The Ghost of Skinny Jack was originally published in 1986 as Skinn Skerping hemskast ay alla spoken i Smaland. The English version I read was translated by Yvonne Hooker with pictures by Astrid’s frequent illustrator Ilon Wikland.
It is a story-within-a-story of siblings visiting their grandmother who tells them a story. On their way home, they have a small adventure that ties into the story they were just told. It’s a unique way of storytelling, one that works effectively in this book.
The story Grandmother tells is darker than one would perhaps expect of a children’s book these days – perhaps why I enjoyed it! I think we underestimate the ability of children to handle more serious topics, especially when they are written about the way Lindgren does.
While this book lacks the overall warmth of Noisy Village picture books or the whimsy of The Day Adam Got Mad, it was a good read. Although it does not address Halloween, it has a Halloween feel to it.
This book features the single best closing line of any Astrid Lindgren picture book I’ve read so far. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it made me laugh out loud.