The Children’s Book Review | October 18, 2018
Written and Illustrated by Barbara Cantini
Translated from the Italian by Anna Golding
Age Range: 6-8 years
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (August 28, 2018)
What to expect: Halloween, Friendship, Adventure
The tagline to this charming book, Making New Friends Can Be Scary, offers an excellent summary of its plot and tone. Following the adventures of Ghoulia, a young zombie who wants nothing more than to make friends with the kids who live in a nearby village, Barbara Cantini’s book (translated from the Italian by Anna Golding) is a fun and heartfelt tale.
Ghoulia can’t make friends because she is forbidden, by her Auntie Departed, from socializing with the children in the village near Crumbling Manor where the whole zombie family lives. After all, when you’re a zombie, you don’t want people to know you’re a zombie – so Ghoulia lives in isolation in Crumbling Manor.
Until Halloween, that is.
For, as Ghoulia discovers, Halloween is the one holiday where going outside looking like a zombie isn’t only okay, it’s expected!
So Ghoulia goes into the village, looking just like a real-live living girl in an extremely-believable zombie costume, complete with the head of her Uncle Misfotune’s head as a candy bucket.
Ghoulia meets some local kids and introduces herself to them as Julia and is delighted to learn that not only do they love her ‘costume,’ but they don’t find zombies to be the most terrifying monsters at all. In fact, when she slips up and reveals her try identity—Ghoulia, an actual zombie—the kids don’t run away screaming. They embrace her as their new friend, and promise to keep her secret safe.
About the Author-Illustrator
Barbara Cantini is the illustrator of numerous books for young readers. Ghoulia is her first author-illustrated project. She lives in the Tuscan countryside with her husband and their two daughters, three cats, and slightly daft hamster.
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