THE GHOUL by Taghreed Najjar
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by ; translated by
Age Range: 3 - 8
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The story of Hasan, a young and courageous boy from a small village who decides to brave the unknown.

Inspired by Arab folklore, the story revolves around life in a quiet and peaceful village somewhere in Arabia, where the only thing disturbing the surrounding peace is the ghoul living up the mountain—a monster everyone dreads and fears. While nobody has actually seen it, all the villagers are worried that it might eat children, so they tiptoe and whisper lest they draw its attention. Perplexed by the idea of a monster that nobody has seen or heard, Hasan decides to defy his parents and investigate for himself. To his surprise, he finds a creature that is just as afraid of humans as they are of it, an estranged being who will not venture down the mountain out of fear of these humans who look so much different. After sharing their mutual misconceptions, Hasan and the ghoul realize that they can still be friends despite their differences. Children will giggle at both the ghoul’s physical ridiculousness (it looks like a shaggy purple cyclops with an endearingly goofy grin) and the colloquy that reveals important truths: “But…ghouls are vegetarians.” This Jordanian import has great potential to serve caregivers and educators in facilitating discussions about perceiving—and more importantly, accepting—the “other” despite differences and initial assumptions.

A stimulating and funny fantasy about acceptance. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-62371-925-8
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2020