cover image Lucy Dove

Lucy Dove

DK Publishing, Janice Del Negro. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2514-0

Drawing on elements of a Celtic ghost story, this delectably well told tale has pitch-perfect prose matched by illustrations that seem imbued with mist and moonlight. When a superstitious, wealthy lord is told that a pair of trousers sewn under a full moon in St. Andrew's graveyard will bring him good luck, he issues a proclamation: ""A sackful of gold to the one who sews me those trews!"" The graveyard is known to be haunted by a ""fearsome thing,"" but ""as fortune would have it, and fortune always has her way,"" a seamstress named Lucy Dove hears of the offer and takes up the challenge. A flesh-hungry ""bogle"" appears, but Lucy continues to sew, hiding her fear as she craftily converses with it: ""[People tell] stories about me?"" asks the bogle. ""Do they tell of... how I strike fear in the hearts of brave but foolish men?"" ""Something like that,"" Lucy answers cunningly, ""They tell them to little children at bedtime, to help them sleep, you know."" Children's librarian and debut author Del Negro is equally adept at building suspense and maintaining humor, and her text is laced with witty asides and atmospheric dialect. Gore's (The Pomegranate Seeds) self-framed acrylic paintings have an ethereal quality, their spookiness tempered to just the right degree by subtle colors, wispy brushstrokes and mottled areas. Like the text, the art is masterfully paced, and two wordless spreads--Lucy first seeing the ghoul, and then running from its jagged white claws--heighten the drama. Ages 8-11. (Sept.)