She Wanted To Be Haunted

Bloomsbury. Jul. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781681197913.
K-Gr 3–Appearance isn’t everything, suggests this clever, rhyming book about an adorable pink cottage who wishes to be haunted. Clarissa, the cottage, is reminiscent of Virginia Lee Burton’s sweet Little House, with a delightful, sloping shingled roof, a busy chimney, and a front doormat that seems to smile in welcome. She’s surrounded by daisies and scampering squirrels, but wishes to be haunted by ghosts or filled with horrifying monsters like her mother—a witch’s hut—or vampires like her father, a castle. After two failed attempts to change her physical characteristics to attract the right type of resident, Clarissa decides that it’s better to just be herself. That self-acceptance attracts a vicious unicorn who is perfectly horrible, and they instantly become best friends. Expressive artwork is detailed and hints at Clarissa’s darker side. From the intricate family photographs hanging on Clarissa’s walls to the blood dripping from her father’s eerie windows, the illustrations have much to offer. Ewert’s lilting cadence is humorously juxtaposed with sometimes gruesome and scary words and is certain to garner laughs.
VERDICT An utterly original take on themes of self-acceptance just in time for Halloween, this is a potential hit to have on every shelf.

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