Hardly Haunted

S. & S. Sept. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534441705.
K-Gr 2–The house on the hill thinks that she might be haunted because no one lives there. It’s not her fault that her doors creak and the stairs squeak. She tries her best to hold her breath and be quiet, but as she quickly realizes, she likes being noisy. She hopes that maybe one day a family will move in that doesn’t mind a little noise and doesn’t care if she’s haunted. When that day arrives, the haunted house knows that her new family accepts her for who she is. An inventive picture book, this forces readers to focus on the house’s perspective, and build empathy for its plight. Every spread features the sad or confused or smiling house, and no more than a sentence or two. Somehow this spare telling is packed full of personification that readers can relate to and care bout. The sentence’s location on the page is not limited to one place or format. Sometimes it’s at the top of the page, sometimes it’s a squiggly line that takes up most of the page and in other places, a word is enlarged and in a different font—all of this and a small black cat grab and hold any onlooker’s attention. P.S. It’s a family of ghosts who make this haunted house a haunted home.
VERDICT This celebration of being true to oneself makes it a perfect addition to every library’s picture book collection, and the spooky message is one that is welcome all year around.

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