Gently Scary Picture Books

Updated October 5, 2023
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The scariest kitten in the world
Messner, Kate
WARNING! This is a VERY scary story. It is the most spine-chilling story anyone has ever read. It takes place in a horrifying haunted house (okay, not that terrifying) . . . with a creepy creature (well, maybe not that creepy) . . . and its frightening friends (but are they that frightening?)....
Leo : a ghost story
Barnett, Mac
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2015 You would like being friends with Leo. He likes to draw, he makes delicious snacks, and most people can't even see him. Because Leo is also a ghost. When a new family moves into his home and Leo's efforts to welcome them are...
Benita and the night creatures
Llanos, Mariana
"Young book lovers will relate to Benita's devotion to reading and be amused by the friendly night creatures, who are all based on Peruvian legends" - The Horn Book Magazine Benita loves to read in bed but keeps getting interrupted by a whistling Tunche, a scary Supay and...
Hardly haunted
Sima, Jessie
From the bestselling creator of Not Quite Narwhal comes a delightfully spooky story about an old house who wants to be a home...even if her new family isn't what she expected. House has a problem. She's a little spooky. She's a little cobwebby. Oh, no! What if...
The monster mac and cheese party
Parr, Todd
Through his signature illustrations that explode with fun and flavor, New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr invites everyone to the funkiest, most unforgettable potluck on the block. We all know kids love macaroni and cheese. But...
Creepy pair of underwear!
Reynolds, Aaron
From the celebrated team behind Creepy Carrots!, Aaron Reynolds and Caldecott Honor winner Peter Brown, comes a hilarious (and just a little creepy) story of a brave rabbit and a very weird pair of underwear. Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He's not afraid of...
Gustavo, the shy ghost
Drago, Flavia Z.
A #1 New York Times bestseller! This winning debut picture book from Mexican artist Flavia Z. Drago about finding the courage to make friends is perfect for the spooky season -- or anytime. Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through...
Boo who?
Clanton, Ben
A shy little ghost who's new to the group has trouble fitting in -- until his special talent comes to the fore. Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can't play any of their games. ("You tagged me? Oh,...
Creepy crayon!
Reynolds, Aaron
From the team behind the New York Times bestselling Creepy Carrots! and Creepy Pair of Underwear! comes the third in this hilariously spooky series about a young rabbit and his peculiar encounters--featuring a sinister crayon! Jasper Rabbit has a problem: he...
I want to be in a scary story
Taylor, Sean
Monster may think he wants to be in a scary story, but then again . . . A hilarious return by the team that brought us Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise. Our author would like to write a funny story, but his main character -- Monster -- has a different idea. He...
The scariest book ever
Shea, Bob
A silly (and actually not TOO scary!) story perfect for Halloween read-alouds, from favorite funny man Bob Shea! "A delight for kids who have graduated from Hervé Tullet's work and such classics as There's a Monster at the End of This Book." -- Kirkus Reviews ...
There's a monster in your book
Fletcher, Tom
UH OH! There's a MONSTER in YOUR book! Shake, wiggle, and tickle the monster out in this interactive bedtime read-aloud that launched the Who's In Your Book series! With the irresistible pull of Hervé Tullet's Press Here and the charm of The Monster at the End of This...
Ghosts in the house!
Kohara, Kazuno.
JUST THE RIGHT MIX OF SWEET AND SCARY for the youngest trick-or treaters At the edge of town lives a clever girl with a spooky problem: Her house is haunted! Luckily, she happens to be a witch and knows a little something about taking care of ghosts. She catches them, puts them...
Quit calling me a monster!
John, Jory
The talented creators of I Will Chomp You! brilliantly frame the struggle to buck stereotypes and learn empathy in this monster's hilarious lament. Floyd Peterson is so much more than shaggy purple fur and pointy monster teeth- why can't people just see him for him?...
Monsters 101
Atkinson, Cale
Monsters! They're so much more than just that scary thing under your bed. Join Professors Batula McFang, Blobbins, and Howlsworth, and their trusty lab assistant--a zombie named Tina--as they reveal eerie and frankly ridiculous monster facts, never uttered outside a crypt! For example- ...
Why did the monster cross the road?
Stine, R. L.
From beloved, bestselling children's book icons, R.L. Stine and Marc Brown, comes a storybook filled with hilariously spooky jokes and fun-loving monsters that will have everyone giggling! Why did the monster cross the road? To BITE someone on the other side! ...
Creepy carrots!
Reynolds, Aaron
In this Caldecott Honor-winning picture book, The Twilight Zone comes to the carrot patch as a rabbit fears his favorite treats are out to get him. Jasper Rabbit loves carrots--especially Crackenhopper Field carrots. He eats them on the way to school. He eats...
Ginny Goblin cannot have a monster for a pet
Goodner, David
Ginny Goblin may be a monster, but she CANNOT have a monster for a pet in this action-packed, laugh-out-loud adventure perfect for fans of Jon Klassen, Peter Brown, and Vera Brogsol. Perhaps a pet will teach clever Ginny Goblin some responsibility. Fish make good pets. So do hermit crabs....
Troll and the Oliver
Stower, Adam
Meet a little boy named Oliver . . . and the troll who desperately wants to eat him! Every day when Oliver goes out, Troll tries to eat him. But catching Oliver is very tricky--he's fast, sneaky, and just too clever! It is only when it looks like Troll has given up and Oliver...
The gruffalo
Donaldson, Julia.
The best-selling modern classic!"A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good."Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when the quick-thinking mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake and a hungry gruffalo . . .Julia...
Room on the broom
Donaldson, Julia.
This fun family read-aloud is the perfect way to start Halloween celebrations with a sweet-but-slightly-spooky story that makes it an ideal gift book The witch and her cat couldn't be happier, flying through the sky on their broomstick-until the witch drops her hat, then her bow,...
The goblin twins
Cha, Frances
Two 601-year-old goblin tricksters from Korea go on an unexpected Halloween adventure in New York City in this tongue-in-cheek story from Frances Cha, critically acclaimed author of If I Had Your Face, and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Jaime Kim. "A...
There's a ghost in this house
Jeffers, Oliver
A captivating and utterly unique picture book with interactive, transparent pages about a girl who lives in a haunted house from world-renowned artist Oliver Jeffers. A young girl lives in a haunted house, but she has never seen a ghost. Are they white with holes for eyes? Are...

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