Kingrey Anderson (Haunted Cattle Drive, 2013) offers a fun second installment in her kid-friendly Creepers Mysteries series.
Readers familiar with Kingrey Anderson’s previous work will welcome the returns of Gillian, Harry and Arvin—three kids who can sniff out a spooky mystery faster than Scooby-Doo. This book finds the friends planning a Halloween party at the historic Hamstead Farm. According to legend, the farm was once cursed by an evil witch to spite her sister—the Goodwife of Hamstead Farm, a good witch who owned the property. It’s said that the Goodwife locked her evil sister in a gnarled old tree to end the curse and save the farm. Gillian, Harry and Arvin, while decorating the location for their party, soon realize that the old tale is more than just a scary story. After they remove a vine from around the tree, the evil witch escapes. She tasks her toads with capturing three humans to take her place inside the tree and completely nullify her sister’s spell. The trio is forced to flee from a hoard of croaking, hopping “toadies” and their floating magic brooms that can imprison human souls. The ancient witch legend provides a solid backdrop to this latest series mystery, and although the toads may not be satisfyingly creepy enough for some readers, they will likely deliver a scare to a younger audience. In the course of her tale, the author also touches on larger concepts such as bullying and self-esteem, but the heart of her story is, appropriately, the mystery. As with her first installment, Kingrey Anderson also includes a “Movie for the Ear” script that helps children to stage their own play; she breaks down the narrative text into a basic screenplay, complete with dialogue and staging instructions. She also encourages sound effects, and her clever, practical noise-making suggestions are guaranteed to have young audiences rooting through their pantries for props.
A great creative activity for kids and their families, arriving just in time for Halloween.