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I’ve just read a cute children’s book called ‘Valentina and the Haunted Mansion’, written by Majanka Verstraete, and illustrated by Noelle Giffin. It will be published in May, 2013, by Evolved Publishing. Even the dedication was cute: ‘Monsters aren’t always scary—sometimes they’re just as scared as we are!’ I knew when I read the dedication that this was going to be a fun story.

Valentina is angry with her parents who have brought her to a new home. She doesn’t want to move and leave her friends behind. Their new house is a mansion with hundreds of windows. A scary house in the moonlight. As she stares up at the house, she wonders what kind of monsters it might be harboring. She has no trouble imagining werewolves or witches. She’s a child vampire.

Valentina has known her share of monsters, and some don’t bother her. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t scared by mean monsters. She shivers upon entering the house of endless shadows. She’s frightened, and her brother doesn’t help. He taunts her, as siblings do. She loses control and screams that she wants to go home.

Her parents calm her down, and suggest she look for a room to call her own. She begins to explore the house, and as she does, she feels somebody watching her. I can’t tell you more without spoiling the story. But I can tell you that it’s a story you and your children can enjoy together. There are some great messages to take away from the story, too.

I can’t forget to tell you about the illustrations. I would read a page, then turn to the next and smile in delight at the pictures. Wonderful drawings of Valentina, her family, the lovely mansion, and of course a few monsters. My favorite pictures show Valentina with her two little fangs. A little black bat adorns every page of text, too. Perfect illustrations for a delightful story.

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