Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Scary Stories

The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. series) by Jonathan Stroud

Cover image for The creeping shadowDo you enjoy slightly spooky stories that feature a hint of mystery and a dash of adventure? Then dive into this 4th installment from the thrilling Lockwood & Co. series! Once again, the reader is returned to the alternate-London world in which deadly ghosts are a daily part of life, and only children can detect their presence. Lucy Carlisle, a freelance agent who can communicate with ghosts, is getting used to her independent life. A surprise break-in at her home, however, forces her back to her former place of employment to seek help. Lockwood & Co. may have just what she needs to help solve the break-in mystery. Trust me; you will not believe what Lucy and her friends discover by the end of this gripping tale!

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Cover image for The Night gardener : a scary storyA spooky, mysterious tree is at the center of this story. Molly and Kip encounter the Windsor family, who are in need of a housekeeper/cook and someone to take care of their yard. The longer Molly and Kip stay, the more they realize that the tree (which the house has been built around) has magical powers. They also meet a malevolent figure who only comes out at night to take care of the tree. I felt sympathy for Molly and Kip, who have to make their way in the world, because they are not sure they will ever see their parents again. I found this to be a satisfyingly creepy story. Check it out for yourself!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Cover image for The Night gardener : a scary storyWhen Molly and Kip lose their parents on their way over from Ireland to England, they are forced to work as servants at a crumbling Victorian mansion in the middle of a creepy forest.  At first they are grateful just to have food and a place to sleep, but the house and its family are not quite what they seem.  What is behind the mysterious green door?  How can the lady of the house be wearing a ring that her husband sold only that morning?  And most importantly, who is the mysterious creature that thumps around the house at night leaving a trail of leaves and mud?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Cover image for The screaming staircaseImagine working full-time and earning a salary even before your 16th birthday. In The Screaming Staircase, Book 1 of the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud, most children need to work. Why? Because of “the Problem.”  In London, ghosts have become an all too familiar sight, and anyone who is touched by one endures deadly ghostlock. Since adults can’t see ghosts; only children and teens can be agents, and daily use of lavender, iron, and salt to ward off ghostly “visitors” is the new normal. Without any adults in the new agency, Lockwood & Co. who is run by Anthony Lockwood and his two associates, Lucy and George, who are agents trained in the use of rapiers (swords) and are hired to clear areas of ghosts while solving mysteries in the process. Join them on their next case as they go down into the dark on The Screaming Staircase. Beware:  this new series is only for those who like spooky thrills and chills with a touch of mystery.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Closed for the Season: A Mystery Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Cover image for Closed for the season : a mystery storyIn the book Closed For the Season by Mary Downing Hahnmiddle-schooler Logan Forbes is clearly NOT having a good summer.  His primary goal is to find some normal friends to hang out with so he can fit in at school in the fall, but moving into the “murder house” throws a wrench into that plan. When Logan and his neighbor uncover the details surrounding an earlier murder at his new house, they are immediately thrown into the middle of a sinister plot involving embezzled money, lies, and a nighttime trek into an old abandoned amusement park called The Magic Forest. In the dark, among the graffiti-covered structures and the overgrown paths, the boys confirm it—they are in over their heads in a deathly serious way.  Do you dare to join them as they uncover the mystery behind a murder?

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Programming Assistant