Golden Book Award finalist
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A fun story for kids 6-14 with plenty of character interaction woven into a backdrop of scary danger, heroic action and lessons to be learned.
Go on a journey with Nikki and Jack to Creepy Hollow to free the Wishmothers.
Coauthors of the book
Erika M Szabo
Snippets from the book
All this is mine, he thought. But I want more and I will have more. I will have it all: Gnome Town, Gremlinville, Troll Haven, Impburg, Pixieland, Ogre Mountain… the whole world of Creepy Hollow will soon be mine!
Standing only 4-feet tall, Hobart was nonetheless something of an imposing figure. His large, floppy ears fanned his face as he walked, and when his ears flopped forward his long beaklike nose stuck out between them like a pointing finger.
His thin lips broke into a grin showing his sharp fangs as he jutted his pointy chin forward. “Once upon a time.” he murmured under his breath, “I was just an ordinary Goblin, but look at me now! I am great, I am powerful, and I am Hobgoblin, the Master of Goblin Acres.”
He turned from the window and lifted his skinny, green leg to take a proud step forward. His boney knees bent and cracked as he took another step toward his favorite chair and put his hands, with their vulture’s claw-like fingers, on his hips when he saw his henchman standing on his chair.
“Not yet, Master,” said Ebenezer Rex. He didn’t show fear and remained in the chair despite his master’s angry words.
Hobgoblin let it slide because he needed him to do his dirty deeds. Ebenezer was once a man, a very cruel and sick-minded man, who liked to hurt young children. When he was finally captured by the good witches known as The Trinity of Wishmothers, who rewarded good deeds and punished evil, Ebenezer was tried and convicted and turned into a Tasmanian Devil as punishment for his crimes. Although he served Hobgoblin faithfully, first and foremost in Ebenezer’s cold heart was his desire to have his revenge on The Trinity of Wishmothers.
“Why not?” Hobgoblin demanded. His big, floppy ears trembled with anger.
As wicked and mean as he was, old Ebenezer Rex was also cunning. He knew he had to fake fear in the presence of Hobgoblin if he, for his benefit, wanted to stay in his castle. “Forgive me, O great and powerful Hobgoblin,” he said in a submissive tone of voice, although the mocking expression on his face betrayed him. “I went back to Celestria and searched all over, but all I could find, all I could locate, and all I could…”
“What did you find?” Hobgoblin interrupted, ignoring Ebenezer’s mocking tone, for the time being.
“The thief who snuck into your castle, stole the three Wands and then escaped right under our very noses,” Ebenezer replied. He turned to a pair of Gnome soldiers standing guard at the entrance to Hobgoblin’s chamber, and then snapped his fingers.
More in the book... HERE
Grandma Sweet felt the strange, quiet buzzing and humming in the air that hinted at the magic and mystery that comes only during the month of October, on the morning of Halloween.
“You kids better not go too far from the house!” she yelled on her way to the kitchen as she spotted her grandchildren rushing toward the back door. The smell of cookies baking in the oven was mouth-watering, and Grandma Sweet wondered why it didn’t stop the children, as it usually did, from rushing out of the house.
The screen door flew open with a bang! Nikki Sweet and her cousin, Jack Brady, charged from the house, across the back porch, down the steps, and into the big backyard. Beyond the white picket fence lay Weeping Meadow, and beyond that, the small town of Diddlebury.
“It’s Saturday,” said Nikki, adjusting the backpack she wore every day and carried with her everywhere she went. “No school!”
Jack carried his favorite messenger bag on his shoulder because he thought wearing a backpack made him look childish, but the shoulder bag made him look cool. Except for when he carried his books to school, the messenger bag was always empty, just in case, he found some weird things to bring home.
“Better than that, it’s Halloween!” Jack said. “Let’s get out of here before Grandma goes and changes her mind.” He winked at Nikki playfully.
Nikki tugged three times on her left earlobe. “Okay, let’s go. Ready?” she asked, leaning forward, getting ready for their usual race to the front gate.
“Why are you doing that?” Jack asked, staring at Nikki.
“Doing what?” Nikki asked, surprised.
“You always pull your ear three times before you leave the house. Do you have OCD? Because if you do it’s okay. Penny, a girl in my class, has these peculiar rituals and she told me that it helps her anxiety when she does them.”
