It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). 

Here is our October – December 2021 reading theme:

Horror and Deliverance In Books

We are on the look-out for books that fit the following deliberately-nebulous criteria:

  1. horror and scary stories
  2. everyday horrors that human beings face and conquer
  3. monsters and monstrosity
  4. stories that provide deliverance and redemption
  5. tales that show both darkness and light

It appears like Casper is not the only friendly ghost. Meet Leo and Oscar in these two picturebooks featuring friend-seeking ghosts.

Leo: A Ghost Story [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Mac Barnett Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Published by Chronicle Books (2015) ISBN: 9781452131566 (ISBN10: 1452131562) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Leo, the friendly ghost, was driven from his old home when a new family moved in and misunderstood his warm intentions of welcoming them with “mint tea and honey toast.”

Leo is not the type to force himself onto anyone. He just wanted a friend. He has a very gentle disposition, and quite dapper too, if that bowtie is any indication. It took awhile but he finally found a young girl, Jane, who did not see through him but actually saw him.

Jane, however, thought that Leo was an ‘imaginary friend,’ until something happened that made Jane fully realize the nature of who Leo is. I shall leave the moment of revelation for your young readers to discover. This is a charming and light-hearted story about accepting supernatural encounters for what they are.

Oscar Seeks A Friend [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written and Illustrated by Paweł Pawlak Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Original Title: Ignatek szuka przyjaciela Published by Lantana Publishing (2019)
ISBN: 9781911373797 (ISBN10: 191137379X) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Oscar, the friendly skeleton, lost a tooth. He felt devastated because he felt he won’t be able to find a friend without one, looking all dreadful and scary. As luck would have it, he found a little girl burying a tooth. Oscar took a chance and asked whether he can have her tooth so that he would look less frightening. The reaction of the girl as seen in the below image amused me to no end.

What made this story infinitely entertaining for me was how the nature of their realities was never questioned, such that befriending a skeleton who lost his tooth seemed perfectly commonplace. 

Together, they introduced each other’s world to one another: things that they both would love to share with a friend, such as rainbows and a library filled with books waiting to be read, not realizing that in so doing, they both found what they were looking for.

The image above is my favourite. I didn’t realize skeletons could go on reading the books they failed to read in their lifetime. This is comforting for a bibliophile like me. What a delight to finally meet a book-loving skeleton, and in a Polish picturebook, no less.

#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 102-103 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Monday Reading] Friendly Ghosts from the US and Poland

  1. These books are new to me, but they sound like fun reads and perfect for October. I love the artwork and the unusual friendship elements. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Completely Full Bookshelf

    Well, Myra, you’ve done it again—you’ve added an entire post of books to my TBR list! Honestly, I was thinking I’d take a break from picture books, but you and the other bloggers have recommended so many just today that I may have to switch those plans up. Leo sounds like the sweetest story imaginable—and I love that Jane starts out thinking Leo is an imaginary friend! And Oscar Seeks a Friend sounds lovely as well—the illustrations look amazing, and judging by my sprawling TBR list, I could definitely use some time in the afterworld to read (just not too soon, knock on wood!). Thanks so much for the wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

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