Hardly Haunted (Jessie Sima)

Hello, friends! Our book today is part of our Spooky Season series – an extra spooky book every Friday in October! Today’s title: Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima, a unique tale about being and loving yourself just as you are.

High on a hill sat a spooky old house – and that house was feeling worried. No one wants to live in her, and she finds herself lonely because of it; in fact, she thinks she might be haunted. She does everything she can to suppress her spooky qualities – her creaks and squeaks and rattles – even holding her breath to keep the creepy sounds at bay. Yet when a rushing wind causes her to scratch and howl and groan, the house realizes something: being haunted is kind of awesome. She decides to be herself, but she’s still lonely… that is, until a very special family comes to stay.

Delightful. This rather original take on the classic “be yourself” theme is a great mixture of humor, heart, and spookiness. Sima’s illustrations and story give off a sense of creepy-cute that never veers into scary; in fact, there’s a distinct Miyazaki-ish vibe to the anthropomorphic house and it’s surroundings, especially in details like the gothic style of the house, the windswept hill, and an expressive black cat that leads the reader through the house’s interior. The frequent use of onomatopoeia makes it a joy to read aloud, and the overall message is lovely. The length is perfect storytime at any age, and JJ loved the artwork, sound effects, and especially the little cat. A fantastically fun Halloween read with a great lesson, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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