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There’s a Ghost in this House

By Oliver Jeffers
Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

Oliver Jeffers is a visual artist whose acclaimed picture books have been translated into over fifty languages and his artwork has been exhibited in many prestigious art galleries. I would be beside myself with joy if I ever owned one.

This story has an inspired opening. You see a huge old house, then its front door, then it opens and a little girl says Hello. Please come in. Very creepy!

The little girl is very slight and small, the only spot of colour in the sepia and black and white pages that follow. The house is haunted but she has never seen a ghost although the whole book is full of them! As you turn the pages you join her in an entertaining ghost hunt all over the house.

The interactive transparent pages provide many friendly ghost surprises which combined with the mixed media illustrations add a wealth of detail to explore and delight in.

There is nothing frightening in this story, the ghosts are all friendly, smiling, drinking cups of tea or playing peekaboo. The only person who is a little disquieting is the little girl herself – she hasn’t had visitors for quite a while, she lives there all alone in this huge house and has never once seen a ghost. Is she perhaps…

A lavishly produced work of art, with spare text perfectly placed and the mood and tone just right for young readers, guaranteed to provide a delicate frisson but no nightmares. Another inspired work from an original artist.

HarperCollins Australia 2021

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