Propaganda – Forget the fairy, ’tis the season to be scary!
This is Propaganda, I’m Richard Bruton and this is what I’ve been reading lately: a special seasonal selection for this spookiest of seasons. Witches, ghosties and spooks abound in Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother series of beautiful illustrated books. These gothic children’s books are equally suited for young and old ghouls.
(Jill Thompson looking rather witchy herself, borrowed from her website)
The Scary Godmother is a kind, witchy type in a black tutu with purple and green striped stockings and a mass of red hair (that makes her very similar to Jill Thompson). Scary Godmother lives on the Fright Side, just beyond our world and home to Halloween monsters and all manner of things that go bump in the night. There’s Scary Godmother’s ghostly cat Boozle, Mr Pettibone the skeleton and best of all Bug-A-Boo; three-time Champion Monster Under the Bed, whose job is to scare kids, not eat them, and he’s the best at what he does.
In the very first book we’re introduced to this endearing cast of spooky characters and meet Hannah – the little girl who’s about to discover how much fun having a scary Halloween can be. At first she’s very scared of being out with the older kids for the first time and is tricked by her older cousin Jimmy into visiting the neighbourhood haunted house. He wants her to get scared and go home, leaving them free to get candy without being slowed up by Hannah. Once inside the house she’s befriended by Scary Godmother and her monstrous friends and manages to turn the tables on Jimmy.
The next book, set the following year is Revenge of Jimmy and sees Hannah’s cousin Jimmy living in mortal fear of Halloween after his experiences the year before. Using perfect childish logic he decides his only hope is to sabotage this year’s festivities. Over the course of his nefarious deeds he becomes more and more like the monsters he’s trying to avoid but is rescued in the end by Scary Godmother as he too realises that Halloween isn’t nearly as scary as it seems.
The Mystery Date and The Boo Flu are the other books in this series of gorgeous hardbacks each telling their delightful stories with a warmth and joy that will have both old and young thoroughly enchanted. Subsequent volumes are in a more traditional comics form, rather than the Comic Illustrated storybook of these four hardback volumes.
(a page of gloriously colourful art from Jill Thompson’s Boo Flu, borrowed from her website, where you can actually buy it! (C) Jill Thompson)
Thompson’s art is at its best in these wonderful hardback volumes. Her colours are just sumptuous – all autumnal reds and browns in her gorgeous washes. The full colour and larger panels really let the characters come alive. So what are you waiting for? All of you have got someone special you can buy this for. It’s a great bedtime reader for little ones and perfect holiday reading. It’s one of those rarities in modern comics, a great book for young souls. My daughter Molly thinks it’s great – yours’ will as well.