The Kids Are All Right

Dinosaurs, Halloween, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! As you read this, I should be either driving to the Smoky Mountains or already there. We were originally going to go to the beach two weeks ago, but alas Hurricane Ian ruined those plans. I love the Smoky Mountains though, and we’re looking forward to visiting Dollywood and getting in some good mountain scenery! It should be beautiful this time of year; I will share a picture when I’m back!

Bookish Goods

Dinosaur Book Pins by MThorle

Dinosaur Book Pins by MThorle

My kid loves dinosaurs, as do I, and these bookish ones are right up our alley! $3+

New Releases

Cover of Undercover Latina by de León

Undercover Latina by Aya de León (middle grade)

Prepare to have your socks knocked off by this awesome new middle grade novel that manages to pack so much into a thoroughly entertaining story. 14-year-old Andréa Hernández-Baldoquín works as a spy for a BIPOC spy organization that focuses on uncovering white supremacist terrorists. Her first solo assignment is to pose as a white student and get close enough to the son of a terrorist to see if she can uncover his father’s whereabouts. To develop a friendship with him, she learns how to play a card game, and in so doing, starts to fall for her target’s best friend and roommate, Rámon. With action-packed scenes, cosplay, romance, and thought-provoking discussions of race, this powerful middle grade is one of my favorites from the year.

Cover of Pop-Up Topics: Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures by Roi

Pop-Up Topics: Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures by Arnaud Roi, illustrated by Charlotte Molas

This pop-up dinosaur book is super neat. It probably would not hold up long in a public library, but if you’re giving any gifts to preschool dinosaur lovers over the holidays, definitely keep this one in mind. Each page features a new dinosaur pop-up, from the Tyrannosaurus Rex on the cover (my daughter’s favorite dinosaur) to the Argentinosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus. I watched the most recent Jurassic World movie over the weekend and I was able to identify many of the dinosaurs in the movie thanks to books like this!

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Halloween is right around the corner so if you haven’t already, get those Halloween books out and start reading! These are four of my favorite new Halloween or spooky-themed children’s books.

Monsters Play . . . Peekaboo by Flavia Z. Drago (board book)

This adorable interactive board book is the perfect Halloween read for toddlers. I love Flavia Z. Drago’s vibrant illustrations, and this even includes a surprise guest from her previous picture book Gustavo, the Shy Ghost. It also encourages readers to make spooky sounds with each of the monsters. Be prepared to read this one 20 times in a row.

A Friend for Ghost by Suzanne Kaufman (picture book)

I am a sucker for cute ghost illustrations, and the ghost in this picture book is one of the more adorable ones I’ve seen. The glasses! *heart eyes* Ghost is lonely, and wants to play with friends, but no one can see Ghost, which makes it a little hard. Then Ghost meets Balloon and finds a ready and willing friend. But when a hide-and-go-seek game goes wrong, Ghost loses Balloon. Don’t worry, this one has a happy ending! You can see a couple of images from the book on my Instagram! I lucked out and brought it along to a pumpkin stand for pictures and it just so happened that the stand was ghost-themed!

The Most Haunted House in America by Jarrett Dapier, illustrated by Lee Gatlin (picture book)

This fun read-aloud features a skeleton band performing at the White House for our favorite presidential family — the Obamas. While all is fun and games outside, when the band moves inside, they find the White House haunted! Thankfully, even the ghosts on the inside know how to rock. This is delightfully rhythmic and would make a great segue into talking about the White House!

Freddie Vs. The Family Curse by Tracy Badua (middle grade)

This is a non-scary middle grade about family curses and evil spirits. Freddie and his family are well known for their bad luck and clumsiness, which has earned Freddie the nickname of Faceplant Freddie. When he discovers an amulet from the Philippines, he thinks his luck has changed, but then it turns out the amulet is haunted by his bad-tempered great-granduncle Ramon, and that the evil spirits who murdered him have returned. With lots of adventure, friendship, and breakdancing (yes, breakdancing), this novel is a super fun read, and perfect for the Halloween season.

Halloween puppet craft the kids are all right

If you’re looking for an easy Halloween craft, Marian and I made these stick puppets using popsicle sticks, crayons, construction paper, and tape (glue works just as well). She’s currently at the playground with her Daddy putting on puppet shows with them! We drew our own characters and cut them out (it might be hard to tell with our excellent art skills, lol).

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury