4 out of 4 stars
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With Halloween just over a month away, there are three things that I can count on. First, the "spoopy" Halloween memes will be starting soon, and they'll almost definitely die out a week or two before Halloween. Second, it's going to be very hard to keep the song "Spooky Scary Skeletons" out of my head until November. Third, it's the perfect time to explore new Halloween-related movies, TV shows, and books! While I'm not a fan of horror, I still love the themes that come with wearing masks and costumes, and I'd never say no to a tense story. Yet, somehow in 37 years of living on this planet, I'd never come across a children's book that fit this time of year so well.
Spooky and the Gargoyle is a children's picture book for kids who are 4-8 years old. It tells the story of Spooky, a cat who earns her name by jumping at every shadow she sees in her new home. This tiny little curious furball of a kitten decides that, even though she's scared of the home, she should explore it. Outside, she comes across Eben, a gargoyle that guards the home, but he tells her that he does a much better job of guarding the home when he's left alone. Will Spooky ever get over her fears? Will she be able to befriend Eben? Or is she cursed to live a life of solitude and fear forever?
First of all, Spooky and the Gargoyle is absolutely adorable. Spooky is as emotive as the best cartoon animals, and flipping through the pages reminded me of the countless cat videos I've watched on the Internet. Not a single page went to waste. Ariana Dahlenburg (the illustrator) filled the pages with cuteness and action. In fact, Spooky and the Gargoyle is one of the best examples of a picture book capturing moments of action that I've seen. Spooky's battles with her fear are displayed so well that the words aren't even necessary to tell her tale. Some of the background objects could've been better, such as the pixelated-looking flowers and grass, but the characters were created beautifully.
The writing in Spooky and the Gargoyle is superb as well. The words used are easy to understand, the story is perfect for reading aloud, and I love the elegant, silent-movie-style borders around most of the words. I didn't find any errors, and I enjoyed every moment of the book. Like the imagery, the words alone could've told this story beautifully. Teresa Traver did a remarkable job!
Spooky and the Gargoyle felt like an animated short in the best of ways. I'd love to see more of Spooky's adventures in future books! She's precious, adorable, and so darn cute. It's easy for me to give this book 4 out of 4 stars, and I'd recommend it to anyone with kids who are scared of the dark or who love kittens. Spooky does a tremendous job of embodying courage in frightening circumstances, and she does it in the most endearing way.
Spooky and the Gargoyle
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