Leo a ghost story
Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson
Leo is a house ghost – we readers can see him but others can’t. He’s been in his current residence for years, drawing and reading,
but one spring day a new family moves in and Leo becomes a host ghost. His efforts definitely aren’t appreciated by the incomers who immediately decide the house is haunted and call in all manner of exorcists.
Leo decides to move out anyway and goes a-roaming in the city. People walk past or even through him until his wanderings eventually result in an encounter with a young pavement artist, Jane who mistakes him for an imaginary friend.
“If I tell her I am a ghost, I will scare her away,” he fears.
Then late at night a thief enters Jane’s home, Leo apprehends him by donning traditional ghostly garb
and finally gains acceptance as the being he truly is.
Christian Robinson’s wonderful retro-style illustrations, executed with collage and paint in suitably spectral shades work so well in combination with author Mac Barnett’s matter of fact, economic narrative style: ‘ A squad car came and hauled the man off the jail. That was that.’ he comments when the thief is taken by the police.
And, “Jane I told you a lie. I am a ghost … I am just your real friend.” “Oh!” said Jane. “Well that’s even better.”
This is a wonderfully wise, warm story of friendship and acceptance, and a great one for sharing at this, or any time of the year, especially accompanied by honey toast and mint tea.
The Mystery of the Haunted Farm
Newly moved into the farm, Farmer Grey is more than a little discombobulated by the phantoms that seem to have invaded his residence during his somnambulatory activities.
So, the terrified fellow calls in the Ghost-Hunters who quickly confirm that neither the pond, nor the farmhouse itself have any ghosts – according to their Scare-o-Meter, the Phantom Finder 5000 that is. So it’s off to check the barn, but the seeming invasion by ‘terrifyingly gooey supernatural creatures’ doesn’t register on that PF5000 either. What can be going on?
But then, a clue leads to the chicken coop up on the hill and it’s a case of follow those goats and see what’s going on in that ‘incredibly creepy chicken coop’
Once inside and down the stairs, those Ghost-Hunters are amazed at the sight before their eyes: an underground fear factory the likes of which they’ve never seen before.
But why are all those animals taking on ghostly or ghoulish appearance? Mother Hen starts to explain and all is about to be revealed in an amazing show-stopping finale …
I won’t reveal the rest of this brilliantly funny romp but suffice it to say that the moon has something to answer for and those Ghost-Hunters put a pretty clever training plan into action, which is highly effective …
most of the time.
Definitely other winner from the stupendously clever Elys Dolan
For older readers:
Flo, the modern young witch with a worldy-wise, rather eccentric Gran and a sceptical mum returns for a second Haggspitt extravaganza. Herein she has to take on the horrifying Haggfiend – head and arms of Hagg and body of Fiend with ‘evil in her cold cruel heart’; but is she real or merely a character from that book of Magical Myths.
As with the first story, there’s plenty of excitement and humour sizzling away between those gorgeous Chris Riddell covers. I can’t envisage many 8s to 10s not being caught up and swept along by this super, spellbinding story narrated by Flo herself. I was!
Use your local bookshop
For plenty of visual thrills visit the wonderful Children’s Books Illustration Autumn Exhibition at Waterstones, Piccadilly 23rd-29th October