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THE BOO! BOOK by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer


by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer & illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4169-3513-1
Publisher: Atheneum

An engaging narrator, together with magical illustrations that often conjure surreal scenes, lets readers in on all there is to know about haunted books and how to be a good owner of one.

“Everyone has heard of haunted houses,” but “not many people know that books can be haunted too.” Book ghosts are likely “to meddle with stories and turn them upside down” or occasionally scramble the words on a page. It's important not to offend book ghosts, and their book should not be read “on the anniversary of the day the ghost first took up residence” in it. Readers “who make this mistake get sucked up into the book….” Lachenmeyer’s fantastical story comes to life in the artful hands of Ceccoli. Employing a technique that utilizes Plasticine puppets, digital photography and acrylics, she will have readers feeling as though they have entered the book ghosts’ deep, watery blue world, full of bubbles and populated by bizarre creatures such as a balloon-headed doll and swimming eyeballs. Children could be either fascinated or unsettled by the story’s premise, but few will deny the captivating quality of the pictures. Characters appear to have a lifelike sparkle in their eyes, and the transparent, ice blue ghost comes across as more mischievous than scary. The book ends on an upbeat note and with an unnecessary pop-up.

Although much talent is evident in this creative pairing, the result lacks overall appeal for the picture-book crowd; save for children with patience and a taste for the surreal. (Picture book. 4-7)