In January’s Cannonball Read Diversion there was a conversation about genres that you had never read before, and I thought to myself that there had to be at least one or two, but I was a little stumped. I didn’t really think about it again until it came time to review Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima because without even having to look, I’m pretty sure I’ve never reviewed a picture book (and it’s been A LONG TIME since I read one either).
Hardly Haunted is about a house that no one is living in, and it suspects that it may be haunted. There’s quite a bit of evidence, so House worries that no one will want to live there and that makes her sad because she really wants a family. So, she tries to suppress her squeaks, creaks, and groans. But… does she really want to? Does she instead want to just… be herself? Maybe she likes being noisy, and the right family for her will too.
Sima imbues the book with a lighthearted style with a delightfully cozy palette of colors that soothe. What we get in Hardly Haunted is a tender but positive feeling. In being told from the point of view of House young readers (and less young readers) are encouraged to strengthen their empathy muscles. Each two page spread focuses on House, and its varying emotions about its circumstances. It’s a picture book, so the text is sparse – just a couple sentences per page – and in service of the image, placed around the pages in the place most suited to Sima’s intent.
I’ve read this one through a couple of times, and I smile every time. And not just because of the cute black cat.
CBR16 Sweet Book: New. I’m new to the world of reviewing picture books as a grown-up.