This book could have been made with me in mind! Chris Riddell has written and illustrated Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse, and as you might be able to guess, the cover is of a goth girl, and a mouse (who unfortunately happens to be dead), and it’s all black and velvety with silver skulls, and the girl wears purple and the page edges are a shiny purple and there is a ribbon bookmark.
That’s all. No it isn’t. The dead mouse has written a book, and that is also in there, in its own little pocket. It’s lovely. (It’s a kind of dead mouse version of Gulliver’s Travels.)
Goth Girl is the story about Ada Goth, daughter of Lord Goth at Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Her tightrope-walking mother is dead and that makes Lord Goth so upset that he doesn’t want much to do with Ada, as she reminds him of what he has lost. (Silly man!)
So Ada wanders around the big house all on her own, until she finds some children (the way you do, in your own home) that she can be friends with. She gets a new governess. Again.
Maltravers the butler is not a very nice person, nor is the cook Mrs Beat’em. The house and the grounds are full of unusual creatures, and hidden gardens and what have you. The annual indoor hunt is about to take place, and this time things look decidedly fishy.
In a way this is your average gothic tale (which is no bad thing), but the adult reader, at least, will recognise the people and places, and the things, which Chris has put in his book, only slightly disguised. You get ‘all’ the classics in one fell swoop, and the whole book is full of Chris’s beautiful illustrations.
It is very charming, and all ends well. I was worried at first about the governess, but as long as there is no garlic she will be fine. And Ada’s new friends are good friends.