cover image How to Build a Haunted House

How to Build a Haunted House

Frank Tupta, illus. by Kyle Beckett. Two Lions, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5420-0543-2

As Tupta’s debut picture book opens, Ghost Town is suddenly bustling: “A new family/ is coming to town./ They gotta move in/ with the sun still down.” The night crew springs into action, including werewolf loggers, a Frankenstein’s monster, and witches, all driving construction vehicles. Things proceed apace until a mouse appears on the site, scaring a skeleton (“Hammer falls,/ nails splash./ Bones crunch,/ toes smash”) whose remains are swept up by a mummy who arrives via ambulance. As the dreaded dawn breaks, the house is finished, and a fitting family moves in. Though portions of the verse can skew a bit adult for the targeted audience (“The monsters grin,/ filled with pride./ The job got done/ and... no one died”), Beckett’s stylized digital art, featuring muted colors and enthusiastic images of monsters at work, employs an exaggerated, cartoony vibe. Ages 3–7. (July)