cover image Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

Chris Riddell. Macmillan U.K. (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $14.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-230-75980-0

Lonely Ada Goth, the heroine of this beautifully designed Gothic tribute, shares the enormous Ghastly-Gorm Hall and its magnificent grounds with her father, Lord Goth, and countless servants, yet she has no one to talk to. After befriending the ghost of a mouse who needs her help, Ada begins boldly exploring her home, discovering new rooms, gardens, and friends while learning of a sinister plot being hatched by Maltravers, the creepy gamekeeper charged with organizing an annual indoor hunt inside the massive estate. Riddell’s detailed illustrations demand and deserve attention, and the novel is delightful to thumb through, though the motley cast of characters can feel a bit like a Victorian menagerie, prizing oddity over depth. Laced with humorous 19th-century literary references sure to entertain older readers (a novelist named Mary Shellfish, an albatross named Coleridge) and plenty of quirky nonsense (including a vampire governess committed to cruelty-free eating), this series opener may be a bit light on plot but gamely sets the stage for more drolly dark fun to come. Ages 7–11. (Oct.)