cover image The Ghostly Carousel: Delightfully Frightful Poems

The Ghostly Carousel: Delightfully Frightful Poems

Calef Brown. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5124-2661-8

Author-illustrator Brown (Polkabats) offers 17 poems that are wickedly humorous and gently eerie. Topics of focus include a zombie family reunion, a canoe commandeered by vengeful canaries, a mysterious “creeping crud” that invades a house (“arriving precisely/ at midnight on Fridays”), and unruly trick-or-treating leprechauns. Narrative drives many of the verses: “The village of Glumm/ is gloomy and grim/ for miles in all directions./ A grisly, ghastly, ghostly place/ except for these exceptions.” Other poems address more relatable childhood frights, such as when a child gazes fearfully at the darkened shapes of shelved toys: “I’m not afraid/ of bats or bee stings,/ but late at night/ I think I see things—/ spooky silhouettes.” In acrylic and gouache paintings, Brown brings his distinctive ghoulishness-meets-folk-art sensibility to his monstrous menagerie, and again captures the fun to be found in things sinister and strange. Ages 6–10.[em] (Aug.) [/em]