You Go, Ghost! Ready, Steady, Ghost by Elizabeth Baguley
MIDNIGHT! IT WAS TIME FOR GILBERT TO GO HAUNTING.
READY, STEADY, GHOST!
It is midnight on Halloween, and it's showtime for all ghosts!
With BOOOOs and WHOOOs, all the big ghosts wisp away, heading for caves and castles, and tall haunted houses. But it's Gilbert's first haunting, and he feels very small as he floats off into the darkness. He knows that he's not supposed to be afraid of the creatures of the night--howling wolves and slithery snakes, and roaring, red dragons, Gobble-Mes and Sizzle-Mes all--but he feels like he's not up to the job of scaring them!
I NEED TO FIND A HOMEY HOUSE TO HAUNT, A COZY HOUSE, A LITTLE HOUSE!"
Lonelier than lonely, Gilbert slips through the darkness, growing even more intimidated by the deserted mansions and looming tombs where the big ghosts are busy haunting. He drifts on through the scary shadows, until he comes to a castle. It is big, but there is a dog there, one who looks like he might want to play. Gilbert wafts inside and up and up the grand staircase, with the dog following, until he comes to a door. It has a small keyhole, but not too small for Gilbert.
And inside the castle's attic there is... a small castle, a homey castle, with its teeny tiny king and queen, and parapets just the size for a very small ghost to haunt!
Elizabeth Baguley's Ready, Steady, Ghost! (Hyperion Books, 2014) is a good fit for those would-be little spooks and monsters who are still a little leery of venturing out into a darkling Halloween night themselves.
Baguley's text has just the right mix of enticing rhyme and alliterations with just the right teeny tiny touch of scariness. Artist Marion Lindsay's enticing illustrations in deep shades of blues and blacks are warmed by accents of orange and yellow, with well-placed page turns that build suspense, and Gilbert is a most non-threatening little spirit on his first venture outside. A few Britishisms dot the text, including in the title, which is the equivalent of American English for "ready, set, go," but all are understandable in context. This story has great eye appeal and empathy for preschoolers in the run up to the scary season, with plenty of charm and a cozy, homey conclusion that is a perfect fit for youngsters.