The Scary Places Map Book: Seven Terrifying Tours, by B.G. Hennessy, illustrated by Erwin Madrid (Candlewick, July 10, 2012, for kids 5, or even a bit younger, and up), takes kids on a series of interactive journeys to fantastically spine-tingling places. Beginning with the Ghostly Galleon Cruise of the Seven Seas, passing through Transylvania (and other spooky places), and ending with a tour of the Museum of Haunted Objects (my favorite) the young reader is first given a small bit of context, and then is directed by the text to pass from one stop on each gridded map, or cutaway of a building, to the next.
Here's an example, from the Museum: "From the Potions Exhibit, take the Crooked Stairs down one flight to the Ghostly Gallery (H3-I3) for a lovey overview of the Rotunda of Possessed Sculpture." It's a lovely way to introduce the concept of co-ordinates!
The illustrations are beautifully detailed--there's lots of scope for engrossed pouring-over-ness. And at the end, the young reader is encouraged to go back and find the hidden extras in each picture.
It's a great one for the kid who likes picture search books, the kid who likes fantasy realms, or simply the random kid who wants something a bit different! It has staying power for the older kid--my own nine-year old passed a pleasant time following the directions as I read them, and even though he's perfectly capable of reading to himself, it is still lovely to enjoy sharing a book like this together.
Although the tours are billed as "terrifying," they aren't actually so much so as to distress the young reader--if your child can handle standard Halloween decorations, it will be just fine.
(disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher)