Review Blog

Oct 10 2011

The ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon by Aaron Blabey

cover image

Penguin/Viking, 2011. ISBN 978 0 670 7474 7.
(Ages 7+) Highly recommended. Picture book. From start to finish I was entranced with Miss Annabel Spoon and her dilemma, as she spooked the people in her town, hopping into bed with the children, starring into windows, and generally scaring people until they all felt they were doomed. That is, until young Herbert Kettle happened along, offering to solve their problem.
The glowing illustrations, reflecting stark hues of greens and browns, yet shimmering in their appearance, are full of fun, as the hapless Herbert prepares to battle with the ghost. The beautiful rhyming stanzas, easily read, and inviting the listener to predict the next words, are full of words that extend their vocabulary, drawing them into the love of words and their meanings. The crisp illustrations, using pen and pencil on watercolour paper, and acrylic paint, are a visual treat. I love the looks on the faces of the populace and Miss Spoon's hair is a focus point for me through the book. The contrast between the gloom of the opening page and that of the last double page spread is wonderful, and the little groups of people again are beautifully contrasted.
As Herbert plucks up his courage and finds the ghost's house in the woods, he enters the building only to find her in tears. A simple reason for her ghostings is offered and a neat solution to the problem is found. The resolution to the story is warm and agreeable to all; her problems and those of the townspeople are solved.
This innovative author/illustrator has won awards for his other books, Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley, Sunday Chutney and Stanley Paste, and this will be no exception. It is perched on my favourites shelf for all to see and for me to read again and again.
Fran Knight

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