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The Closet Ghosts
by Uma Krishnaswami
Chilldren's Book Press, San Francisco. 2006
(Ages 4 - 8)
Review by Anita B.
The Closet Ghosts is yet another playful story from Uma Krishnaswami, whose The Happiest Tree was also a charmer. This author specializes in everyday situations involving subcontinental-American children, in which their ethnicity is neither stressed nor ignored, but is merely a fact that may affect some but not all aspects of their lives. The stories are simple and appealing, and are a welcome addition to a child's bookshelf for more reasons than adding diversity.
In The Closet Ghosts, a little girl called Anu moves to a new house and has to go to a new school where she doesn't know anyone. Her new house is scary, with its unfamiliar echoes, and the ghosts in her closet won't let her sleep at night! But Hanuman comes to the rescue, after she pleads with his statue on her shelf to drive the ghosts away. His presence is soothing and Anu is no longer scared, but it becomes clear that she has to deal with the ghosts herself. Her creative and entertaining plan solves the problem, and it turns out that the kids in the new school are not so bad after all.
Shiraaz Bhabha's illustrations are vibrant, with lots of oranges and greens that will appeal to youthful artists. They blend Indian and Western themes. I liked the little touches such as Anu's missing tooth and her mother's chappals (flip-flops, in the US).
Book Description: Moving to a new place is hard enough without finding a bunch of mean, nasty ghosts in the closet. This looks like a job for Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god who can change shape in the blink of an eye and chase goblins and demons away with his thundering voice. When Hanuman answers Anu's plea for help, she rejoices — until she realizes those pesky ghosts don't seem to be going anywhere.
Illustrations by Shiraaz Bhabha
[Kids' Book Reviews]