Sounds spooky by Christopher Cheng

cover image

Ill. by Sarah Davis. Random House, 2011. ISBN 978 1864718799.
(Ages 6+) Picture book. The little ghost in the old crumbling house is awakened by strange noises and whistling wind as three small children brave the bleak exterior to find out what is inside. In smart repetitive lines, each second double page spread has a series of phrase with marvellous imagery of scary things happening. And then each series of lines finishes with the question 'What's that noise I hear?' It's enough to make readers tremble as they turn over the page to find out what is happening in the ghost's house. The repetition of 'I'm not scared', underlines the scary look on the child's face, as the tables are turned in this haunted house.
The illustrations are wonderful, full to the brim with wonderful images of things found in an old haunted house, falling apart, yet still having the furniture, clothes and things of times long past. Readers will love delving into the detail of the world created, at once recognising things possibly in their parents or grandparents' houses, and or seeing things new to them. The illustrations will be the platform for many discussions of olden times in classrooms, and the images of gargoyles, amongst other things could be used in art lessons. The words used by Cheng on every second page are a delight both to read aloud and to yourself, as a group or alone. The images created will prompt much discussion about how words are used to develop a felling of dread, and can be used as a springboard for work in the classroom on using words to create an image or feeling.
Fran Knight