Rummanah Aasi
  Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel has been on several lists last year. The School Library Journal gave it a starred review and listed it in its Best Graphic Novels for Children's list. It was also listed in VOYA's (Voices of Youth Advocates) list of Best Fantasy/Horror in 2009. I thought I'd check out the graphic novel and find out what the buzz is all about.

Description: When Garth Hale is accidentally zapped into the ghost world by Frank Gallows, an underachieving ghost wrangler. Frank Gallows, he finds out that he has some awesome super powers. When the evil ruler of Ghostopolis discovers Garth in his kingdom, he desperately searches for the young boy who will allow him to keep a tighter grip in his afterlife world. Will Garth be able to survive and make his way back home? Will Frank Gallows come to Ghostopolis to have save Garth or will it be too late?

Review: Ghostopolis is an enjoyable read, but it left me wanting more. The story is unique and filled with humor as well as heart. The world building of the Ghostopolis is quite good, however, I would have liked a little more of an explanation of how it came to be than what was provided in the graphic novel. There is a balance between narrative panels and wordless passages such as two mummified squirrels fighting for the same acorn that keep readers interested and stay on task with the plot.
  While there is a diverse cast of characters, whom I'm sure many readers will like and feel invested in their adventures, I thought they were a bit flat and lacked character development. The book takes its time establishing Ghostopolis and Garth's plight in finding a way to get back home, however, I thought the ending was very rushed in the end. Even though some loose ties are tied up, I thought some important themes were glossed over and I still had some questions that were unanswered. It's also hard not to notice the strong Christian overtones in the story, however, I enjoyed the dry humor of the book. I think Ghostopolis might be a good step for readers who aren't ready to tackle the frightening and weird tales of Neil Gaiman. Young readers should dig the graphic novel's creep factor, adventure, and humor. 


Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: PG Fantasy Violence. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

If you like this book try: Coraline by Neil Gaiman or Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
1 Response
  1. Jenny Says:

    I love dry humor but characters are always the most important part of a story for me, so when they are a bit underdeveloped, I just can't get immersed in the story. Really nice review Rummanah, I can see how this graphic novel would appeal to a lot of younger readers:)


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