Tabitha Tumbly, Charlie Vapour, Rusty Chains and friends can't understand why the still-alives in their house are so mean. When Pamela Fraidy gets locked in the attic by a still-alive, the ghosties are determined to make the still-alives like them.
But the more friendly they are - hiding under beds and rushing out to read them a bed-time story, rushing down the chimney to say hello, the meaner the still-alives become; they even go so far as to run out of rooms shrieking!
When the family start putting nasty garlic around the house and then call in a priest, the ghostie gloves are off: Tabitha and Charlie decide to call in The Ghoul to sort out the still-alives once and for all: But could the terrifying ghoul prove much more than even the ghosties bargained for?
Well-meaning but clueless "ghosties" take on "still-alives" in this helter-skelter comedy, the first book in a trilogy by the creators of Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots. The eccentric spirits, each of whom has a different ghostly ability, are distressed that the "mean" human residents of the house go shrieking off whenever the ghosties try ever so politely to interact with them. Though variations on that scenario grow repetitive, the banter and bickering among the ghosties and their idiosyncratic talents keep things lively (no pun intended). The ghosties' primary mission is rescuing timid Pamela Fraidy, who gets locked in the attic and later the study both times with a scary "leggy spider." Narrator Tabitha calls on her poltergeist skills, obsessive house cleaner Gertrude oozes "glowing blue goo" that comes in handy, and Humphrey's knack for bumping into things proves useful. Fans of the Dunderheads books will recognize a similarly dark brand of comedy in Roberts's b&w art, whose delicate ink lines and lightly macabre subject matter make it feel like a humorous cousin to the work of Edward Gorey. Ages 5 8.