A good old-fashioned ghost story sure to deliver spine tingles.

READ REVIEW

FOOTSTEPS IN BAY DE VERDE

An illustrated ghost story set in Bay de Verde, Newfoundland.

Inspired by a story told to the author by a longtime Bay de Verde resident about an event his mother experienced when she was a child of 6, this spooky tale skillfully layers atmosphere and pacing. On a windy November evening in 1922, siblings Theresa, 4, Bridie, 6, and John, 8, huddle on a daybed in their Newfoundland kitchen, which is lit by a single kerosene lantern. It is an hour past their bedtime, and they are half-hiding in the shadows because they want to hear the ghost stories the adults tell after their everyday news is finished. The tales begin, and the children shiver deliciously. Then unexpected—but familiar—footsteps are heard, and ghosts become more than just stories. Cotter’s tale harks back to an age when visiting was the activity and stories were the entertainment, so despite its skillful suspense, it manages to also convey a restful interlude. Dwyer’s shadowy double-page spreads evoke the mysterious as they juxtapose the swirling smoke of wraiths with realistic renderings of the people. Some illustrations work better than others, as when a facial expression looks less like a frozen photograph and more like an evocative moment; but in all, the tone, mood, and atmosphere of the story are scrumptiously spooky. The people depicted are shown as white.

A good old-fashioned ghost story sure to deliver spine tingles. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-927917-28-2

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.

BOA CONSTRUCTOR

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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