While not technically about Halloween, this second Ghoulia book fits the bill for a slightly spooky story for younger readers. My second grader loved the first book, Ghoulia: Making New Friends Can be Scary, which is about an undead girl wanting to make friends with the town children. So when I learned that the sequel was out, it was an automatic choice for an ‘All Hallows Read’ gift.
In the first book Ghoulia learned about Halloween and made friends. This time there is a mystery to solve. A cousin, Dilbert, she didn’t know she had, has come to visit. He’s cranky and obnoxious, complaining about everything. After getting Dilbert settled, Ghoulia seeks Auntie Departed to ask why she invited Dilbert, but she can’t find her! Uncle Misfortune’s head hasn’t seen her in days. The ghost of Grandad Coffin is upset that Auntie Departed left in the midst of a chess game. Interrupting her search, the doorbell rings again, and again, as her friends from town arrive one by one. All received the same invitation, to attend a surprise dinner at Crumbling Manor. A surprise dinner that Ghoulia didn’t know anything about.
Feeling nervous but not wanting to show it, Ghoulia asks her friends for help searching the manor for Auntie Departed. She reminds everyone that,
Crumbling Manor is filled with ghosts, but they are my family! There is nothing to be afraid of.
Spooky music plays, Theresa disappears while searching for Auntie Departed, and the mystery deepens. Where is Auntie Departed and Theresa? Who sent the invitations and why? The solution to these questions is entertaining and everything turns out alright in the end.
Ghoulia and the Mysterious Visitor is somewhere between a chapter book and a picture book. It’s longer than a picture book but each page is a full page illustration with all sorts of fun details in the background, but the text is a quick read. In this book there are pictures of Alfred Hitchcock and Edgar Allen Poe hanging on the walls. After the first read through, my daughter loved examining the pictures for clues that weren’t apparent the first time. When sharing the book with her sixth grade sister, she pointed these details out and with the prompting, big sister quickly figured out the mystery.
We take delight in the Ghoulia books and are are eagerly looking forward to the third book!