As we gathered up unread Judy Moodys and a pile of audio books for our trip at the library the other day, Mushroom happened to spot a chapter book series I wasn’t familiar with. The Araminta Spookie books are about a girl who lives in a huge, creepy mansion with her aunt and uncle. Araminta bears a resemblance to Wednesday Addams. She desperately wants to find ghosts in the house and keeps a different bedroom full of odd supplies and experiments for each night of the week. At the end of the story, after her aunt is convinced not to sell the decrepit mansion, a new family, the Wizzards (yep, they’re wizards) move in with them to share the space and the work fixing the boiler.
One of the potential drawbacks to having a mother who thinks she knows children’s books is that she’s forever picking out all your books. I’m also a bit of a book snob, which, if you saw how I won’t read the Berenstain Bears anymore, you’ll understand. The kids do find their own way to books occasionally, but it’s honestly pretty rare that they introduce me to anything that I don’t know a thing about. Especially now that we’re moving away from picture books and into more longer read alouds and stacks of early readers, there’s less to discover on the shelves anyway. But Mushroom found this book for us completely on his own and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it.
I admit that it wasn’t the most amazing book. There are so many of these purposefully creepy, supposedly-dark-but-not-really-dark books out there now. We also sampled one of the Franny K. Stein books recently and that falls squarely in that category as well. However, (unlike Franny, who I didn’t enjoy at all) Araminta’s first person voice was well written and fun to read. There were some loose ends, but I expect they were left for future exploration. I understand there’s at least another title or two in the series, so we’ll check those out as well.