Seen and Not Heard
Katie May Green
Go through the gate into the grounds of Shiverhawk and you feel yourself inexplicably drawn towards the large house bathed in moonlight; follow that black cat up the stairs of the stately home and your spine begins to tingle. Enter the nursery and be gripped by further frissons of fear as you see on the wall, those portraits of ghostly children imprisoned within the frames thereon.
Notice two in particular – identical twin girls staring impassively forwards while the others seemingly glance around. Look again at those twins’ eyes – are they moving as the black cat keeps watch? Now turn the page and see closer: there’s dainty Lily Pinksweet, the oh so polite Plumseys, clever Billy Fitzbillian, kind Percy and those De Villechild twins Lila and Vila … watch those eyes.
As the night whispers so do those eyes, seemingly saying, there’s nobody watching, time to escape from our daytime imprisonment. Those all pervasive nightmarish tones begin to fade slightly as the escapees run RIOT. All except the twins who look on from the rear as the rioters make their way down the stairs for a midnight feast..
Soon the scene resembles something from Sendak’s Night Kitchen
but that is only the start of the fun. A climax builds; then the spookiness returns with ghostly feathers floating in the silence and it’s time to return before sunlight filters into the nursery, once more illuminating those angelic children – ‘Seen and not heard’. Watch out too for the three white mice that follow the children’s every move
A debut author/artist who manages to make a mini gothic horror movie with rhyming script within the covers of a picture book must surely be one to watch.
Ideal for an unusual hallowe’en story telling session but really for any time.
No Such Thing
Flying Eye Books
When strange things start happening in Georgia’s home one October, she absolutely refuses to believe it’s the work of anything supernatural. She knows who has smashed that vase, pinched her socks, swiped her crayons,
stolen the pumpkins and more besides. The evidence is right there before her eyes. Even those weird noises can be accounted for with the help of her trusty torch because well, without question, “we all know … there’s no such thing as ghosts!”
The great thing about this (or one of them) is that, unlike little Georgia, young audiences will spot the ghosty tricksters lurking at each and every turn of the page and relish so doing. That final spread is crammed full of the little spooksters having the time of their lives.
Totally involving: Ella Bailey lets her gorgeous retro-style illustrations do most of the talking in this brilliant, tongue in cheek book.
Find and buy from your local bookshop: