Picture Book Parade: Spooky Cinderellas and Grimm boogie nights

Welcome, ghouls and banshees, to Halloween Month at Postcards from La-La Land!  This month, I am focusing on twisted myths and scary fairy tales, hunting for the horrifying hearts of our favorite bedtime stories.  There will be posts on petrifying picture books, murderous middle grade novels, and terrifying tales for teens and up.

Think of this as a literary trick-or-treat through hollow hills and haunted forests, where a good spine-tingling story is the treat.

We start with seven spooky stories appropriate for all ages to cuddle with on chilly October nights.  On the Scare-o-Meter, I’d give these all about 2 or 3 out of 10 flying Hoopler vacuum cleaners.

Also, apologies in advance for all the annoying alliteration 😉

pumpkin patch

Deborah Nourse Lattimore.  Cinder Hazel: the Cinderella of Halloween.  New York: The Blue Sky Press, 1997.

Cinder Hazel cover

Cinder Hazel doesn’t sleep in the ashes because she’s forced to; she LOVES all things grimy and gross.  Every day, she sweeps dust and dirt all over the floors, and pours buckets of grime all over herself.  She’s delighted when her stepmother and stepsisters nickname her Cinder Hazel.  And she absolutely intends to attend the Witches’ Halloween Ball exactly as she is.

The illustrations are truly ghastly, with bug-eyed, goblin-faced witches; putrid, potato-headed princes; feline familiars that look like they’ve been electro-shocked; and witchy godmothers dressed in dirty dishrags.

This is a story about embracing your non-conformity, and trusting that there’s a soulmate for everyone — even a grimy goblin-witch who spreads soot everywhere she goes.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 cracked broomsticks. 

pumpkin patch

More spooks, skeletons, and scary godmothers…


  1. I think this was my favorite line: “Think of this as a literary trick-or-treat through hollow hills and haunted forests, where a good spine-tingling story is the treat.” I can’t wait to read all the rest!

  2. I don’t really have a Halloween tradition. Now, my autumn tradition is to eat a caramel apple and drink some apple cider (hot or cold). I can happily say that both of those goals have been accomplished 😀

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