by Bob Shea (Author) Bob Shea (Illustrator)
Reader beware! This is the scariest book ever! Or so claims its melodramatic ghost narrator. You can go ahead and turn the page, but don't expect him to come with you. Anything might pop out of that black hole in the middle of the forest. What do you mean it's just a bunny? Well, it's probably a bunny with big fangs. Watch out, it's--picking pumpkins with its friends, you say? Actually, despite the ghost's scare-mongering, none of the animal characters in the illustrations seem scary at all. . . . What's up with that?
Many delights, such as surprises after the page turn, an alarmist narrator, and punch lines to anticipate make this book a scream for both kids and parents.
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Shea's ghost narrator talks a good game about being brave, but readers will see right through him--especially after he spills orange juice on himself and spends the rest of the book "naked." (In a marvelous design touch, spot gloss is used to make the ghost barely visible.) The ghost sends readers to check out the "scary dark woods" outside, which turn out to be home to a chipper rabbit who organizes a costume party. After finally venturing outdoors, the ghost gets the fright of his afterlife when he sees the partygoers in costume. "Why didn't you warn me?" he scolds readers. "Are you trying to scare me more to death?" Playing a candy colored palette against stark blacks and whites, Shea's chic, retro graphics gleefully balance fright and fun: even amid pumpkin picking, costume making, and craft projects, the forest's trees look as sharp as knives. Ages 6-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (July)Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Silliness abounds in Shea's latest work. The narrator, a small ghost, doesn't want readers to go into the scary woods, because it is full of frightening things. He'd rather stay home and wash his sheet and eat doughnuts. He's skeptical when he hears about a cute bunny, cupcakes, and Halloween party but agrees to go into the woods to save readers from the super scary monsters. When he goes into the woods he is frightened away by the monsters, but then learns that it is just the animals in costume. He enjoys the joke, the party, and the cupcakes. The book is full of funny artwork with bright colors and comic characters. Children will get a laugh at the ghost's belly full of doughnuts. The realization that the ghost is essentially naked after taking off his sheet to wash will also amuse young readers. VERDICT A hilarious book that will keep the giggles coming, this will be a hit for Halloween read-alouds.—V. Lynn Christiansen, Wiley International Studies Magnet Elementary School, Raleigh, NCCopyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.