Hugo’s Haunted Handbook

Owlkids. Mar. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771475877.
Gr 1-3–Got ghosts? Hugo has proven results in “booting your boo”—or has he? This playful graphic novel offers a silly look at Hugo, who fancies himself an expert on ghosts and their removal, and the sheet-adorned spirit that isn’t quite ready to disappear. Together, the two navigate friendship with some laugh-out-loud moments, from static cling problems to hilarious ghost-be-gone chants. Breaking the fourth wall, Hugo and his ghostly crony speak directly to readers. Sight gags provide giggles aplenty, and seeing Hugo and his ghost talk out their differences models the best way to navigate disputes. Not at all scary, the ghost is more concerned with mugging for readers than striking fear into anyone’s heart, and Hugo’s exasperation is played up for big laughs. Expressive cartoon artwork uses shades of purple, yellow, and black to create a nighttime setting. Are ghosts really that scary? Can humans and cheese-stained spirits get along? All signs point to yes in an entertaining story about finding friendship in the unlikeliest of places, like a dresser drawer.
VERDICT An easy-to-read graphic novel that newly confident readers will enjoy. A recommended purchase.

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