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Our Favorite Monsters

With the season of ghosts and gobblins and monsters and mischief upon us, we thought we would share a few of our favorite monsters with you. Traditional Halloween stories take a twist in many of the international tales that follow; while tried and true classics are as humorous and entertaining as always. And just in case our monster products leave you a little spooked, we've recommended our favorite flashlights for extra comfort at bedtime.

Monsters, Inc. Monsters, Inc.
Ages: All Ages
Disney/Pixar, $29.99 (DVD)   

Top scarer Sulley (John Goodman) and his enthusiastic Scare Assistant Mike (Billy Crystal) work at Monsters, Inc., the largest scream-processing factory in Monstropolis. The main power source of the monster world is the collected screams of human children. Monsters believe children are dangerous and toxic, however, and they are scared silly when a little girl wanders into their world. Sulley and Mike do their best to return the girl home, but they face monstrous intrigue and some hilarious misadventures along the way. Product Description

Uglybuddies Uglybuddies
Ages: All Ages
Pretty Ugly LLC, $20.00

Uglybuddies match two classic Ugly Dolls into one friendship-bound pair. A larger Uglydoll holds a smaller one in its pouch. The larger doll's arms clasp with Velcro around its pouch buddy. The result is irresistibly adorable.

Scream Beam Flashlights Scream Beam Flashlights
Ages: 1 - 5 yrs.
The Little Tikes Company, $9.99

Trick-or-treating will be ghoulishly fun with these wickedly cute Halloween flashlights. Squeeze the handle to light up the night and hear each one make fun scary sounds! The assortment includes a witch, vampire, mummy, scarecrow, monster and skeleton. Also available in Glowin' Animal Flashlights to compliment any animal costume.

If You're A Monster And You Know It If You're A Monster And You Know It
Ages: 3 - 5 yrs.
Author: Rebecca Emberley   Author: Ed Emberley   Illustrator: Ed Emberley   Illustrator: Rebecca Emberley  
Scholastic Inc./ Hardcovers 2, $16.99 (Hard Cover)   

"If you're a monster and you know it, snort and growl." This appealing take on the classic children's song, "If You're Happy and You Know It," is written by Rebecca Emberley. The vibrant, color-saturated depictions of varied whimsical monsters with smacking claws, twitching tails and wiggly warts are a collaborative effort between Emberley and her father, Caldecott Award-winner Ed Emberley. A companion sing-along song by Adrian Emberely, who alters the traditional tune a bit, is available for free download, but parents and kids may have a better time singing the comical text together a capella.

Where the Wild Things Are...and Other Maurice Sendak Stories Where the Wild Things Are...and Other Maurice Sendak Stories
Ages: 3 - 8 yrs.
Scholastic Entertainment (1), $9.95 (VHS)

Any fan of the book won't want to miss this classic animated version of "Where the Wild Things Are." But the fun doesn't end there - there are 3 other Sendak stories that complete this tried and true compilation.

Another Monster at the End of This Book Another Monster at the End of This Book
Ages: 3 & Up
Sesame Workshop,

From the moment the red C in the Callaway Digital Arts logo becomes furry, we know we're in for a page-turning, screen swiping treat. Two good friends, Grover and Elmo, don't agree. Grover does not, not, not, want to see the monster at the end of the book, and, as one would expect, Elmo can't wait. Playful readers (of all ages) will delight in the challenges to remove Grover's blockades, cheer Elmo's cajoling efforts to get Grover to venture to the end of the book, and squeal with accomplishment as each page is unlocked. Along the way, children will see how Grover and Elmo's words look they are highlighted on screen, bubble over with questions to ask, and learn just how much fun can be. Kudos to Callaway.

CurlyQ Cuties' Deluxe Custom Monsters CurlyQ Cuties' Deluxe Custom Monsters
Ages: 3 & Up
CurlyQ Cuties LLC, $30.00

CurlyQ Cuties are custom, made-to-order, stuffed toy "monsters" that are available in a variety of vibrant colors and body shapes. Here's how they work: prospective monster makers log onto CurlyQ Cuties., select a color, body shape, eye color, random body part, and embroidery. The requested designs are submitted and a few days later (seriously, we got ours in three days, our other testers reported four days), a completely personalized monster arrives on the doorstep. CurlyQ Cuties come primed to be hugged and toted around.

Sesame Street: Elmos Monster Maker Sesame Street: Elmos Monster Maker
Ages: 3 & Up
Developer: IDEO Toy Lab   Producer: Sesame Workshop  
Sesame Workshop,

Elmo wants you to make a monster friend! Choose a monster body and touch its face to give it eyes, nose and a hat - there are lots and lots and lots to choose from. When you're done, Elmo will dance and play with your monster! Elmo's photos of your monster go to your iPhone/iPod's photo album. The app is updated regularly to include more seasonal accessories for your monsters, making this fun to return to time and time again.

Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, $19.99

This Xbox Kinect game's storyline follows Elmo and Cookie Monster as they read the book Once Upon a Monster along with players. In each of the book's interactive chapters, players meet new and unusual monsters who need some cheering up. How do kids assist these monsters? By helping them achieve their dreams, tackle chores, undertake an adventure, or just have fun in a series of mini games ranging from playing in a band and shooting garbage-can baskets to putting on a play and cleaning up a garden. As players progress through each level of games, they earn bright, shining stars.

