02 April 2010

Book of the Week (54): "Frightfully Friendly Ghosties" by Daren King, illustrated by David Roberts

It’s really a problem. Tabitha Tumbly and her ghosty friends are obliged to share their house with a family of still-alives (the bearded one, the one with high heels, and the two half-sized ones) who keep doing annoying things like locking the attic door when Pamela Fraidy is inside (and there’s a big leggy spider in there with her – and her a nervous wreck to begin with…). And the worst of it, blubs Wither, is that those still-alives keep being so mean to their ghosty housemates! So Tabitha, Pamela, Wither and their friends come up with a plan to befriend the still-alive family. Unfortunately the still-alives don’t seem very happy to have a troop of ghosties trying to get chummy with them. The ghosties are terribly friendly, frightfully modest, and exceptionally polite (especially Charlie, who always remembers to take off his hat), but those mean still-alives still run screaming every time they see them. How rude!

The family bring in a priest, carrying garlic and a cross ("What does the cross mean?" asked Humphrey. "I think," blubbed Wither, "it means he's cross..."), and the ghosties bring in a big scary Ghoul, and, well, then things really get out of hand...

This is a delightful, really very funny story for younger readers, written by the brilliant Daren King and illustrated with all his customary style by the even-brillianter David Roberts, with whom he’s collaborated before, including on the Nestlé-winning Mouse Noses on Toast. The story is well-told, witty and eccentric, and those fantastic pictures just bring out the best in it – a perfect match.

Owing to some shameful mistake by the publishers Roberts isn’t credited on the book, but if lots of us buy copies now they’ll have to reprint it soon and get it right next time. So if you needed another excuse…

Recommended by Daniel Hahn

No comments: