cover image Oh No, Not Ghosts!

Oh No, Not Ghosts!

Richard Michelson, , illus. by Adam McCauley. . Harcourt, $16 (44pp) ISBN 978-0-15-205186-0

In Michelson's (Happy Feet ) prime example of the powers of suggestion, a boy consoles his timid sister before bed: "It's only wind./ Ignore that sound./ You're safe./ There are no ghosts around." She protests ("Oh no, not ghosts!"), so he gamely puts on a werewolf mask to chase the ghouls away. "Oh no, not werewolves!" she squeaks, as her imagination summons slavering wolves, a cackling shadow-witch and a skeleton in the closet. McCauley (Mom and Dad Are Palindromes ) tweaks the intensity with sharp-edged, high-contrast linocuts. In his endpapers, a leafy blue-on-blue wallpaper pattern resolves into bats and faces, the perfect way to open and close this feverish, funny tale. Readers wishing to counter the scaredy-cat-girl cliché should try Jarrett J. Krosoczka's Annie Was Warned , or McGhee and Bliss's A Very Brave Witch (reviewed below). Ages 3-7. (Sept.)