cover image Hardly Haunted

Hardly Haunted

Jessie Sima. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4170-5

A little sympathy for the eerie purple mansion for sale on the hill, please—she suspects that she may be haunted. “I’m a house... People are supposed to live in me,” she worries. “Who would want to live in a haunted house?” As a wide-eyed black cat bounces through her cobweb-punctuated rooms, the expressive protagonist (in Sima’s cartoonishly ominous digital art, half-moon windows serve as eyes, and other architectural details provide hints of facial features) tries to suppress her creaky doors, squeaky floors, and other signs of hauntedness: “If I’m on my very best behavior... maybe no one will notice how spooky I am.” But after inadvertently producing a veritable concert of ghostly sounds, she realizes that “she liked being noisy. Maybe she liked being haunted,” and that what she really needs is a family who can “help this haunted house become a haunted home.” Sima creates a lovely twist on finding one’s place in the world, told with a light touch and plenty of spooky onomatopoeia. Ages 4–8. (July)