The Ghost Family Meets Its Match

Nicole Rubel, Author Dial Books $14 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1093-1
A family of ghosts one day settles into a house abandoned by a famous African explorer and still adorned with his collection of curiosities. Mummies line the attic, dismembered statues litter the lawn and a gape-mouthed crocodile, presumably stuffed, serves as an umbrella stand. For decades the Ghosts fend off a (somewhat too long) string of would-be occupants. But their tactics don't work on the Merryssic , who, like the members of the Addams family, see skeletons in the bathroom and even spiders in the breakfast cereal as perfectly conducive to domestic bliss. The Ghosts are baffled until the full moon sheds light on the mystery (the wolf motif in the Merrys' decorating scheme provides another clue). Teeming with the sort of eccentric, eye-catching details that characterize Rubel's illustrations for the Rotten Ralph books, depictions of the interior of the haunted house are a paean to the delights of excess: palm-tree wallpaper, life-size monkey candleholders, octopus chandeliers, etc. Colors, patterns and textures collide yet coexist harmoniously, creating an immensely appealing, pleasantly ghoulish effect. Sure to entrance young horror enthusiasts without scaring off their fainter-of-heart peers. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
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