DOT AND DARCEY REVIEW: The Horror Handbook by Paul van Loon, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

What happens to a vampire when he dies? How does somebody become a werewolf? How can you protect yourself from witches? All of these questions and more are answered in this book, which will finally give you all the information you ever wanted to know about ghosts, zombies, monsters and all kinds of creepy-crawly creatures that give us the heebie-jeebies.
Full of tips, anecdotes and trivia- and delightfully illustrated by Axel Scheffler- Paul van Loon's The Horror Handbook is a fun and fascinating reference book for all fans of scary stories and things that go bump in the night.

Publisher: Alma Junior
Pages: 154

Halloween is a big deal in the Dot Scribbles household, Darcey has usually planned her costume by about March and we definitely get carried away with decorating the house and each other! So I was very excited when Alma Books got in touch to see if Darcey and I would like to review a book from their Junior section, The Horror Handbook. This book is marketed at ages 8 upwards but Darcey is not easily scared so we thought we would give it a go.
It's a lovely paperback book and I think that Darcey really liked the fact that it felt a little more grown up than your average picture book. It is full of beautiful illustrations by the super talented Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo and so many more) There is a picture on most pages and they bring a lot of humour to this very informative book.
Split into 9 chapters, Paul van Loon deals with everything from Vampires to Ghosts and the Walking Dead. We've dipped in and out of the book with Darcey choosing which parts she wanted me to read- she has loved the chapter on Vampires and we have re-read the one dealing with witches several times. I was impressed with the way the author approached this, he delivers a lot of information but manages to infuse it with a lot of humour and he makes it clear from the very beginning that horror and it's many characters are just a fantastic part of our imagination and not something to really be scared of:

One of the main things about horror stories is that stuff happens that can't happen in real life. Dead people come out of their graves and cut-off hands come alive. You could call it an "alternative reality". A reality where anything is possible. People who don't like horror stories don't know what they are missing.
Take vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, monsters and zombies, for example. People have been telling stories about them for centuries. In this book you will find information about where they come from, what they look like, how they behave, how to fight them and so forth. All the creeps we will discuss are actually related. This Horror Handbook is like a family portrait. Without this family of creeps, life (and books) would be a lot more boring, even if everyone knows it is all made up.

Darcey and I can highly recommend The Horror Handbook, it's been great to read it in the run up to Halloween, funny, informative and not at all patronising. I think it is a book that Darcey will keep returning to- even if it's just to get Halloween costume inspiration!

Many thanks to Alma Junior for sending Darcey and I this book to review.

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