Monster’s Come Out Tonight by Frederick Glasser

5 Stars Children’s

I really like flap books. Call me a kid-at-heart but I like lifting a tab and seeing what is underneath it. I have an Elmo book that the tabs are pretty well used up but it’s a keeper as my 6-year-old granddaughter still loves to look at it. This Halloween flap book is one that I am going to have to purchase as I am loving it!

There are monsters that are ready to go out Trick-or-Treating on Halloween and they’ll be coming out of their own special places in this book. Skeletons will be coming out their coffins, witches will be coming out of houses, and ghosts will be coming out from behind bookcases but this is just a few of the monsters in this board book.

This is a rhyming board book that each monster has their own 2-page spread. As a young mummy gets ready for the night, he has to place the key in the sarcophagus and as I pull the tab, I find more mummies ready to head out with him for the night.

There’s so much to love about this book. The illustrations are bright, colorful and there’s plenty to look at on each page. The tabs are easy to pull and find. The monsters are not scary but they’re identical to the ones on cover of the book. The book’s text makes sense and the rhymes work. There are a lot of pages in the book so it’s worth the money and who says that this book is only for Halloween. This is one book I am purchasing.

Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook

5 stars Cookbook

Let’s talk about some Halloween food, shall we?  I came across a Halloween display at the grocery store and picked up some fun decorations to go on top of some baking treats.  Growing up, I had just the colored sprinkles and if you got lucky, we got the colored little balls that rolled all over the place when you went to put them on anything and of course, they tasted so much better than the sprinkles.  Now the choices for decorations are endless. I ended up purchasing a creepy pack and not your normal sprinkles, my friend. I thought I needed a cookbook to go with these so I found a Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook at the library and voila, I now have more than I asked for.

The decorations I picked up were a candy pack of skulls, bones, gravestones, large eyeballs and bats. My other pack is a mix of orange, black and white sprinkles of ghosts, bats, pumpkins, moons, and bright Halloween tiny balls (of course). What to do with all of them was the question that I hoped this book would answer.

Boneyard Dirt Pops were chocolate cake pops with chocolate sandwich cookies on top (dirt) with bone candies on top (excellent idea!). Tarantula Treats were cupcakes that looked like the creepy spider that I could use the eyes on. Tombstone Cupcakes were, just what they said they were and another great idea.  I was coming up with some great ideas in this book and getting hungry. The Halloween Party Pops were another great idea and I could decorate them anyway I wanted although they had some great ideas especially the spider web one.  I think I had enough ideas here. I noticed the Scary ghost Pancakes (I love pancakes) as I was making my way to the treats section.  I wouldn’t be using any of my treats but I would be eating some special pancakes.   

There are recipes for having a feast in this book.  Lots of snacks, meals, drinks, and of course desserts. In the Mystifying Main Dishes, I liked the Chicken Enchilada Mummies and the Serpent Sub. They looked like fun and a simple idea to bring the holiday to the table.   Need some Bubbly Black Punch with a Wormy Ice Ring or Lemon-Slime Punch to wash it all down?  How about some Spider Bites out of jello, or Bugs in a Blanket, or the Spiderweb Deviled Eggs (which, of my heavens looks so cool with all the lines on them). 

I would say that about half of the recipes call for premade items.  Items like Pillsbury Grands biscuits, Pillsbury Sugar cookie dough, a box of chocolate cake mix, a spice cake mix, or Bisquick.  Using these items, they explain how to shape or create the Halloween item using brown sugar, milk, eggs, etc. until you have the finished item.  Other recipes have the cook taking baby back ribs, or ground beef, or instant pudding, or chocolate ice cream or whatever and creating the Halloween treat from scratch.  If you want to make it all from scratch, make your own sugar cookie recipe, make your own chocolate cake recipe, do whatever you want or make substitutes if you have allergies, the ideas and the fun is inside the book.

There are 200 pages in this Halloween cookbook complete with an index and the recipes broken down into sections.  I hate to ruin the fun but there is a calorie counter for each of the recipes, along with step-by-step directions, the time to completion them, and how many each recipe will make.  Are there illustrations/pictures? You bet, one for every recipe which are directly across from the recipe.

Another great book from Betty Crocker.  I was entertained and I will be making some of these tasty treats this year.  

Amazon has some great pictures of the inside of the book:

A Ghostly Good Time: The Family Halloween Handbook by Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications

4 stars Nonfiction

I liked how this book has a little bit of everything in it. From recipes to make, to costumes to throw together, to decorations for your little part of the world, this book is Halloween DIY. You can be a beginner or an intermediate DIY individual to be successful as the author helps you with great directions.

When I first picked this book up, I was looking for a couple easy crafts to make and after looking through it, my list of Halloween items is long. I started out just flipping through it and stopped. I decided to go page-by-page, writing ideas and instructions down, so I knew what to do later.

There are a few items that I’ve seen done already and that’s fine. There are also a few ideas that were way out of my league but hey, they’re cool ideas if you have that talent. I liked the paper witches. Tracing them, you enlarge them (as big as you want) and put them on kraft paper and place them in your window with tape. (They supply you with 3 witches on graph paper at the bottom of the page). The Unwelcome mat was fun too along with the Boo and Beware mirrors but I don’t think I’ll be making them but they look super easy to make. The costume section was really cute and clever. The crow and swamp girl were my favorites. I liked that they made using simple, cheap items that you’d be able to find and not something that you’d have to spend a lot of money on, tear it up and then get creative. The recipe section had some fun and festive ideas and if I wanted to get creative, I could make the Haunted Cookie House. I’m sure my granddaughter would love to help me. It’s mostly snacks and goodies here except for some stew, bread, and a Sand-Witch. Put that Sand-Witch in someone’s lunch and see what they have to say. Lots of fun, I say.

