Thursday, September 30, 2021

Don't Fade Away! Ghoulia and the Ghost with No Name by Barbara Cantini

It was a lovely snowy evening at Crumbling Manor. Ghoulia was a little weary from her snowball battles with her village friends, but inside the candle-lit mansion all thoughts were turning toward the up-coming "Dead-But-Not-Departed" New Year's Eve party.

But up in her tower, Ghoulia was feeling a little spooked. She had the creepy feeling that someone was watching her.


She heard noises on the roof. Just a split second before he vanished, Ghoulia spotted a boy sitting on a patch of snow. He was glowing, too!

And in the morning there are mysterious, ashy tracks around Uncle Misfortunes fireplace. And in the early evening, there was a tap on the window that almost made her drop the book she was reading. And when Ghoulia and her dog Tragedy peered out, they saw a faded ghost boy floating outside!

"Let me in!" he commanded. "I don't have anywhere else to go!"

"What's your name?" asked Ghoulia.

"I can't remember!" moaned the little ghost.

Ghoulia knew that was a perilous state to be in for a ghost. Without a name and with no one to remember him, he was beginning to fade away. Unless he could find his name to remember, he would finally disappear. Kind Ghoulia knew she had to help. She decided to consult the most knowledgeable ghost she knew--Grandfather Coffin, who explained about Oblivion--the place where ghosts go when no one, not even themselves, still remembers their names.

Now Ghoulia knew what she had to do, but... HOW? Ghoulia visited the Crumbling Manor's extensive library. She made a photo of the little ghost, and used it to identify the little ghost's clothing as in the style of about 1810. Then Ghoulia asked for help from Auntie Departed, who told her that the local church kept records of all births, weddings, and deaths, but warned her that she dared not enter the church. Dreadful, unknown things might happen, she suggested. Ghoulia, with her fingers well crossed, promised that she would not.

But the gutsy Ghoulia was not one to let an old auntie's tales get in her way when someone needed her help, in Barbara Cantini's Ghoulia and the Ghost with No Name (Book 3) (Amulet Books, 2020), and with the help of the official Church Registry there was a newly re-discovered name, Nicholas, added to the guest list for the Dead-But-Not-Departed party at Crumbling Manor.

Beginning chapter book readers will find this third book in the Ghoulia series a spine-tingly spoof, a tongue-in-cheek ghost and ghoul story, illustrated in, er, lively color cartooning by the author. The author also appends more spooky fun, "Nicholas's Memory Games." For the first book in this early readers' series, see my review here.

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