Tag Archives: scary

Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes and Stephen Michael King


IMG_5022Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, hardback picture book, published by Working Title Press in 2014.

On a dark and scary night, Pig, Cat and Hare set out on a mysterious journey. Through a dark forest, up hills, over a creek and past a deep, dark cave. Do they get frightened? And where are they going in the middle of the night anyway?

With its lyrical text and distinct illustrations, Scary Night is a fun and engaging picture book for pre-schoolers and lower primary school children. There was some repetition within the text, and a few questions that can help to involve kids in the story. My toddlers and kindergartner enjoyed having this book read aloud to them. My kids really got involved in the story, tracing the stars, and making various night noises, such as hooting when they spotted an owl. They all screamed at the appropriate spot too!

The illustrations matched the story perfectly, and provided just the right atmosphere. The use of colour to depict the creepiness of the night is magnificent. I liked the contrast of colours between their journey and their destination. I thought that Cat was particularly cute and my toddlers liked the bats.

Scary Night was an Honour Book in the 2015 The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2015.


Scream: The Human Flytrap by Jack Heath


IMG_4948 (1)Scream: The Human Flytrap by Jack Heath, paperback novel, 138 pages, published by scholastic Australia in 2015.

Some very odd things happen in Axe Falls, the beach-side town where Josh and his sister Yvette live. There have been unexplained disappearances, and strange occurrences, but things are about to get even stranger for Josh when his parents move them into a spooky old house. Their new neighbour seems to be a crazy old lady screaming at them to leave, there are weird noises, and he’s sure he’s seeing impossible things out of his window. Combined with his best friend, Dale’s out of control science project, Josh is having a rather unusual and confusing week, but it’s about to get a lot worse!

The Human Flytrap is the first book in a new and exciting series called Scream for middle to upper primary school students. These books aim to get your heart pumping, your spine tingling and your skin prickling with goosebumps! For maximum effect, try reading these at night (stormy or windy if possible), under the covers with a torch when the rest of the household is asleep! This was how I read the Goosebumps series when I was a child, and if was great at getting me in the right mood for a fright!

I read this book quite quickly and really enjoyed it. It was an engaging and exciting read. The characters are well developed, and I really got a sense for Josh especially. He is very brave and empathetic. I liked all of the main characters actually. They are all good kids experiencing a crazy situation, but helping each other through. We will probably get to know them even better through the series. Some of the teachers at the high school are pretty strange and intimidating though. I think they might be involved in the funny happenings in town, perhaps they are even relics of the old asylum building that houses the school. I’ll have to keep reading to find out.

As an adult I wasn’t too scared, though reading about the giant sized flytrap did have me glancing over to my baby venus flytrap a bit more often than normal! My third grader is enjoying reading the Scream series.¬†She says that she wasn’t too scared while reading The Human Flytrap, it is “fun scary”. Younger readers might find it too frightening, but it really depends on the individual child as to how they will react to books like these.


Scream: The Spider Army by Jack Heath


IMG_4946Scream: The Spider Army by Jack Heath, paperback novel, 139 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2015.

Yvette lives in Axe Falls, a town where some very unusual things have been happening. A recent earthquake has left part of the high school damaged, but the kids still have to attend classes. During a food-tech class, Yvette sees a spider, but it is no ordinary spider, this one has a vivid blue streak down its back. Everyone in town has heard rumours of these blue-back spiders, rumours rife with mystery, disappearances, and death. Yvette sees more blue-back spiders, and the medical centre begins to be inundated with spider-bite victims, will Axe Falls survive the spiders?

Scream: The Spider Army is the second book in the Scream series. I’ve always thought these sort of books are best read after dark, and by torchlight, if possible, to give the maximum creepiness effect. Reading this book reminded me of nights curled up reading Goosebumps books as a child. The Spider Army didn’t disappoint in spine tingling scariness. The blue-back spiders are seriously creepy, and evil, especially the spider queen. Having suffered a couple of spider bites myself, I chose to read this book with the light fully blazing!

The story is well written, fast paced and exciting. It had all the right elements of scary fantasy for kids. I finished reading it very quickly, as did my eight year old daughter. She loved it and immediately moved on to one of the other books in the series, telling me that “Jack Heath is now my favourite author!”. I can see a lot of Scream books in our future.

All of the characters were described with enough detail to picture them clearly, and the reader was able to get to know Yvette and her brother Josh a bit more deeply. I really liked Yvette, her courage, and ingenuity, and the way she wanted to help and protect her brother and friends. All of the school staff that were mentioned seem very odd, and mildly disturbing. A school caretaker like Mr Mortimer would have been scary enough, without a plague of strange blue backed spiders as well!

Scream: The Spider Army is suitable for middle and upper primary school students. Though older children may also enjoy it, it is probably a bit too scary for younger readers. As an adult, it didn’t have quite the goosebumps inducing quality that it did for my third grader, but I still enjoyed the story a lot. I will be reading more in the Scream series.