Hardly Haunted (Hardcover)
July/August 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“An old house is lonely, and thinks if she holds very still and keeps very quiet, she won’t seem so spooky and a family will move in. She wouldn’t want anyone to think she’s haunted! Sima’s illustrations are enchanting, and in her usual fashion, the story is pitch perfect.”
— Tildy Lutts, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA
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?
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 Narwhal; Harriet Gets Carried Away; Love, Z; Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies; Spencer’s New Pet; Jules vs. the Ocean; and Hardly Haunted. You can visit them at JessieSima.com.
Sima’s lighthearted, cartoony style and cozy palette disarm the book of any frightening elements. The gentle, upbeat vibe makes it a fair choice to remind kids that their differences from others are the key to their belonging.
— Kirkus Reviews
Sima’s text is more sweet than spooky, complemented by the digital illustrations’ cool palette of purples, blues, and greens. Various sounds to read aloud and visual details to pore over (the anthropomorphic house’s expressions, the ever-present black cat) will surely lead to repeat readings.
— Horn Book Magazine
Sima creates a lovely twist on finding one’s place in the world, told with a light touch and plenty of spooky onomatopoeia.
— Publishers Weekly
* "This celebration of being true to oneself makes it a perfect addition to every library’s picture book collection, and the spooky message is one that is welcome all year around."
— School Library Journal, starred review