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Araminta Spookie 1: My Haunted House

Last updated Friday, September 26, 2008

Author: Angie Sage
Illustrator: Jimmy Pickering
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0060774819
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2008

Synopsis: From School Library Journal
Araminta Spookie lives in a sprawling haunted house. She spends her days hunting for ghosts, avoiding her cranky Aunt Tabby, and helping her nocturnal Uncle Drac. In the first book, her aunt wants to sell the house and the little girl does all she can to scare away potential buyers. Things turn out better than expected when the ghost-loving Wizzard family shows interest but decides instead to move in with the Spookies. Kids who use "weird" as a compliment will delight in the charming details of Araminta's life. Trapdoors and secret passageways get her into forbidden places. Frogs, bats, and ghosts are part of the family. Pickering's full- and half-page illustrations and cobwebs dangling from the page corners add the perfect mood. These books offer few surprises, but will be fun escapism for readers who like their spooky without the scary.

Note to readers:
•  The book is wordy and you will not finish. You can skip Chapter 2 if you want to get further in the book. Vocabulary Words: turret (a round tower); boiler (a central heating furnace in old buildings); soot (black ash from the boiler or from a fireplace); joist (a cross beam on the roof);

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know of any places that are haunted? (Queen Mary, The Roosevelt Hotel)
•  Have you ever been in a Haunted House?
•  Would it be fun to live in a haunted house?
•  Do you believe in ghosts, vampires or werewolves?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If you lived in a haunted house now, would you go looking For ghosts?
•  Would you want bats as pets? Are bats good for the environment or bad? (bats eat insects that eat our plants/vegetablesthey are good for the environment)
•  Have you ever had to move? Was that a good experience or bad?
•  How would you try to stop your parents from moving?
•  Have you ever met, heard or seen a real ghost?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a pop up Halloween/Haunted House card. Take a piece of construction paper and fold it in half (short sides together) and then in half again (short sides together) so you have a card shape. Score the sides so the folds are really creased. Open the card and on the top draw a picture of your haunted house or Halloween scene. Use all of the top page. Now that you have your scene, open the paper completely and fold it lengthwise so your picture faces inside. Cut two parallel lines (no more than an inch lengthwise) where you want your pop up figures to be. Crease these tabs backwards and forwards. You can cut several tabs so you have several pop up figures. Open the paper and crease it back in to the card shape with your Halloween scene facing up. Push out your tabs. Draw and cut other Halloween figures and glue onto the tabs.
•  Make an Origami Bats, Ghosts or Jack O Lanterns. Use square pieces of paper. Instructions provided .

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!