Gustavo is a ghost. He is good at doing all sort of paranormal things, like walking through walls, making objects fly and glowing in the dark. And he loves playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo also has a problem. He is SHY. Which means some things are harder for him to do, like getting in line to buy eye-scream or taking to the other monsters. But Gustavo longs to be part of something, he longs to be seen. More than anything, he wants to make a friend. So, plucking up all his courage, he sends a very special letter: ‘Dear Monsters, I would like to invite you to my violin concert at the Day of the Dead party…’
Genre: Children’s book
Age appropriate: 3-7 years’ old
Number of Pages: 40 pages
Date of Publication: 01/10/2020
Flavia Zorrilla Drago is a very talented Mexican Illustrator. She graduated from the Children’s Book Illustration MA at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and has travel around Europe. She considers herself to be a versatile illustrator and enjoys working in different projects such as children’s books, fashion, advertising, apps, and more. ‘Gustavo The Shy Ghost’ is her debut book.
This lovely book has been published by Walker Books which is an independent children’s book publisher. This book has been published in a lot of European countries and America.
‘Gustavo The Shy Ghost’ is a big page picture book for younger children.
The Story tells us about a Ghost called Gustavo and who was really shy. He loved playing the violin and he is in love with Alma who is a pretty monster. He was so shy that the idea of making friends was scary so he didn’t talk to anyone. He really wanted for others to be able to notice him so he had an idea to invite everyone to a violin concert at the cemetery. While playing the violin he was so happy that he started to glowed and everyone was able to see how great he was. He found the friends that he desired so much.
The illustrations are the main focus of this book and the text complements the illustrations perfectly and helps give a deeper understanding about the story. The language used is simple and easy to understand.
The drawings are gorgeous with a lot of details in the background as well. The colours used by Flavia are neutral which gives the book a very nostalgic atmosphere but she also picks out details with bright colours like orange and pink which are used during the Day of the dead celebration. You often find a bright orange colour used for fruits and flowers and the colour pink is found everywhere in Mexico.
The story takes place in an imaginary town in Mexico during the ‘Day of the Dead’. The illustrations contain a lot of elements of this festival like the altars and the ‘ofrendas’ (offerings) to guide the souls of the dead back home.
Flavia explained in her blog how Gustavo’s house in the book is actually based on an abandoned house in Azcapotzalco, Mexico where she lives and which was the inspiration for it. How cool is that? And she actually shows a picture of the real house which is identical.
My boys and I absolutely loved this book. The ‘Day of the Dead’ is an important celebration for me and my family as I come from Mexico. I loved that I am able to read a story to my boys that talks about this important part of Mexican culture. This is not only a book suitable for this time of the year but as a powerful message about friendship and confidence. This is a universal topic as all children can feel shy about talking to people and making friends. This is a book that has gained a special spot on our bookshelf and a book that my youngest boy already loves.
Availability: I actually only found the book in one bookshop and that was Blackwell’s. I had to order it online and it was quickly dispatched and delivered. Blackwell’s is a great bookshop where I find really interesting books.