Monday, 28 January 2013

Spooky Spooky House by Andrew Weale and Lee Wildish (Picture Corgi)

Last year, we were fortunate enough to be included on the Red House Picture Book Awards Blog Tour, hosting a piece by Andrew Weale - author of this very book!

Now we're finally getting round to reviewing Spooky Spooky House, thanks to the lovely Zoe at "Playing by the Book" for sending us a copy to take a look at.

With a spooky haunted house, lots of 'reveals' in the shape of lift-the-flap bits, and monsters, ghosts, ghoulies and slime by the bucketload I thought Charlotte would love this and she did. I felt it was a bit...disapointing and I can't quite put my finger on why. Perhaps it was the constant 'tease' of the big reveal at the end (a heat-sensitive black panel which you have to 'warm up' to reveal the horrible character stalking the reader throughout the book - but in practice something we really struggled to get to work - we should've used Zoe's idea of getting a hot water bottle for the purpose, but used a hot radiator instead, OWCH!) meaning that story was sacrificed to be replaced by a sort of "are you scared yet? How about now, how about NOW?" type of thing as the running thread for Spooky Spooky House.

There's an essay (or at least a very lengthy blog post) in what scares kids or what's deemed spooky. It's not purely about the visual, it's not even about the 'BOO!' behind a liftable flap. In Charlotte's case it definitely wasn't this book - because despite loving the theme and the reveals and the panel at the back (and of course the sinister stalking character), to her it was as spooky as a timid dormouse hiding in a teapot. Of course we don't exactly want to traumatise our children (particularly before bedtime) with nightmarish visions that will keep them awake all night, but spooky is as spooky does - compare and contrast this with the utterly superb (and quite similar) "Haunted House" by Jan Pienkowski. 

Or perhaps even...that bear...under the stairs...

Charlotte's best bit: The big reveal. Once we got it working!

Daddy's favourite bit: A Wham reference at the start of the book made me giggle.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Zoe at Playing By The Book. We owe you one, Zoe!)