A picture book is truly an art form and Aaron Blabey’s new offering, The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon, certainly fits the bill. From the very first page, the reader is captured by the images and interesting colour palette. Dark and brooding in some respects, the images grab the eye, with an air of the mysterious. Eyes, expressions, faces and mouths jump out from the pastel drawings and leave the reader captivated and captured by the characters inside.
The story itself is interesting too. Great children’s picture books are sometimes cheeky or even a little bit naughty; offering young readers something to giggle at or an opportunity to challenge roles. Blabey’s storybook is just that: a little naughty, a little cheeky but also heart-warming and gentle.
The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon is causing big problems for the townsfolk of Twee. She is a miserable – if not desperate – ghost and she haunts the town relentlessly, freaking out not only the baker but the school teacher and the Mayor! The members of the town are beside themselves with panic, believing that they are all doomed by the presence of this ghastly ghost. That is, until young Herbert Kettle steps forward, of course! Young Mr Kettle offers a simple solution to Twee’s terror and, without giving anything away, soon the town finds comfort and peace in the midst of its fears.
Themes for readers include irrational fear, mob-panic and gossip, simple friendship and acceptance. Very young readers would need an adult reader to help them through the language and subtleties of the storyline as the book is targeted at probably a Year 2/3 school-age group, but it is well-worth the effort. The language is rigorous and rich and the rhyme scheme works beautifully with this story.
Well-done Aaron Blabey; The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon is a winner.