A playlist of cool things for cool kids!

Kids rock! There's no question about it. They are simply much cooler than you and me. This playlist is for those of us just trying to keep up with these mod toddlers and hip preschoolers. It's about promoting children's books, music, and other media that rock just as much as our kids do. Check out something cool for your cool kid.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


THE HAUNTED CRAYON by David Martin Stack
[Middle Grade Chapter Book: 17,000 words, Ages 6-9]

Who’s afraid of the third grade?  Not Mark!  He has a Haunted Crayon that can bring his drawings to life BEYOND THE PAGE!  But is he about to be “drawn” into ridiculous danger?

Mark and his best friend Luna didn’t know what to think of the new kid.  Walter had problems.  For one thing, he was a buck-toothed vampire.  He couldn’t draw blood.  And he couldn’t draw either.  He needed an artist like Mark who could handle the power of the Haunted Crayon.  But the crayon was cursed.  It turns Mark into a ghost!  

An evil skull named Sligo has plans for the Haunted Crayon.  Sligo has an army of messed-up monsters and a terrible sense of humor that is almost as scary.  When Sligo turns their favorite teacher into a horrible Werebot, the friends share a crazy adventure that takes them from the dungeons of the school library to the dunes of the moon and back.  Along the way, Luna proves to be more than a rad scientist and dodgeball champion.  She’s a werewolf princess!

Can Mark, Luna and Walter protect the Haunted Crayon?  Can they turn their teacher back to normal?  Can they possibly survive Sligo’s awful jokes?  Together maybe they stand a ghost of a chance.  

The Haunted Crayon is a hilarious and spooky chapter book that is sure to appeal to boys and girls ages 6-9.  The manuscript is complete at just over 17,000 words.  It is packed with puzzles, mazes and drawing pages, and loaded with science facts about the moon.  It is the first book in a proposed middle grade series of chapter books that mix silly monsters and serious non-fiction.  


Chapter 1:  Disappearing Ink

I’m not scared of school if that’s what you think. It’s not like a math book ever said boo to me. Today was the first day of third grade at Sküll Elementary. And I was excited. I swear I was! 

So maybe my backpack was heavier this year than last year. But that was okay. Because it was full of new school supplies. I had a cool new mechanical pencil. I had brand new folders that I got to pick out all the colors. And better than that, I had a bunch of new notebooks with lots and lots of blank paper. And even better than all those things? I had new magic markers in just about every color. The magic part was that they were permanent markers! My mom finally let me have some. Everyone knows magic markers are what real artists use. No more little kid crayons for me.  

On the bus ride I couldn’t resist taking the markers out to show Luna. She wasn’t exactly impressed, but she was my best friend so she had to pretend to be. I could tell Luna was more interested in trying out the new magnifying glass her parents got her for Science class. That gave me an idea. I pulled out some of the monster trading cards I had made with my new magic markers to show her. I called them trading cards, but really they were just post-it notes that I drew my monsters on. So they were really small. Perfect for her magnifying glass. Now we were both excited.

The trading cards were of all the monsters I’ve ever met at Sküll Elementary. They weren’t real monsters obviously. There is no such thing as real monsters. But sometimes they were just as scary.  
There was the school bully who always broke my pencil tips on purpose. And there was the really loud computer teacher who didn’t like paper at all. And there was the recess monitor who wouldn’t let me draw on the playground and made me run instead. 

“I like the Ms. Gorgon one,” Luna said. Ms. Gorgon was the one with the strict rule about NO DOODLES on any schoolwork. “But I think she had more tentacles.”

We both busted out laughing.  

The bus driver glared at us in her big mirror. She shouted, “Quiet back there!” We stopped giggling as best we could. I was going to have do a bus driver monster trading card. She would have really scary eyes in the back of her head. But first things first. Luna was right. I needed to give Ms. Gorgon more tentacles.I uncapped one of my new permanent magic markers. It was bright green like a lollipop. But it smelled like shoe polish. I started to draw the extra tentacles when suddenly the bus jerked to a stop. My hand slipped.  

Next thing I know, the bus driver stomped down the aisle to our seats.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” the bus driver yelled. “Are you vandalizing the bus seat?”

I didn't even know what “vandalizing” meant. But I felt really bad about the green line — the permanent green line — I had accidentally drawn on the back of the seat.  

“Give me those markers,” the bus driver said.  

And just like magic, my markers were gone.