Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Sarah Tieck
Publisher: Big Buddy Books
This picture book is divided into short sections that cover the concept, history, and tradition of ghosts, both historically and in popular culture. Featuring a blue-washed layout and intriguing stock photography of old houses, historical events, and people, the text is also accompanied by short “Did You Know?” text boxes that provide additional facts and information on the examples of ghost culture provided. A short glossary in the back of the book also contains definitions of words that young readers may not have encountered before, complete with guides to pronunciation.
This fact book is an excellent way to introduce younger children to the concept of ghosts without frightening them. Each short, simply worded entry provides relevant information pertaining to common beliefs about ghosts and their place in our culture in a way that is fun, thought-provoking, and age appropriate. The author has done a nice job of not leaning toward any one interpretation of ghosts, acknowledging that some people believe they aren’t real while mentioning other cultural traditions and personal narratives involving ghosts that treat them as accepted phenomena. To give increased perspective, the popular culture section in particular draws from a variety of different time periods and mediums that give a good sampling of how ghosts are used in fiction, and the “Let’s Talk” section provides interesting questions that ask children how they would use ghosts in stories of their own, making it clear that the ghostly tradition is at their disposal for entertainment and speculation.