When you see the title Ghost Hog you might not be sure what you are about to read. I know I wasn’t. I mean, I figured that there was a ghost who was a hog (that is the title) but other than that? Was it going to be funny? Sad? Scary? Unintelligent?
Joey Weiser made something that combines it all.
At first it is funny. There is a ghost who is a boar. Plus, she is wearing a sweater, pants and kerchief around her neck! (Very peasant chic, in fact.) Her name is Truff (short for Truffles) and she likes to scare people who come to the mountain and raid the plum tree she guards. Enter two woodland spirits: Claude and Stanley. One very throwable, the other some kind of dog-snouted-rabbit-eared-walking-stick-humanoid who is good at throwing. They are Truffs spiritual guides to helping her leave the rock she haunts.
And it is sad. She dies by the hand of the hunter. She is a ghost. And she is mad at said hunter. She is obviously not a very happy ghost hog.
And yes, scary. She is pigheaded and will not leave. If you get her dander up, she goes raging blue flame ghost on you. She wants revenge on the hunter. Not to mention the side story about the Demon Lord who kidnaps the other beings of her village to dig him out of the underground.
And while it is not a unintelligent, there is a slight plot point that does not mesh. Truff wears clothing. The other animals wear various forms of clothing. But so do humans. Humans and animals’ live side by side, but both wear clothing and not the more seemingly obvious humans are clothed animals are not? This point takes a minute to get past.
In the end, the book is two things. First, a story about a ghost and her journey. And second, it is about not letting vengeance take you over and losing yourself in the process. There are a few smaller points (like if you are with a ghost who really hates humans, don’t tell her you think you might have been human) making this multilayered for different reading levels and understanding. Mostly for ages 8 up but due to how Ghost Hog died (the hunter) and a second animal’s death, sensitive readers might not be OK with the hunting images/idea of hunting, even though the images are not graphic but the idea of what happened is there.