No Ghost Under My Bed

Guido van Genechten, Clavis (IPG, dist.), $16.99 (30p) ISBN 978-1-60537-069-9
Van Genechten's (the Ricky books) cozy pen-and-ink spreads feature Jake the penguin, who's tucked safely into bed, his big orange beak poking out from underneath his quilt. Jake hears strange noises ("Cr... cr... crack!"), and calls in Dad to investigate again and again: "THERE'S A GHOST UNDER MY BED!" Dad, beleaguered but never angry, opens the toy box, peers under the carpet, leaves the nightlight on, and arranges the door just so. Gentle comedy unfolds as the expressions on the faces of Jake's stuffed animals—a bunny, an antelope, a couple of robots—mirror his own, alternately alarmed and absorbed. In scenes where Jake's attempts at sleep are disturbed by the noises, the room's contents warp and sway, as the familiar becomes strange and unsettling; Dad's presence sets things right each time. "There are absolutely no ghosts," Dad says finally. "I know," Jake replies, "because you have chased them all away for me." Even the very young will understand that there were none to begin with, a notion that may banish at least some nighttime anxiety—and provide bedtime giggles as well. Ages 3–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/27/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
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