Tuesday, April 19, 2016

No Such Thing by Ella Bailey

Most Halloween picture books fall into two categories; the cutesy "it's not really scary" ones for younger children and the more sensitive, and the "oooooh monsters" for older/tougher readers. This, like many of Flying Eye's books, falls into no category except fun!

Skeptical and suspicious Georgia investigates the mysterious occurrences around her house. Could it be ghosts? Of course not! There's no such thing as ghosts - she points out the "real" culprits one by one, despite the plethora of little white figures hidden throughout the art. At the end, when Georgia leaves the room and closes the door, there's a surprise as all the hidden ghosts come out at once!

To be honest, the text here felt superfluous; this would have made a perfectly wonderful wordless book and I felt the text was, in places, somewhat clunky and awkward. The art, however, more than makes up for the text and really carries the whole story. Georgia is the perfect antagonist, glaring, suspicious, and superior and kids will adore proving her wrong by finding the ghosts cleverly hidden in each picture. There's just a little frisson of fear, with the mysterious happenings and odd creatures, but their activities are clearly more or less benign or simply innocent mischief. The various scenes are full of intricate details, with a strong wash of pink, in Georgia's clothes, on the walls, as a background for the bright, vintage colors and designs.

Verdict: This needs close-up viewing, so is unlikely to make a good storytime choice, even if your community is universally comfortable with Halloween/ghost stories (mine isn't). However, it's a delightful selection for kids who love I Spy type books and parents who enjoy something with a little more depth. Caregivers and children alike will enjoy poring over this one and giggling together.

ISBN: 9781909263482; Published 2014 by Flying Eye Books/Nobrow; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Added to the backlist of holiday books to purchase

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