Just in time for Halloween

Bonnie Belec
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Books share scary stories from around the world

It’s just about time for one of our  favourite events of the year — Halloween.

Liam and Lindsay Belec Rice take a break from reading for a spin on the “Scrambler.”
— Photo by Bonnie Belec/The Telegram

And we have been getting into the spirit for about two weeks, starting with a visit to Lester’s Farm and its pumpkin patch and corn maze, complete with wacky creatures dressed in wacky attire.

We also managed to squeeze in one more spin around the Thomas Amusements carnival. I know what you are all thinking, but living in Newfoundland and Labrador, you all know our exposure to thrill rides is limited. And I use the word “thrill ride” loosely, but for two eight-year-olds the Catch ’N’ Air and Scrambler rides are pretty awesome.

Wait till we hit Disney World next year; they’ll be beside themselves.

Last month, we told readers about Ben, Jake and Lily — three best buds who love sharing stories. The three children have been brought together in a wonderful set of books called the Easy-to-Read Wonder Tale series.

Each book has three chapters and is made up of a story from each child.

Created by Veronika Martenova Charles, illustrated by David Parkins, the series takes readers on a journey around the world using familiar stories with different twists depending on what country’s perspective the tale comes from.

It’s made up of five books — “It’s not about the Diamonds!” “It’s Not About the Tiny Girl!" “It's Not About the Ball!" "It's not About the Beanstalk!” and “It's Not About the Straw!” — and introduces children to chapter reading.

Her website, veronikacharles.com, is where we found out that there is a another part to the Easy-to-Read Wonder Tale series — five more books as well as the Easy-To-Read Spooky Tales series.

 We are having a blast reading this series, which is made up of 10 books — “Don’t Go In There!,” “Don’t Go Into The Forest!,” “Don’t Go Near The Water!,” “Don’t Open The Door!,” “Don’t Walk Alone At Night!,” “Don’t Eat That!,” “Don’t Enter The House,” “Don’t Forget!,” “Don’t Talk To Strangers!,” and “Don’t Touch That!”

We don’t have them all read yet, but we have read about half. In this series, Martenova Charles has taken a different approach to the endings of the stories. She leaves it open to interpretation and invites the readers to suggest different endings of their own.

It’s creative and got Lindsay and Liam using their imagination. I’m more old-fashioned and prefer the traditional stories when the writer provides the ending.

In this series, there are three boys instead of two boys and a girl — much to Lindsay’s disappointment — but they follow the same idea. They each take turns telling multicultural stories that serve as a warning.

Each chapter is short and the language is relatively simple; it's a great set of books to get children interested in the next level of reading. Some of the stories come from a variety of countries, including Scandinavia, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Russia.

“Don’t Go Into the Forest”  tells three stories from Native American legends and the Philippines. Each one talks about different scary beings living in the woods such as Berbalangs that “turn into heads with wings and their eyes glow. They make loud cries. But as they get closer, they become quiet.”

Lindsay and Liam say the books are not that scary, and they aren’t really, but they are different and a lot of fun to read.

Until next time, happy reading and Happy Halloween.

Bonnie Belec is a Telegram reporter and the mother of eight-year-old twins Lindsay and Liam. She can be reached at bbelec@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Disney World

Geographic location: Lester, Newfoundland and Labrador, Scandinavia Sierra Leone Iraq Russia Philippines

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