Ghoulia lives in Crumbling Manor with her Auntie Departed and spends most of her time playing with Tragedy, her beloved albino greyhound. But things aren’t as easy as they seem for this little zombie girl—all she wants is a real friend. She tries to venture past the manor’s walls, but she can’t hide her pale green skin or the deep purple circles under her eyes. The other children will be afraid of her, and no one will want to be her friend. But when Halloween rolls around, Ghoulia hatches a brilliant plan. All the other, ordinary children will be dressed up like monsters, so Ghoulia can go out into the town and be entirely herself. In the end, all the kids realize that Ghoulia is (almost) just like them and learn that friendship can come in many forms.
Ghoulia wants to blend in with other kids, but her appearance (greenish-gray skin, Ping-Pong ball eyes) and special talents (she can yank off and reattach her body parts at will) give her away she's "a perfectly normal zombie girl." Living in Crumbling Manor at the edge of town, Ghoulia and her Auntie Departed fear discovery and subsequent banishment, so Ghoulia spends her time with her beloved albino greyhound, Tragedy. Still, she longs for friendship with other children, and when she learns about trick-or-treating, she sees her chance to mingle undetected. In a happy resolution, Ghoulia's identity comes out (she can't resist removing her head in front of the other kids), and her new friends accept and celebrate her unique qualities. Cantini's detailed grayscale drawings ramp up the comedy on every page with labels and asides, including a page from Ghoulia's Halloween-prep journal. This well-paced series opener will work well as both a read-aloud and a humorous choice for newly independent readers. Ages 6 8.