A perfect storm of bad art, worse design and trite content.
The spooky mansion “looks deserted” (windows aglow with lights in the picture notwithstanding), but a skeleton greets “you” at the door. He leads “you” on a tour past a jar of brains, a vampire’s “long box” (?), a monster’s soup tureen and other hollow items. These are all actually pockets, identically shaped but pasted on in different orientations. Outside each is an invitation to “slide your hand in if you dare… / See what’s lurking but BEWARE!” Inside, readers feel pieces of slick plastic, fur or other textured material meant to suggest an eyeball, fangs, spider legs or other must-avoids. In just recognition that these tactile clues are too poorly chosen and shaped to be even superficially credible, the narrative provides specific prompts. “Be so kind and fish out a fresh eyeball for me,” the monster politely asks “you”; readers will feel just a raised plastic button (though if they peer inside, they will see a plastic toy eye. Moreover, the low-budget illustrations are meant to be atmospheric but are actually only murky, blurred jumbles of cobwebby, candlelit antique bric-a-brac—capped by a notably unstartling glob of card-stock ectoplasm popping up in low relief from the final spread.
A lackadaisical effort to exploit a gimmick used—and probably used up—to (somewhat) better effect in Steve Cox’s Is That You, Wolf? (2012). (Novelty/picture book. 5-7)