Nine-year-old Sergio may not be the brightest bulb in town, but he shines after helping to settle a 137-year-old feud between two ghosts in Marciano’s latest visit to Benevento.
Alas! When poor Sergio manages to lose a basket of “caca diapers” he had been sent down to the river to clean, his angry mother exiles him to the attic to stay with Bis-Bis, the surly spirit of his five-times-great grampa “who died in the earthquake of 1688, but not quite enough.” Can Sergio escape the gassy ghost (“Skeevo!”) and regain his mom’s good graces by reuniting her with her beloved cousin Zia Carozzo, long separated by an old quarrel between Bis-Bis and the Carozzo family’s house spirit? Though one young resident’s anachronistic “Mushroom hunting is the dorkiest, lamest thing ever!” rather spoils the period flavor, this latest episode in an interwoven series set in 1820s Benevento, historically renowned for its witches and magical creatures, winningly blends broad comedy with eerie encounters. Blackall festoons the small-format pages with expressive two-color drawings of the light-skinned townsfolk, along with an occasional rubbery-looking specter, and Marciano closes with notes on the town’s history and supernatural residents.
A droll picture of life yesteryear in a—seemingly—ordinary Italian town. (map, cultural note) (Historical fantasy. 8-10)