See the Ghost: Three Stories About Things You Cannot See (See the Cat)

Image of See the Ghost: Three Stories About Things You Cannot See (See the Cat)
Release Date: 
July 24, 2023
Reviewed by: 

See the Ghost: Three Stories About Things You Cannot See is a beginning-reader chapter book from David LaRochelle and illustrator Mike Wohnoutka, the creators of the 2021 Geisel-Award-winning See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog.

The text of See the Ghost is composed of three short, one-sentence-per-page chapters in the style of the Dick and Jane books first printed as Elson-Gray Readers for early classrooms in the 1930s and later becoming a popular book series through 1965.

That said, while the simplistic language of the Dick and Jane books is now generally seen as unimaginative, dull, and even misogynistic, the plot-driven twists of each chapter in See the Ghost are nothing less than pleasantly surprising.

Though it is meant to be read by early elementary students, middle-grade students will enjoy reading this book to their younger siblings and classmates, thanks to the clever trickery within its pages. For the same reason, See the Ghost makes a good, non-baby-ish picture book to share with reading-challenged students in middle-school and beyond.

Children will enjoy Mike Wohnoutka’s comic-strip-style illustrations of the dog and cat protagonists in the story. The action imparted by the images moves the story along at least as much as the written storyline. In addition, the illustrations incorporate dialogue and phonetically represent the sound of the wind (Whoosh!), so that at times young readers won’t even realize they are reading.

The simplicity of Wohnoutka’s artwork is in sync with the simplicity of the words in the story. His simple lines depicting the dog, cat, tree, and every other drawing in the book seem to beckon young readers to imitate them. No doubt, those inclined toward drawing will want to do so.

Like Ruth Krauss’s and Crockett Johnson’s classic early reader, The Carrot Seed (1945), See the Ghost is one of those early readers that adults won’t mind reading with their children/students. And if you’re one of those people who judge the price of a children’s book by how many times it gets read, you’ll be satisfied. They’ll pick this one up until they can read it all by themselves, after which you can pass it on to another beginning reader who is sure to appreciate it.