Even Monsters Get Sick Even Monsters Get Sick
Ages: 4 - 9 yrs.
Author: Michael Bruza   Developer: Mitchell Cichocki   Illustrator: Michael Bruza   Music By: Susy Christiansen  
Busy Bee Studios,

This story app is a joy to play with and read, and it is a delightful way of helping young children learn the value of going to a doctor that will also lessen their fears of being sick. It models not only how to care for our loved ones when they are sick, but also the understanding that being sick doesn't last forever. The child-voiced narration couldn't be better, and the graphics embrace curious young screen swipers. Almost every page offers some type of engaging or entertaining interaction. The many participatory activities prompt readers to touch, listen, laugh, and return to the app.

Create A Monster HD Create A Monster HD
Ages: 4 & Up
Developer: justfun  
justfun, llc,

For children who like spooky things but who need an extra push toward creativity, Create A Monster HD may do the trick. There are many ways to create unique faces using parts that children can easy select and modify. Though it is pure fun, the app is well-designed and visually appealing. It encouraged repeated play.

Monsters vs Superheroes Comic Book Maker Monsters vs Superheroes Comic Book Maker
Ages: 4 & Up
Developer: Duck Duck Moose  
Duck Duck Moose,

The Monsters vs. Superheroes Comic Book Maker app has the potential to be used and played with in many creative ways. It lets little comic book creators combine a background and stickers into an action-packed comic-style scene. They can then record a story and animate it using the stickers. The stickers and background options are adorable and well-designed. Kids quickly mastered the concept and made stories up on their own. These stories can be saved and replayed later.

Make Your Own Monster Doll Make Your Own Monster Doll
Ages: 5 & Up
4M Industrial Development Limited, $13.99

Make your own Monster doll with this great kit that requires no pins or needles. Assorted felt and templates allow you to personalize your monster. Instructions and birth certificate included.

Hunk-Ta Bunk-Ta Spooky! Hunk-Ta Bunk-Ta Spooky!
Ages: 6 - 12 yrs.
Performed By: Katherine Dines  
Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Music, $15.99 (CD)   

Let imaginative children's music artist and storyteller Katherine Dine treat you to chilling and comic Halloween songs and stories draped in a creaky Southern atmosphere.

Face Art Face Art
Ages: 6 & Up
NPW USA, $9.00

The Face Art kit from NPW enables parents and kids to face paint complex designs with ease. It includes six face paint sticks, 2 sponge applicators, and 9 outline stencils. These include large mask-size stencils and smaller shapes that can enhance designs, including a mustache and a sun shape. To start, outline a large stencil with one of the face paint sticks, and then use the stick to fill in the space inside of the stencil. The packaging shows possible designs, including monstrous masks and a cute tiger. Our testers found the paint washes off of skin easily.

The Halloween The Halloween
Ages: 7 - 12 yrs.
Singing Rock Records, $12.00 (CD)   

New Orleans based singer/songwriter Shad Weathersby has recorded four excellent albums for adults, aided by his close, long-term association with piano maestro George Winston. The Halloween is his second CD for children, and he brings some of his city's mystery and magic to this fine recording. The album contains a virtual caldron of fourteen songs that playfully celebrate all that is spooky and creepy. Perhaps the best (and scariest) song on the album is the slinky vamp "Nothing but the Wind," a song akin to the classic Mike Shapiro song "Spooky." It is a great seasonal album.

Making Masks Making Masks
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Renee Schwarz  
Kids Can Press, $12.95 (Hard Cover)   

Masks are a great way for kids to explore, play and have fun. Step-by-step instructions make the thirteen unique masks featured a snap to create and decorate. Whether it’s for a Halloween party, a school play or just for dress-up, a little imagination is all it takes for children to conceal their faces — and reveal someone new in their places! Mask designs include a jolly jester, a dangerous dinosaur, a lordly lion, and a grumpy gargoyle. Book Description

Plastic Bag Monster Plastic Bag Monster
Ages: 8 & Up
4M Industrial Development Limited, $10.99

Turn all your unwanted plastic bags into an enviro project. Change them into adorable monster puppets or a nice decoration for your home. Kids will see how they can have fun recycling making toys out of something as simple as a plastic bag. The kit makes 2 plastic bag monsters and includes: card templates, wooden beads, string, plastic straws, pipe cleaners, moving eyes, double-sided adhesive tapes and detailed instructions. You need to recycle your own plastic bags and bottle tops to make the monsters' bodies.

The 13th Floor: A Ghost Story The 13th Floor: A Ghost Story
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Sid Fleischman   Illustrator: Peter Sis  
HarperCollins Children's Books / Amistad, $15.00 (Hard Cover)   

Orphan Buddy Stebbins loses his sister Liz one night and begins searching for clues in her disappear. The trail lead him to the 13th floor ... Pirates, preachers, treasures, and time-warps abound in this ghostly mystery.

NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein
Ages: 9 & Up
The New York Public Library,

Before there were horror movies, there were scary books like Frankenstein. Peruse this app's massive collection of archival materials from the New York Public Library, and you'll soon become a scholar of all things Frankenstein. This app is part of the Library's Biblion: The Boundless Library series. The series features an innovative, map-like navigation that makes it easy to immerse oneself in the stories, videos, sketches, and other materials gathered here, each of which contribute to an in-depth exploration of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein and its legacy.

Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy
Ages: 10 & Up
Her Interactive, Inc., $19.99

In this episode, Nancy continues the recent trend of exploring other cultures while solving a mystery. She arrives at the doorstep of spooky Castle Malloy in emerald environs of old Ireland, where she has traveled to be a bride's maid in a friend's wedding. But, alas, the groom is missing! Filled with clues waiting to be uncovered, loaded with eerie superstitions and even some blarney, the storyline delves into Irish countryside and culture and gives players a little taste of what it's like in the land o' leprechauns and faeries.

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