Hardly Haunted
by Sima, Jessie

When a house believes she is haunted, she tries everything in her power to stop it in order to get people to move in-until she realizes that she is fine just the way she is.

Jessie Sima is an author/illustrator living and working in New York City. They grew up in a small town in southern New Jersey, unaware that they were a storyteller. Once they figured it out, they told their family and friends, who took it quite well. They are the author of Not Quite NarwhalHarriet Gets Carried AwayLove, ZSnow Pony and the Seven Miniature PoniesSpencer's New PetJules vs. the Ocean; and Hardly Haunted. You can visit them at JessieSima.com.

Once there was a lovely purple house, but people refused to live there. Since this was pretty suspicious, the house began to think sadly: "I must be HAUNTED!" Truly, the house is dusty and full of cobwebs, but she always attempts to be on her best behavior. No matter how hard she tries to be calm and hold still, the doors creak, the stairs squeak, the pipes rattle, the foundation groans, the lights flicker, and the wind gusts Hooooo! Ultimately deciding that haunting and making eerie sounds is fun, the house accepts her scary nature and hopes a family who appreciates her will come. Serendipitously, a ghost family arrives and happily decorates with spooky pumpkins and cobwebs while bats abound. The house goes all out making terrifying noises and uncanny clamor, which provide joy for her new inhabitants. Digital illustrations predominately in purples and gold provide a soft, spooky atmosphere to give the dwelling character. This is just right for a Halloween story hour, and children will enjoy repeating the spooky sounds on every page. Preschool-Grade 2. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

What could be worse for a house than to be haunted? Unless.... "There was a house on a hill, and that house was worried." Overgrown with vines and frequented by a curious black cat, the abandoned abode fears that she will remain unoccupied because of her eerie countenance. Supplying the house with rounded, third-story windows and exterior molding that shift to express emotions, Sima takes readers through a tour of the house's ominous interior. At first, the enchanted homestead tries to suppress her creaky walls, squeaky stairs, and rattling pipes. Despite all efforts to keep "VERY still. And VERY quiet. And VERY calm," the house comes to find that being a rather creepy residence might actually be fun. The realization dawns on the decrepit dwelling with both relief and joy: "She liked being noisy. Maybe she liked being haunted." Once the house embraces herself for who she is, the plot moves in a pleasant yet predictable direction: A cheerful family of ghosts loves the house in all her noisy glory and decides to move in. Sima's lighthearted, cartoony style and cozy palette disarm the book of any frightening elements. The gentle, upbeat vibe makes it a fair choice to remind kids that their differences from others are the key to their belonging. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A cute, Halloween-y take on the old dare-to-be-you moral. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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