Welcome to Shiverhawk, a big, stately home where all items are arranged just so, including the portraits of children, who are, as most people know, better seen and not heard—till sundown.
“When the night is whispering and the moon is high, / when there’s no one to see them, when there’s no one to spy, / carefully they creep, nice and quiet… // and the Shiverhawk children all run RIOT!” Dressed in finery typical of period dramas, the cherub-faced children descend from their poised perfection to gallop through the house with gusto. Most of the kids indulge in messy sweets in the kitchen, embellish the hallway portraits with “pots of treacly goo,” and boisterously bounce on the well-appointed bed. But the DeVillechild girls with straight dark hair are “PERFECT ANGELS” and show up in each spread, calmly observing the mayhem with eerily expressionless faces. Once “the moon is getting tired,” the pack of young ones race back to their frames before sunrise, where they “stay still and sweet and good, / just as children should.” Green neatly balances her slightly shivery atmosphere with rollicking high jinks. The gray tones of the graphite and charcoal illustrations help set the mood of an old, neglected estate where everything is forgotten and dusty.
Share this slightly silly yet decidedly creepy story about haunted pictures in a spooky house at Halloween or anytime. (Picture book. 5-8)