Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Journey to Creepy Hollow this Halloween with Erika M. Szabo and Joe Bonadonna

Nikki, Jack, and Mister Bonejingles!
They jumped to their feet at the same time. “How come you can talk?” asked Jack, feeling scared but curious. “You’re not supposed to talk, Mister Bonejingles! You’re just a wind chime.” 
“I am not just a wind chime.” Taking a step closer to get a better look, Nikki asked the silver skeleton, “Then what are you?”
“My name is Wishbone Jones.” 
“Where did you come from and how come you can talk?” asked Jack.
Creepy Hollow - Find Celestria, Wormbelow!
“I come from Creepy Hollow, a land that exists in another realm,” said Wishbone Jones. “Never heard of it,” said Nikki.
“Of course you haven’t,” said Wishbone. “Few people in your world know of its existence, and those few are all children, just like yourselves.”
“Well, my name is Jack, and this is my cousin Nikki,” said Jack. 
“I’ve been watching you two kids and it’s very nice to meet you both.”
Nikki took the wind chime off the hook and held it in her hand.
“So how did you end up here, on Grandma’s front porch?” 
“That’s a bit of a long story,” said Wishbone.
“We have plenty of time before we go Trick or Treating,” she said.
“Well,” Wishbone began, “once upon a time I was a great warrior. I fought many battles until I was badly injured in the Troll War, protecting The Trinity of Wishmothers, who watch over Creepy Hollow.” 
“You mean…you don’t mean you’re dead, do you?” asked Nikki 
“No, I’m alive but I’m not a flesh and bone man anymore,” Wishbone told her. “I’m sorry.”
 “Me, too,” said Jack. 
Nikki frowned and said, “Wait! Your body is silver. How can that be?” “The Healing Witch turned my body into silver in order to save my life. That’s how I became known as the Silver Skeleton of Celestria,” Wishbone explained with a cynical tone in his voice. 
“What’s Celestria, Mister Wishbone?” Jack wanted to know.
“Celestria is the Realm of Spirits, where I live with my friends. It’s a cemetery in Creepy Hollow.” Wishbone cleared his throat with a metallic-sounding cough. “You see, in Creepy Hollow the spirits of the dead can live side-by-side with the living.” 
“Awesome!” Jack exclaimed.
 “Wicked!” Nikki said, clapping her hands. “Okay, but now you’re a wind chime. So how did that happen?”
“Well, let me tell you, and I’ll try to make it as short as I can,” said Wishbone. “It all began with a Goblin named Hobart. Hobart was just another ordinary goblin who had fallen on hard times. He lost his job and his home and had no luck at all. So one day he went to visit The Trinity of Wishmothers and begged them for help. 
Taking pity on him, the Wishmothers gave him a test in the form of three wishes. He was supposed to use the three wishes to help others, which in turn would help him and bring him good luck. 
Hobgoblin and Tasmanian Devil
But Hobart was greedy and he used the three wishes for selfish reasons. He wished for wealth and power and fame, so he failed the test. When he wished for power his body turned strong and his new strength made him over confident and mean. 
The Wishmothers tried but they couldn’t take away the three wishes they had granted him...”
Nikki and Jack hung onto every word Wishbone said as he continued. “First, Hobgoblin used his wealth to build a great castle, which he calls Crag Heap, and he used his fame to attract a large band of followers. Then he used his power when he and his minions took over Goblin Acres and locked the mayor in the Deep Dark Dungeon.”
“That Hobgoblin sure is one bad dude,” said Jack. “He certainly is,” Wishbone agreed. “But wait, there’s more. Hobgoblin wasn’t satisfied with all that he had accomplished. He wanted more wealth and more fame, but most of all, he wanted more power…magical power. So he summoned one of his favorite minions, the Tasmanian Devil, who helped him murder the three Wishmothers... 

Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin:
Creepy Hollow Adventure 1

By Erika M. Szabo
and Joe Bonadonna

Nikki and Jack were wondering what to do until time for Halloween treat gathering! Nikki wanted to go to collect rocks since she was fascinated with them and that day, she found an especially beautiful shiny blue stone in the river... Jack on the other hand was interested in weird things and he always took a picture to post online, but when he came upon a large black pumpkin, both were excited and carried it back home to Grandmother's...

And by that time, magic had happened!

For Mr. Bonejingles, the wind chime, started talking and suggested that they not carve the black pumpkin. Well, once he got started, Nikki and Jack wanted nothing more than to learn more about a talking wind chime. Immediately Jack wanted to know why he could talk! (check out some of their conversation above). 

But, it wasn't too long before Nikki took Wishbone Jones--that was his real name--down from the hook on the porch and they set off for Creepy Hollow! And wouldn't you know that that beautiful blue stone Nikki had picked up was the magical piece needed for them to go there! And if you held that stone and said the magic words, you could go too! Or you can travel along with Nikki, Jack and Wishbone, like me, to go there right now! Soon a whirlwind of color appeared and everybody walked through! 

Whew! By this time I'm really enjoying the book...The writing is great. I always wonder how two writers work on one book. Erika Szabo has written many children's books, and this is Joe Bonadonna's first effort. I found myself comparing these magical books with the Harry Potter series. First, I found these more age appropriate and more exciting, moving more quickly into the fast-paced action. After all, Nikki and Jack had to be back home by Midnight when the the Ectomagic gate closed. The writing is edgy enough to spark an immediate interest and, for me, I was already hooked on the fantastic cover and internal pictures within the book and was so excited that the artist, Erika M. Szabo, was willing to allow me to share some of my favorites! The formatting and overall effect of the book is excellent, with each of the "spells" by the witches placed within borders for added highlighting!

Hannah - Ghoulina
Otto - Catman
The first place entered was Wormbelow and that's where Wishbone introduced us to two of his friends! We noticed right away we were in a cemetery! But here in Creepy Hollow, both the dead and alive, mostly magical creatures, are able to communicate. And the dead's ghosts float above the ground. In fact, we also met three powerful Wishmothers who had been murdered by the villain, Hobgoblin! 

The never-ending story of good versus evil is played out as, now that Wishbone is back, there is new hope that they will fight to free the land from Hobgoblin. Each of the wonderful characters have a fascinating backstory that allows readers to know and get to appreciate their personalities and magical attributes. Hannah, for instance, who prefers to be called Ghoulina, and dresses Goth all the time, was in training to become a Wishmother before they were murdered. That was bad enough, but the three women were chained inside the Black Pumpkin which, thankfully, at least had been returned home, found and carried back by Jack. Jack, by the way, was enchanted, you might say, with Ghoulina who was already able and helped out when healing was required.

Using magic, as well as intellect in working to take back all that Hobgoblin had stolen in their land. Nikki and Jack were also to be involved, empowered by the Wishmothers with strength and uniforms, as well as three wishes to be used as needed.

And the adventure of their life began for Nikki and Jack...helping all good magical people fight against the injustice that Hobgoblin had done to Celestria.

After reading what happened, and how Hobgoblin came to his doom, I wanted more! So I went out and purchased the second book and completed it last night! Wow! Start with this first one, but don't stop until you read all the exciting events that occurs! If you wish you can get both stories in one book! Wish I knew that earlier, 😖! LOL!

My review of The Power of the Sapphire Wand will be posted tomorrow. This adult loved the two books and added them to the 2018 personal favorites list! You just have to check them both out! Highly recommended!


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