Author: Connie Kingrey Anderson
Publication Date: January 3, 2013
Publisher: Movies for the Ear
Number of pages: 124
Recommended age: 6+ (read-aloud)
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Have you ever been in a dark woods with just the trees and the toads? Have you ever been afraid of what a toadie can do in the dark? There are TWO ways to have fun with Creepers Mysteries. Enjoy reading the BOOK (in the front). Star in your own Movie for the Ear® using the SCRIPT (in the back). You’ll have a blast! Harry, Gillian and Arvin, along with their drama club, throw a Halloween party at the Old Hamstead Farm. They are drawn into the farm’s legend, and the curse of a jealous witch and her toadies.
My Thoughts: There is a reason this series of books (currently 2 books in the series) is called Creepers Mysteries – they are just that: CREEPY! Author Connie Kingrey Anderson has come up with a unique concept in coming up with a short story (55 pages) followed by suggestions for how to create a “movie” using a script of the story in the back. While we read both books in the series (Haunted Cattle Drive and Toadies), all three of us agreed that we preferred Toadies over Book 1. It was super-creepy as a read-aloud book.
Without giving too much away, the story centres on three middle grade children, Harry and his sister Gillian, and Harry’s friend Arvin who are involved in the production of a play based on “The Legend of Hamstead Farm”, where two sisters (one good and one evil) do battle on Halloween night, ending with the Goodwife casting a spell locking the evil witch into a tree. Fast forward to the present day, when the children inadvertently break the spell binding the evil witch to the tree. Needless to say … chaos ensues.
My children and I were on the edge of our seats reading through this tension-filled, suspenseful story. Throughout the story (even in the first chapter), there is a strange noise that can be heard, “Hop, thud, brush…” Of course, this plays an important role in the story and the explanation is slowly revealed as you turn the pages. I have to say though, that it literally was very creepy and every time I said that line, my kids hugged each other. The author does a great job of creating a mood that just seems so appropriate for this time of year (i.e., Halloween). This was another story where my kids were begging, “One more chapter Mom, pleeeeease?!”
One word about the inclusion of the script in the back of the book. I am rather ambivalent about this part. I initially thought it would be fun to act out the story with the kids, but it quickly became evident that this would not be possible with only one book to share among us. However, I can see my daughter and her peers running with this concept and putting on a play with music and costumes and perhaps a bit of improvisation if they could share a few copies amongst themselves. And, of course, a classroom could re-enact the play as well if there were enough copies to go around. It would definitely be a fun classroom project.
My bottom line: Toadies is the second book the Creepers Mysteries book series by Connie Kingrey Anderson and my kids and I all enjoyed this very spooky short story (55 pages). I was ambivalent about the inclusion of the script at the end of the book, but felt that it would be useful in the appropriate context. I recommend this book as a read-aloud story for children aged 6+ who like creepy stories (and who won’t have nightmares if easily frightened).
*** This book was provided to us free-of-charge by the author in exchange for an honest review.***