A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gustav Gloom and the People Taker is a humorously spooky fantasy that promotes the value of seeking out new experiences and friends. There's a creepy villain who threatens to throw children into a bottomless pit, but the level of violence never rises above the cartoonish. No iffy language or references to sex.
What's the story?
Strange and withdrawn Gustav Gloom seems to live alone in a dark and mysterious mansion, so most of his neighbors avoid him. But when Fernie What moves to Sunnyside Terrace, her cat chases its own shadow into the Gloom mansion, and Fernie must explore the forbidding house herself. What she discovers is a place full of living shadows, strange sculptures, and a resident villain who threatens to throw intruders into a bottomless pit. Only by making friends with Gustav and learning to understand his odd view of life is Fernie able to save herself and her family.
Is it any good?
For older readers, GUSTAV GLOOM AND THE PEOPLE TAKER might feel like a warmed-over Tim Burton scenario, but there's enough inventiveness and original humor to appeal to younger ones. Author Adam-Troy Castro sometimes lets the dialogue get a little too cutesy, but in general he uses a breezy style that keeps the action moving. Kristen Margiotta's highly stylized black-and-white illustrations add extra energy to the story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why people who wear black clothes and are most active at night are sometimes regarded with suspicion. Would you be scared to encounter such a person?
Why are haunted house stories so popular? Do you think there really are some houses that are haunted?
Which kinds of people are regarded as outsiders? What are good ways to get to know somehow whom others regard as "weird"?
- Author: Adam-Troy Castro
- Illustrator: Kristen Margiotta
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
- Publication date: August 16, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 232
- Available on: Hardback
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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