From supernatural dinner services to an ominous Other Mother with buttons for eyes (BUTTONS!), these brilliant books make perfect Halloween reading, and also come highly recommended as classics of the very highest order.
With his brother ill, lonely Tom is sent to stay with his aunt and uncle. He seems set for a summer of boredom, until the grandfather clock strikes eleven, twelve, THIRTEEN! Soon afterwards, he discovers a splendid garden and catches sight of a girl in old-fashioned attire, Hatty, with whom he forms an unforgettable friendship. But the seasons are slipping by, and Hatty is growing up, and it’s almost time for Tom to leave. A beautifully haunting tale that weaves its magic on a multitude of levels.
It might be fifty years old, but this winner of both the Guardian Award and the Carnegie Medal still packs a powerfully original punch. When Alison hears an unsettling scratching on the ceiling, she’s led to discover a dinner service in the attic. Weird, wonderful and abundant in Welsh legend, supernatural suspense and tension, the latest edition of this classic includes an introduction by none other than Philip Pullman.
First published in 1973 and recently re-issued to petrify new generations, this brilliant blend of suspense and sci-fi features The Most Terrifying Aunt in Literature, ‘Grinny’, so-named for her ever-present eerie smile. Tim’s diary recounts the chilling discoveries he makes when Grinny comes to visit, and it soon becomes clear that she’s far from the innocent eccentric he’d assumed her to be. The new edition also includes a sinister sequel.
And now for a couple of contemporary classics:
When Coraline moves house she discovers an unexpected corridor beyond a bricked-up wall. It seems to lead to another house that looks rather like her own – except nothing is as it seems … In this creepy world beyond the wall Coraline encounters the button-eyed Other Mother and Other Father who want her to stay with them, and Coraline must muster all her mettle and wit to escape. Readers new to this dazzlingly original tale also have the delight of deciding whether to get hold of the edition illustrated by Chris Riddell or Dave McKean, both of which are stunning.
A truly chilling collection of short stories in the gothic tradition of M. R. James and Edgar Allan Poe, exquisitely illustrated by the inimitable David Roberts. Uncle Montague lives alone in an old house and has a penchant for telling his young nephew terrifying tales whenever he visits. But, as more tales are told, and a broader narrative is unveiled, one begins to wonder if these might not be tales at all … The suspense is truly masterful, and the dénouement deliciously dark. Also look out for Tales of Terror from the Black Ship and Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth
Happy Halloween reading...