Thursday, July 22, 2021

Happy Book Birthday, Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima!

 Yesterday, this book hit the world, and what a cute book it is! Although it, obviously, works great for Halloween....after reading it, I see it as a year around enjoyment. But then, Jessie Sima hasn't disappointed me, yet. 

Ready for a little spookiness with tons of heart?

by Jessie Sima
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
48 pages
ages 4 to 8

From the bestselling creator of Not Quite Narwhal comes a delightfully spooky story about an old house who wants to be a home…even if her new family isn’t what she expected.

House has a problem.

She’s a little spooky. She’s a little cobwebby. Oh, no! What if she’s haunted?

She’s not sure, but…her hinges creak. Her pipes bang. And on windy days, the branches scritch-scratch at her windows. She tries to hold her breath and be as still as possible. If she’s on her best behavior, maybe a family will move in.

How will House ever find a family that doesn’t mind being haunted?



While the cover tends to spookiness...and the title makes suspicions of chills run high...this is a book full of heart.

A house has stood empty and alone for many, many years despite the for sale sign in the front yard. Knowing that it comes across as spooky, the house does its best to give a normal...although dirty and worn...impression. No matter how hard it tries, there are things beyond its control to make it appear eerie again. By the looks of it, the house will be lonely as long as it stands.

This is such a cute book! The house is hard not to feel sorry for as it only wants to have company. It is a run-down house, but that doesn't mean it's creepy or bad. It's a situation many listeners will connect with and if they're like me, wish they could give the house a hug. Or even move in themselves. It's hard not to hold your breath as the house gives its all to become less spooky, and a sigh comes when it doesn't work. In other words, this house captivates the reader and brings across the various emotions masterfully.

Each page only holds a line or two of text, and this swoops right along with the illustrations. Sound effects weave in as well and allow the eerie sounds to top off the atmosphere. Still, it's easy to read and makes a wonderful read-aloud. Readers, who have a fairly good handle on words, can tackle this one on their own as well.

The illustrations are well done and let the personality of the house shine. There are enough details to keep listeners/readers involved and give something to gaze at when flipping through on their own. The visual creepy and dirty aspects of the house play along with the text to create a balance between both.

And there is the wonderful, warming message at the end, which leaves the reader/listener with a smile. 

And here she is...

Jessie Sima is an author/illustrator living and working in New York City. They grew up in a small town in southern New Jersey, unaware that they were a storyteller. Once they figured it out, they told their family and friends, who took it quite well. They are the author of Not Quite NarwhalHarriet Gets Carried AwayLove, ZSnow Pony and the Seven Miniature PoniesSpencer’s New PetJules vs. the Ocean; and Hardly Haunted. You can visit them at

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