Kids will love creeping through the pages of ’Frightlopedia’

You’ve had your Halloween costume picked out for months.

Though you won’t officially wear it for another few weeks, you put it on now and then because it’s just — incredibly — awesome. You’re really going to scare the socks off a lot of people with it, so now’s the time to add more awesomeness by reading “Frightlopedia” by Julie Winterbottom, illustrated by Stefano Tambellini.

Oh, how you love to get scared! That’s a pretty common thing; in fact, thousands of years ago, the Romans loved to tell ghost stories, too. Being scared but knowing that the danger isn’t real “can feel deliciously good,” and this book (organized alphabetically, and with a “Fright Meter”) can help keep your creep.

We start with things that may crawl across your arms: spiders! Here’s where we learn that arachnids can be deadly, or they can be kinda friendly. And they can spin the creepiest of webs that might literally shut down a business.

If mummies are more your thing, then take a trip to the Capuchin Monastery in Italy, where row after row of mummies are dressed in their finest clothes. No, they’re not going anywhere because they’re all dead — but they will stare at you and smile. Also check out a picture of a 2,000-old mummy who looks like she died just yesterday.

Did you know that nearly half of all Americans say they believe in ghosts? And did you know that there are several kinds of ghosts that can haunt you? Find out more, and read about famous ghosts and haunted houses from around the world. But first — better leave the lights on.

In this book, you’ll read about scary things you can touch … or maybe not touch, like snapping crocodiles, sneaky rats and deadly snakes. Find out where you never ever want to go swimming. Read about a killer tree, and why you won’t even want to breathe when you’re around it. Of course, you’ll learn about vampires, monsters, zombies and Bigfoot here. And you’ll read a few ghost stories, so you can learn to write a spine-tingling tale of your own.

Ever since your child has been young, (s)he’s known that you’d be around for comfort when things got too scary. Well, stand by. What’s inside “Frightlopedia” may still leave you on sentry duty.

There’s no doubt that this is a book kids will want to read. Fifth to ninth graders will find plenty to learn, with quick articles, great illustrations by Tambellini, and creepy chills on each page. There are activities here, too, which is where parents beware: Some projects are quite benign, while others absolutely require parental permission, especially if there are younger children in the house. Winterbottom is quick to remind kids to ask an adult, but this is something parents will need to monitor.

That aside, this is a great book for mummies, monsters, zombies and ghosts ages 10-14, and the chills it conjures will have them reaching for it again and again. For them, “Frightlopedia” will be a boo-tiful thing.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of books for children weekly.

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