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Frightfully Good Reads

Updated: Jan 28

In October’s Book Buddy Books, thrills and chills await, with nary a spook lurking in the wings. Instead, there’s wonder and fun in Clover’s “Frightfully Good Reads,” a trio of super stories you’ll want to check out as quick as you can.

Waiting on your library shelves is the tale of three goats named Gruff, a bio of a gifted filmmaker whose life played out in his work, and a graphic novel about a bunny with a questionable dark side. This month’s Picks are all treats, not tricks! Page on, enjoy.

The Community Literacy Foundation, in partnership with Neighborhood Reads and with support from its sponsors, provides these books to 40 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Youngest Read

Leave it to Mac Barnett to work his magic on a wacky, creative retelling of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” The author again teams up with master illustrator Jon Klassen, forming a dynamic duo that continues to wow readers with books that win literary prizes and grateful hearts.

The new rendition never stoops to redundancy. Its characters remain the same— a little goat, a medium-sized goat and a biggie, nonchalantly tramping across a bridge, under which a troll awaits. But catchy rhyme from the beastie peaks this version’s laugh meter.

“I am a troll. I live to eat. I love the sound of hooves and feet and paws and claws on cobblestones. For that’s the sound of meat and bones?”

As the “clip, clop” drills the bridge above him the troll loses itself in flights of food fantasy.

“I love goat! Let me count the ways. A rump of goat in honey glaze. Goat smoked, goat poached, a goat pot roast. Goat smorgasbord! Goat smeared on toast! ...” on and on the troll goes as each of the goats foil his plan to eat them up.

The story concludes on an inventive note with a head-butt of gargantuan proportion, a perfect wrap-up to a book that begs to be read aloud.

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Middle Read

Movies that thrill and chill, like “E.T.” “Jurassic Park” and “Jaws” are just a sampling of the cinematic contributions made by a filmmaker with a wide list of credits to his name. “Starring Steven Spielberg” is a colorful, in depth bio of the talented man, written by Gene Barretta, with realistic, action-driven illustrations by Craig Orback.

The book takes readers from Spielberg’s early years, as a student who struggled in school, through to his adulthood when he has a wife and children.

As a boy, Spielberg was bullied, often for his small size and because he was Jewish. His homelife, however, was happy and fertile, his parents encouraging his inquiring mind and innovative ideas. “Together, they nurtured (his) creativity and intense curiosity for everything around him."

Spielberg credits seeing the “spectacular adventure” movie “The Greatest Show on Earth” as the catalyst to his career. Sitting in the theater the movie burst to life on the screen. “I think my fate was sealed that day in 1952.” From that day on, Spielberg lived a lifetime of “movie magic.”

Reading “Starring Steven Spielberg” will make watching the movies he’s made even more enjoyable. This story is especially pertinent to those who march to a different drum reminding them to embrace individuality and the gifts each person’s uniqueness brings.

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Oldest Read

Harold, a loveable hound narrates the zany rewrite of “Bunnicula,” now offered in a new graphic novel by James Howe and Andrew Donkin. With comical illustrations by Stephen Gilpin, this wild, wooly version is based on the original 1979 favorite by Deborah and James Howe.

Harold’s story takes place in the home he shares with Mr. and Mrs. Monroe and their young sons, Pete and Toby, along with their neurotic cat Chester.

On a stormy night, life changes for the family and pets. The Monroes leave Harold in charge because they’re going to the movies to see “Dracula.” At the cinema, someone leaves a box with a bunny inside on a seat, and asks the Monroes if they will take care of it. The parents agree and arrive home later, when lightning bolts from the sky illuminating the bunny’s eyes which appear a crazed red.

Thus begins a caper spearheaded by Chester, the cat believing that the bunny, named Bunnicula, is a furry, mini-Dracula, its buck teeth fangs. In the end the real problem pet in the Monroe home might be more of a slinker than a hopper.

“Bunnicula” reemerges in fine form in this graphic novel, hilarity packaged as horror—a book sure to please.

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Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2022, Community Literacy Foundation. Reprinted with permission.

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