cover image Ghoulish Song

Ghoulish Song

William Alexander. S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2729-7

In this more focused companion to Alexander’s National Book Award–winning debut, Goblin Secrets, the author revisits the macabre city of Zombay to tell another tale of art as the fundamental underpinning of important magic. Kaile is a baker’s daughter who loves music. She crosses paths with a goblin who gives her a bone flute, but when Kaile plays the flute, her shadow separates from her body. Her family believes she has died (“Only the dead don’t have shadows,” her younger brother says), and Kaile is forced to leave home. While seeking the origins of the flute, so she can reunite with her frightened shadow and return to her family, Kaile instead finds her music is the key to saving the city. There is magic in almost every aspect of Alexander’s world, including the sinister sentience of the river and the bones of the drowned, and his graceful prose weaves an engaging fantasy that embraces the power of music. While this story shares its setting and basic plot with the previous book, many questions about Zombay are yet to be answered. Ages 8–12. Agent: Joe Monti, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Mar.)