Author: Lesley Livingston & Jonathan Llyr
Synopsis: Monster-mashers and babysitters extraordinaire Cheryl and Tweed are back, along with their friends Pilot and Artie – and they’re in trouble again!
This time, they’re tangled up in some ghostly goings-on: solving the mystery that lies behind the creepy doors of Hecklestone Manor, Wiggins Cross’s only genuine haunted house. The gang must face off against a whole new host of horrors, including gargoyles, possessed drive-in movie speakers, and a gaggle of ghoulish ghosts.
At the same time, Cheryl and Tweed must defend their babysitting turf against the rival sitters in the town – in a contest of wits, guts and sitter-fu!
Huge thank you to Puffin Canada / Razorbill Canada for this ARC!
I’m not going to lie here — How To Curse In Hieroglyphics was one of my all time favourite reads of last year, and it was one of the few middle grade novels that I shoved onto my friends,begging them to read it. Lesley Livingston and Jonathan Llyr know how to infuse humor and charm into their characters, and frankly, these are some of the best written children I’ve come across in middle grade because they behaviour like should — sneaky, curious, crazy, children.
Needless to say, after I finished the first book in this series, I was crazy curious to find out what C+T’s next wild adventure would be, and what perfect timing, it’s a haunted house adventure just before Halloween. This book borrows from all the classic horror tropes of what people view haunted houses as and stays true to these tropes to a point… and then flips them right upside down. That really is the magic of this series — it makes B-grade horror film topics accessible for any age, gives you a surprising amount of information on the genre but never enough to overload a young reader. This is something I greatly appreciate because the humour is still very much the focal point of the story.
I will admit though, I was getting worried when Artie didn’t show up right away in this book. He’s my favourite character and his antics in this instalment may have trumped what he did in the first book. I also loved the ACTION!!! sequences in this novel, though admittedly, not as much as the first book. They were still equally crazy, and a nice break from the overall text, but for some reason this time they didn’t have the same kind of impact on me they did the first time around. I think the artwork is even better in this book compared to the first and Steven Burley deserves quite a bit of credit for some of the things he had to draw this time around!
I think this is the perfect middle grade Halloween read. Not only will it get you in the mood for all things spooky, but this book is just as fun as the first one. This is definitely one book to put on your Halloween favourites list or to hand over to one lucky trick-or-treater because they will have a ball with this instalment. I cannot wait to see what Cheryl and Tweed’s next adventure will have in store for them.