Did we scare you? We hope so! Halloween is coming up and we’d love for you to use TOON’s books to discuss witches, ghosts, ghouls, vampires, boogeymen and all the other icky creatures that live under beds and inside closets.

Here at TOON, we love a good scare. And, since we know that you love free books, we’ll be giving away books to those of you who can use our titles to help your kids TOON into Halloween.

Brand-new readers should check out Chick and Chickie by Claude Ponti and Jack and the Box by Art Spiegelman.

Click here to download Chick and Chickie for FREE.
Click here to read Jack and the Box for FREE.

Jack and the Box Chick and Chickie
After Jack plays with the toy a few times, he thinks it’s silly, not scary. Why is Jack so scared when the box opens the first time? Have you ever been surprised by a present? Chick and Chickie make masks together. When they aren’t wearing the masks, they’re just Chick and Chickie. But when they are wearing the masks, they’re adorably frightening! Why does the mask make Chick scary? What is the difference between a mask and a face?
Jack’s parents get him a special box. When it opens, a surprise pops out! Why was Jack scared in the beginning, but not later on? Is there anything that used to scare you that doesn’t scare you anymore? When Chick and Chickie tickle the ‘A’, he laughs. When they bring him a cake, he’s happy. But when they run at him with an eraser, he’s terrified! Why does the eraser scare the ‘A’? How would you scare a friend? How could a friend scare you?

Emerging readers should check out Benny and Penny in Lights Out by Geoffrey Hayes and Stinky by Eleanor Davis.

Click here to download Benny and Penny in Lights Out for FREE.
Click here to read Stinky for FREE.

Benny and Penny in Lights Out Stinky
Benny and Penny’s playhouse is fun during the day, but spooky at night. Are you afraid of the dark? Why is a place that isn’t scary during the day so much scarier at night? Why would a flashlight or a nightlight help make it less scary? Stinky is a monster–though not a very scary one–and he’s not afraid of frogs, or swamps or bugs, but he’s afraid of Nick. Why is Stinky so scared by Nick? Why isn’t Nick afraid of Stinky?
At first, Benny and Penny are afraid of dinosaurs. But at the end of the book, they tell each other a story that makes them less afraid. How is the story at the end different from the scary stories they told each other before? How does the story help them to be less afraid? Stinky tries to make Nick go away by scaring him. But it doesn’t work. Why isn’t Nick afraid when Stinky pretends to be a ghost? Would you be scared if you were in Nick’s place?

Advanced beginners should check out The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra.

Click here to download The Secret of the Stone Frog for FREE.

The Secret of the Stone Frog
Leah and Alan are frightened when they come across the strange creatures of the enchanted forest. How do Leah and Alan overcome their fears when they are going through the dark cave or when they see the Bee Lady? If you woke up in an enchanted forest, what kind of creatures do you think would be there? What is the scariest thing you can imagine living there?

We’re giving away a FREE copy of the relevant TOON Book to anyone who sends us a description of how they used one of these five spooky titles with kids. Teachers can use the books in the classroom or parents can use them with their children–all that’s needed to qualify for a free TOON Book is 1) following us on Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook and 2) sending us a short description of your use of the book with kids. And of course, pictures are always appreciated! To receive a TOON Book, you just have to do one of the following:

Then send your description to by midnight on Halloween, October 31.

Happy Halloween!


Although Finnish author Tove Jansson is best known for her Moomin stories — children’s tales about the ghostly hippo-like trolls pictured above — she eventually gave up on her wide-eyed little creatures in order to focus on writing adult novels. But her stories for grown-ups are just as charming and clear-eyed as are her stories for children.

Here’s an excerpt from The Summer Book , a gentle tale about a grandmother and her granddaughter:

In the beginning, the family tried to make the magic forest more terrible than it was. They collected stumps and dry juniper bushes from neighboring islands and rowed them back to the forest. Huge specimens of weathered, whitened beauty were dragged across the island. They splintered and cracked and made broad, empty paths to the places where they were to stand. Grandmother could see that it wasn’t turning out but she said nothing. Afterward, she cleaned the boat and waited until the rest of the family tired of the magic forest. Then she went in by herself. She crawled slowly past the marsh and the ferns and when she got tired she lay down on the ground and looked up through the network of gray lichens and branches. Later, the others asked her where she had been, and she replied that maybe she had slept a little while.

And the picture that accompanies the text:

But of course, it’s not only Jansson’s stories for adults that demonstrate her ability to simply relate deeper psychological truths. The Moomin stories — her comic strips for children may have started off as more traditional adventure stories, but they evolved gradually into deceptively complex narratives that feature parodies of literary form, allusions to nuclear policy, and the difficulties of loneliness and grief.

All this is just to say: Whether books are labeled for children, or for adults, it should not be surprising that both categories offer great pleasure for anyone who can appreciate a good story.