Friday, October 25, 2019


A scary book could soften the parental explanation that the resident pre-teen is too old to dress up and ring the neighbors’ door bells for trick or treat this year. Or worse, the almost grown-up is still not quite old enough to look out for younger siblings as they travel door to door. You might hint a little that you've found a book with spooky neighbors and some undead folk in the woods.

Note: a scary book lasts longer than candy and doesn’t get tangled up in braces.

THE HAUNTED SERPENT by Dora M. Mitchell, Sterling Children’s Books, 2018

Spaulding Meriwether has a problem every middle school student will recognize and I’m not talking about being the new student at Thedgeroot Middle School. Spaulding is the son of questionable (questionable? Is that a hint of more to come?) television ghost hunters, and no, I’m not talking about that either.  Spaulding is weird. What middle school student thinks he might be weird and tries to hide it? Or is already thought to be weird by the rest of the school? Does the student talk to dead people? Yes. That kind of weird. And yes, there is a haunted serpent. Why else would the book have such an enticing title?

During the Halloween ghosting season, this tale could keep your Halloween helper from answering the doorbell when the smallest gremlins pay a call. 

Author Dora Mitchell is a writer, illustrator, and children’s librarian living in Quincy, a small northern CA mining town that was built during the Gold Rush. Her web site is pretty spooky, too.


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