I liked the hand & spider cutouts and I am planning on using them on a few pumpkins this year. They work the same exact way as the paper witches, only you trace them on a pumpkin and a hand is illuminated. There are lots of other fun ideas on carving pumpkins too. As far as the crafts, which is what I got the book for, I only found one that looked promising to me. There were no directions for it, as it was used as a prop but I think I can make it. There were some recipes that caught my eye especially the cookies and the cupcakes.

This is a super cute Halloween book that I’m sure you will find something inside to try. Could I get these ideas from a magazine? Sure, probably but I like how this book is set up and it’s all put together for me. Like I mentioned before, you can try something easy like the pumpkin carving or go extreme and attempt the Colorful Cushions. Did I mention the bird skeleton in the antique bird cage? Great book to find some neat ideas.

Link to some pages in the book

Over the River & Through the Woods by Linda Ashman

5 stars Holiday

This is a fun twist on the classic. Everyone is going to grandma’s but they’re coming from different regions and in different methods of transportation. I enjoyed the creative modes the author used to get the guests traveling to grandmas yet somehow, when they arrive, they are all together, in the old traditional means of transportation. What happened along the way?

The whole family has received Grandma and Grandpa’s invitation to come to their house for the holidays and they’re all coming, with a pie. The four families pack up and begin their trip. Written in rhyme, each family has travel issues along the way but have no fear, just when they think they will not make it, they hear a “Neighhhh!” They are saved! The horse is pulling a large sleigh which has enough room for everyone, driven by a friendly fellow. Once everyone has boarded and everything is put on the sleigh for the holidays, they head off to another family member who is stranded.

After all four of the families have been loaded and their holiday goodies have been loaded on, they head out to grandma and grandpa’s house where the they celebrate with family and friends.

What a cute and fun holiday book. I loved the illustrations; they are simply beautiful to look at. Kim does an amazing job! Her attention to detail, the bright and colorful illustrations really make this book spectacular! It took me a while to find my rhythm with this book but once I did, it was fun to read. I really liked this book. 

Halloween With Morris and Boris by Bernard Wiseman

5 stars Children’s

Ok, I’m a big Morris the Moose fan. I think he’s just as funny as Amelia Bedelia. He gets words or ideas twisted up inside his head and well, he just says what he thinks. What he ends up saying is prety silly and someone is usually there to help correct him.

In this small holiday picture book, Morris is with his good friend Borris the Bear and Morris wants candy. In the beginning, Boris tries to explain to his friend what Halloween is, as there are Jack-O-Lanterns and children outside going trick-or-treating. Boris has his hands full trying to explain all the different things to Morris about Halloween but when he mentions candy, Morris wants to play the game, Trick-or-Treat. They need to find costumes and soon, the two friends are on their way, knocking on doors, trying to get some treats. It’s a fun little book that I think is comical and talks about Halloween.

Yule Log Murder by Leslie Meier

4 stars Mystery

I kid you not, when I tell you I have been craving making one of these yule logs ever since I seen them being made on a cooking show on television.  To see them showcased in this novel, in three mini mysteries was entertaining, to say the least. Then, to top it off, there are recipes inside this novel including one for the yule log which I will attempt.

What I liked about this novel is that all three stories are different yet they all carried the central theme of the yule log. I was surprised how much I liked this novel.  I really enjoyed two of the stories and I would have liked the third story more had it not had so many characters in it. I usually don’t read novels with multiple stories in them and I really don’t have a good reason why. I just haven’t in the past and after reading this novel, I know now that I need to start looking more closely at them. 

In Yule Log Murder, I thought this mini mystery had too many characters and I had a hard time keeping track of them. Set in a mansion, a movie is being filmed with residents as extras. Excitement and anticipation fill the air as individual begin working on the film. A yule log cake with its luscious frosting loses its glamour when blood enters the scene.  With a few likely suspects, could it be that easy?

In Death by Yule Log, I thought this mystery was really good.  What makes this murder interesting is that it occurs after a holiday party and (1) what is that on the body and (2) there are a host of suspects to choose from. It seems that someone ate some of Hayley’s mother’s yule log before they were murdered.  Hayley tries to clear her boyfriend from being the prime suspect and as she does, she uncovers some interesting information. This girl is good! I thought the police department should put this lady on their payroll.  

In Logged On, Julia wants to start making her own holiday dessert but it’s a disaster. Enlisting the help of her mother’s next-door neighbor, she just might be able to pull it off.  I thought this mystery was funny and entertaining.  A younger Mrs. St. Onge used to make yule logs for friends and family but those days are over. Mixing baking tips with personal stories, Julia begins to question her teacher.

It’ an entertaining and enjoyable novel that doesn’t need to be read just around the holidays. Don’t forget those delicious recipes included in the book either.

I won a copy of this book from Kensington Publishing Corporation- thank you!  This review is my own opinion of the novel.