There's a Ghost in this House
With There’s a Ghost in This House, Oliver Jeffers is both breaking new ground and using all the classic elements of his style that readers have come to love him for.
Jeffers is an artist who appreciates the format of the book and all its possibilities. Here, he uses colour, white space, photography and transparent pages to brilliant effect and plays with every bit of the book as an object, right from the semi-transparent dustjacket with perfectly placed peepholes to the ghostly endpapers.
The book is set inside what appears to be another book: a guide to an eighteenth century Georgian pile, with most spreads composed of a black-and-white photograph in a slightly pixelated style opposite a couple of lines of scant black text on a white page. The initial drama comes from our protagonist – a wide-eyed green girl with bright teal hair and neon yellow stripes on her dress. She invites us in to hunt for ghosts – she has heard the rumours and has searched everywhere, but she just can’t seem to find one.
As with all the best books, the pictures tell a different story: turn the tracing-paper pages and ghosts appear, eerily layered on top of the photo, their little white bodies and black smiles appearing in the picture as our green girl peeps around doors and up the chimney. Our haunted-looking girl cannot see what we see: a fraid of ghosts (that’s the collective noun) who have made themselves thoroughly at home. Will she ever see a ghost? Pick up this brilliantly interactive book and find out.