Shea’s ghost is too scared to leave the house and venture into the scary forest. But readers can go see what it’s like and come back and tell it all about it.
The fourth wall is so broken it doesn’t even exist in this tale. On the first text page, the ghost points out the scary woods a few pages back and then says, “Hope I don’t spill this orange juice on my nice white— / Whoops!” The ghost is “naked” for the rest of the book, perhaps purposefully, but no matter. It stays home to clean the toilet and eat too many doughnuts while trying to convince readers to keep it company. But every other double-page spread reveals what they see when they venture out to see what the forest creatures are up to. The dark, scary hole disgorges a rabbit who delivers party invitations to a bird, an alligator, a beaver, a bear, and a sentient stump (the pumpkins also have legs and faces). They gather to do some crafts, eat some cupcakes, and pick pumpkins before scaring the ghost, who has finally been convinced by readers that it’s safe to venture out. Shea’s Warhol-esque illustrations in orange, blue, yellow, and pink pop off the pages, and his characters appear inspired by Japanese cartoons.
A delight for kids who have graduated from Hervé Tullet’s work and such classics as There’s a Monster at the End of This Book. (Picture book. 5-9)