year or two before adding it to your Halloween-reading collection.

A quote can be found HERE.

All of the Halloween themed books, quotes and commentary posted to this blog can be found HERE.

Suggestions for Building Excitement Over The Holidays

Ordering Books: Whether you are building a family library or simply looking for a fun way to build-up to the Halloween celebration, having brand new books shipped to your home, in your child’s name, is a great way to do it. To a child, it is super exciting to receive a package in the mail, addressed to them! They may even want to read their brand-new book immediately AND before bed.

Library Holds: If you’d prefer to review the books before buying them, or need to maintain a tight budget, then use the local library. Go to the library website, locate the book and place it on hold. When the notification arrives, bring the child along and let them help find the books in the on-hold shelves.

Haven of Peace

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There is a haven for those tired of this war. There is a haven, out of view, where dragons and people still keep peace. It will always be a haven, and we pray that those who need it will find it in time.

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

 

Sing Beautifully for You Are Supper

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‘How shall I put it, to a brain so much smaller and less clever than mine… The thing is, we are all, in a sense, supper. Walking, talking, breathing suppers, that’s what we are. Take you, for instance. YOU are about to be eaten by ME, so that makes you supper. That’s obvious. But even a murderous carnivore like myself will be a supper for worms one day. We’re all snatching precious moments from the peaceful jaws of time,’ said the Dragon cheerfully. ‘That’s why it’s so important,’ he continued, ‘for the supper to sing as beautifully as it can.’

How To Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell

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All That I Wish For

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“There is water beneath me, and the air smells of salt and sunshine. What more could I wish for?” asked the dragon.

“Nothing. Nothing at all,” agreed Jenna.

Septimus Heap, Book One: Magyk by Angie Sage

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The Viking War Cry

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‘One… two… three…’ Four hundred Viking voices screamed as one: ‘GO AWAY!’ and added for good measure the Viking War Cry. The Viking War Cry was designed to chill the blood of Viking enemies at the commencement of battle. It is a horrifying, electrifying shriek that begins by mimicking the furious yell of a swooping predator, which then turns into the victim’s scream of pure terror, and ends with a horribly realistic imitation of the death-gurgles as he chokes on his own blood. It is a scary noise at the best of times, but shouted altogether by four hundred barbarians at eight o’clock in the morning it was enough to make the mighty Thor himself drop his hammer and blub like a little baby.

How To Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell

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Heroic vs Brave

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Although this is the part of the story that the bards tend to focus on as the bit where Hiccup was particularly Heroic, I do not agree. It is a lot easier to be brave when you know you have no alternative. Hiccup knew in his heart of hearts that the Monster intended to kill them all anyway. So he didn’t have a lot to lose.

How To Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell

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A Dragon’s Triumphant Cry

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He dropped the mackerel at Hiccup’s feet, did three somersaults in a row and landed on Hiccup’s head. He let out the dragon’s cry of triumph, which is a bit like a rooster crowing but a lot louder and more self-satisfied.

How To Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell

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Wolf Boy Stares Down a Dragon

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Wolf Boy knew there wasn’t much he could do to help Jenna with the Locum Tenens, but he thought he could try out the skills he had learned when he had lived with the wolverines in the Forest. And so Wolf Boy sat down about ten feet in front of Spit Fyre and very deliberately fixed his gaze on the dragon, willing him to stay calm and quiet. Spit Fyre caught Wolf Boy’s glance and quickly looked away, but it was enough. The dragon knew he was being Watched. He shifted about uncomfortably, but he did not move away. Spit Fyre sat unusually still in the soft drizzle, hoping that soon his Imprintor would appear and put an end to the unnerving two-legged wolverine who would not stop staring at him.

Septimus Heap, Book Three: Physik by Angie Sage

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As Brave As Anyone

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Although he wasn’t your usual mindless thug of a Hooligan, Hiccup wasn’t a wimp, either. Being frightened is not the same as being a coward. Maybe he was as brave as anyone else there, because he went to catch a dragon despite knowing what dragons are like. And, when he had climbed perilously to the mouth of the cave and had found that inside there was a long, twisty tunnel, he still went down it, despite not being too keen on long, twisty tunnels with dragons at the end of them.

How To Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell

I Am Allowed An Opinion

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I’m not going to stand here and tell you war is bad or wrong, we shouldn’t do it, and we should work for peace instead, because it would be too easy for people like General Branigan to say I’m naïve, I’m just a kid. To blow me off and act like nothing I say could be important. But if you think about it, I have more right than anyone to talk about what’s going on here, to have an opinion about it. I think if I’m allowed to stand up here and talk at all, then I’m allowed to have an opinion that matters.

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn