Gustavo is a sweet ghost, but he’s terribly shy. He has a big crush on a monster named Alma, and wants to be friends with the other ghosts and monsters in his neighborhood, but he’s so shy, he just ends up hiding around them and hoping he’ll be noticed, to no avail. But one thing Gustavo loves to do is play violin, and he decides to invite all his potential friends to a Day of the Dead violin concert. That’s got to win them over! But… will they show?
A perfect choice for Día de los Muertos and Halloween alike, Gustavo the Shy Ghost is a story of friendship, overcoming fears, and celebration. Mixed media illustrations give us adorable renderings of ghosts and monsters, with Latinx touches like the papel picado cover and decorations in Gustavo’s and other monsters’ homes. Gustavo’s mother is a skeleton and his father is a ghost; his mother looks like a simpler, stripped-down sugar skull and sugar skulls and Mexican art decorate his home. There are other smart touches throughout, like the goldfish skeleton in the fish tank, the book cart with Edgar Allan Poe and Cthulhu books, and the altars at headstones in the cemetery. Front endpapers show a photo booth strip of Gustavo by himself, and the back endpapers show photos of Gustavo enjoying the company of his new friends.
Adorable, and perfect for holiday reading. Publisher Candlewick has a free, downloadable activity kit with a maze, drawing, and writing activity. There are so many great Día de los Muertos crafts and activities now, too! AZ Central has a 32-page downloadable packet with information about the holiday, coloring pages, and activities; the Think Make Share blog has a step-by-step instructional post on making papel picado, complete with templates.
Gustavo the Shy Ghost has starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus.