The Mystery of the Haunted Farm

Elys Dolan. Candlewick/Nosy Crow, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8658-1
Dolan (Nuts in Space) brings her usual mix of funny dialogue and action-packed artwork to a barnyard mystery with echoes of Ghostbusters and Scooby-Doo. “Down on the farm something wasn’t quite right,” so Farmer Greg calls the only team that can help: the Three Pigs Ghost-Hunters. As the pigs investigate, their Phantom Finder 5000 can’t detect any supernatural activity, despite ample evidence to the contrary. The pond is overrun with zombie ducks (“Quack! Quack! Brains!”), bovine ghosts haunt the farmhouse with eerie cries of “Mooooo,” and Frankenhorse and Donkula are threatening the barn. As in her previous books, Dolan marries text and illustration to very funny effect, with an abundance of visual jokes, speech-balloon commentary, and details that advance both the story and the hilarity (“I ain’t afraid of no goat,” quips one of the investigators as the pigs head into the “incredibly creepy chicken coop” that might hold the key to the mystery). The large cast, clues tucked into the background, and feisty banter should easily hold up to multiple readings. Ages 4–8. Agent: Frances McKay, Frances McKay Illustration. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
Release date: 06/28/2016
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