“No,” Nikki laughed. “I don’t have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It’s a game Grandma started playing with me when I was younger. I told her once that I needed good luck with my math test, so she told me to tug on my ear for good luck. I passed the math test, so I thought pulling on my ear worked, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
“Okay,” Jack said and nodded with a wide grin on his face. He was sure he could win this time. He looked at Nikki and said, “Steady.”
“Go!” Nikki yelled.
They raced each other across the backyard and toward the gate in the fence. Nikki, one year older than her mischievous cousin Jack, who was eleven, reached the gate first.
“I win!” she cried.
“You always win,” Jack complained with a sourpuss expression on his oval face.
Nikki tried to ease his sadness and made a mental note to let him win next time. “That’s because I’m a year older than you.”
Jack shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. He pushed his chest out like a fancy peacock, brushed lint from his T-shirt and boasted, “But I’m bigger than you!”
“Yup, it’s true, but I’m faster than you!” Nikki said, although not really feeling sorry for Jack anymore. You can forget it, buster! I’m never gonna let you win.
Nikki opened the gate and they wandered over to the small, shallow creek running alongside the house. Not far from the creek, the leaves and branches of the weeping willows of Weeping Meadow danced in the breeze.
More in the book... HERE
~Mary Ann Vitale, award-winning author of The Water Lily Fairy and The Street Where the Dollar Tree Grew
"I had such fun reading this, it’s a while since I’ve read a book written for children, and I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of sophistication there is, while still maintaining a tale suitable for the younger reader. The characters leapt off the page, acted naturally and, this is important for me as a reader, I felt for them, cared for them. There were distinct differences between the different stars in the book, both the real children and the mythical ones, well described and the writing flowed from page to page. I must also mention the illustrations, also delightful, although there were fewer towards the end of the book and I would have loved more of them. A great book to buy for your children or grandchildren."
~Author Lucinda E. Clarke
"Three Ghost in a Black Pumpkin: A Creepy Hollow Adventure by Erika Szabo & Joe Bonadonna is a Halloween Howling Hit! I loved this action packed scary tale from beginning to end and it will certainly engage young readers at home or school. The protagonists are Nikki and Jack, two cousins visiting Grandma's house on the eve of Halloween. While the two children go walking in the woods, they find a keystone, black pumpkin, and Wishbone, a talking skeleton. When Wishbone tells Nikki and Jack about the three Wishmothers who are trapped inside the black pumpkin, they embark on an exciting journey to find three magic wands, battle the antagonists, Hobart and his Tasmanian Devil, who are conjuring all sorts of hocus pocus mayhem in Creepy Hollow. So Nikki, Jack, and Wishbone enter a special portal transporting them to a place called Wormbelow to save Creepy Hollow. Upon exiting the portal they find themselves in a cemetery filled with pretty flowers, tall trees, and glistening spider webs. Wishbone explains the graves are empty because the spirits are free to fly around. Suddenly, Wishbone's friends appear, Catman and the beautiful Ghoulina. Wishbone introduces his friends to the children and they quickly update him on Hobart's plan to destroy Creepy Hollow. Fascinated by everything he sees, young Jack tries to take pictures with his cell phone to capture the incredible surroundings and creatures. Meanwhile, Nikki carefully listens to how Hobart has locked up the mayor of the town and taken charge of Creepy Hollow. Unfortunately, Creepy Hollow does not offer internet and cameras won't work in this mythical place much to Jack's disappointment. Previously, while Wishbone was dualing Hobart, he cleverly hid the three magic wands. Now, the clock is ticking until midnight when the portal closes and the children can return home for the five friends to find the three magic wands, free the three Wishmothers, and restore harmony in Creepy Hollow. Luckily, the three Wishmothers have granted them three magic wishes which they must learn to use wisely for the plan to work. Together the five friends will venture the Red Crow Forest, the Cave of Spooks, and the Tower of Shadows, battling every mythical creature along the way to save the day. This is book one in a series and I am already wondering what ghoulish adventures await this heroic team. As a teacher, I look for books that teach a good lesson and this one will not disappoint. I recommend this book for home or school libraries for children from ages 6 to 12. I gave it 5 Howling Halloween stars!"
~Children's author and teacher Janet Balletta