When Dave inherits a remote cottage, the house speaks to him. Literally.
The hinges on the door “squeeeeeak,” the bathroom pipes “moooan,” and the cellar “waaillls.” Dave takes it all in stride, but he wishes for a human voice—but that night, he hears, “Ghastly ghosts in the old coal shed!” Dave tries to shake his fear, but the voice repeats the phrase in an ever louder voice as expressive illustrations capture Dave’s increasing alarm. When the fireplace coal burns down, Dave is cold enough to steel himself for a trip to the monstrous coal shed. Braving the “ghastly ghosts,” Dave gains their respect by requesting their help gathering coal and inviting them to share his fire—if they can “find something ELSE to say!” Practiced picture-book readers will appreciate the subtext in the cheery, cartoon illustrations, such as the cat companion that mimics Dave’s actions and reactions and the potential friends hiding in the shadows. This is a great rhyming read-aloud, especially if the reader’s voice embraces the drama. Before the story resolves on a happy note (Dave is playing his fiddle while surrounded by new friends, both spectral and otherwise), the tension escalates until the ghastly ghosts are finally confronted. Dave presents as a spry, gray-bearded white man.
A delicious scare for audiences ready for chills. (Picture book. 5-8)