Happy Halloween everyone! As the lone American in my house it's up to me to carry on the Halloween spirit and initiate E as best I can in my childhood traditions. We've hung some decorations, picked a giant pumpkin from a Surrey farm and we'll be watching The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown at some point this week. The last piece of the puzzle was to find a suitable Halloween themed book. I've searched and searched for something that looks interesting in its own rite and not just because it fits the theme. Luckily, my dear college roommate came to the rescue with her recommendation of Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara. Published in 2008, this was Kohara's debut book and it won the New York Times Best Illustrated Book award. It's easy to see why.
Drawn in stark black outlines against an orange background, the illustrations tell much of the story of a young girl who moves into a haunted house. Luckily, she's a witch and she spends her time rounding up the ghosts and stuffing them in the washing machine. Freshly washed, she uses them to spruce up her new house in the form of curtains, tablecloths and bedspreads. The text is sparse and the story is a great balance between that little bit of spookiness and an engaging tale. I think we'll be reading this one well beyond the 31st of October!