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She Wanted to Be Haunted

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With whimsical, rhyming stanzas, She Wanted to be Haunted offers a delightful, lyrical twist on the ever-important question of how to be your very best self.

Clarissa the cottage is adorable . . . bright pink, with windows that wink, and flowers growing all around. But Clarissa doesn't want to be adorable--being cute is boring .

Couldn't she be like her father, a creepy castle home to vampires and crypts? Or like her mother, a witch's hut full of spells and smells? If only she were haunted! Then she'd be less ordinary . . . What will it take for Clarissa to go from adorable to horrible?

40 pages, Hardcover

First published July 7, 2020

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About the author

Marcus Ewert

5 books15 followers
Marcus Ewert's first book 10,000 Dresses, illustrated by Rex Ray, was published by Seven Stories Press in September 2008. He is the co-creator of the animated series "Piki & Poko: Adventures in StarLand" and is currently writing "Mummy Cat", another children's book, coming out from Clarion Book in July 2015. He lives in San Francisco.

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5 stars
111 (32%)
4 stars
113 (33%)
3 stars
85 (25%)
2 stars
22 (6%)
1 star
6 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 63 reviews
Profile Image for Raven Black.
1,966 reviews5 followers
September 24, 2020
I was expecting this to go one of two ways. It went a third. This is for the kid (be it in age or in spirit) that is not exactly "like the others"

LOVE the ending
Profile Image for Roxana Rathbun.
Author 1 book9 followers
September 14, 2020
HILARIOUS! I loved this book. I loved that it was an "ordinary" character dreaming to be unordinary while still learning to love herself.
Profile Image for Sarah.
469 reviews11 followers
July 12, 2020
Loved this book...and we’re all a little haunted right now...✨
1,100 reviews6 followers
September 10, 2020
Uh, what was the point to this?

It started out cute but the ending was weird and I don't think it has a good message at the end.
Profile Image for Dashka.
Author 22 books333 followers
September 20, 2021
The best picture books are original, surprising, and beautifully crafted and this book is all three. The concept is so funny and the twists are consistently unexpected. Both the rhymes and the art are stunning. Every page has wonderful details you might miss the first time through. I love the characters of Clarissa and her parents and the fabulously clever language. Most of all, this is one that KIDS will find hilarious!
Profile Image for Alison N.
294 reviews
August 26, 2020
Yet more proof that spooky can come in many shapes and colours, this story, with a delightful rhyme and lovely illustrations, makes for a great read whether you’re haunted or pink... or maybe both.
Profile Image for Cassie Daley.
Author 8 books205 followers
September 20, 2021
THIS IS FOR CHILDREN BUT FEELS LIKE IT WAS MADE FOR ME OMG!! Clarissa is an adorable house with a big problem: she's too cute & she wishes she were spookier and more haunted! I loved it, haha. So adorable, highly recommend - really cute art too!!
Profile Image for Andrea.
9 reviews
August 3, 2020
This book is SO ADORABLE! The illustrations are colorful and witty (with some familiar characters, if you're a fan of Susie's artwork) and the story has a fun twist I won't give away. I'm giving a copy to my niece and nephew (6 and 8) because I can see them both enjoying it and laughing at the clever jokes. It's sure to be a hit!
Profile Image for Alana.
20 reviews
November 15, 2020
We loved this book! It’s one of those books you actually enjoy reading as a parent. The rhyming is fun, the illustrations are beautiful and interesting and the end had my 4 and 7 year old cracking up. Great for boys and girls and with a message that’s unique and fun. Great Halloween themed book for year round! Honestly a themed birthday would be awesome using this book! 🏚🏰🦄
Profile Image for Jennifer.
3,591 reviews45 followers
November 16, 2022
Rhyming text and gorgeous pictures but a funky story. The ending is totally out of the blue and I'm not sure it's a good message to send. While I would recommend this book as a one-on-one read, I would only use it in a story time for older kids (1 grade and up).
947 reviews1 follower
October 30, 2020
I have so many questions about the parentage system of structures. That aside, this was a lot of fun.
Profile Image for Wendy.
49 reviews
September 19, 2020
Clever rhyming text makes this a fun read aloud. Kids who enjoy a little twisted humor will likely find this hilarious. True unicorn enthusiasts may not.
7,167 reviews26 followers
August 25, 2020
I received an electronic copy from Bloomsbury Children's Books.
Clarissa the pretty pink house wants to be haunted like her dad, the creepy castle and her mom, the witch's hut. She tries everything she can think of to no longer be considered cute. Just when she gives up and welcomes the animals to move in, she meets a nasty unicorn. So, she gets her wish and gets a reputation based on how mean the unicorn is to others.
Full color illustrations pull readers in so they're part of the action.
A fun read aloud.
Profile Image for Trisha Parsons.
515 reviews24 followers
August 13, 2021
Why I chose this book: I picked up this book because the title parallels my own personal identity crisis . . . lol.

Brief summary: The book tells the tale of a cute house whose only wish is to be scary and haunted, but everything she tries to make herself scarier just results in her being cuter. Rain brings flowers. Stinky things bring adorable puppies. She has to learn to accept her cuteness while also allowing a little more fierceness into her life.

What I like about this book: The rhyming in this book is tight and sharp. It flows to a consistent rhythm, which makes it fun to read out loud. Besides that, I like the message of this story, which is a slightly different twist on the usual "be yourself" picture book.
Profile Image for Allison Greg.
121 reviews2 followers
January 12, 2021
Clarissa was a cute little pink cottage. Her father was a castle with vampires and her mother was a witches' hut. Clarissa wanted to be haunted to have ghosts living in her home. Unfortunately she was just so cute and attracted all things cute. Her parents try to convince her that it's ok to be yourself but she wouldn't listen. In the end she finds out just exactly what she should be.

It's a really cute book. I loved the illustrations, so bright and fun with lots of detail. I can't wait to read this book to my kids.
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,644 reviews
October 22, 2020
This is a great rhyming book about just being yourself. I tend to get annoyed with books that push a moral on you as opposed to just letting you figure it out, but this one didn't seem too over the top.

Now I want more holiday things.
Profile Image for Harris.
1,010 reviews27 followers
November 23, 2021
An amusing picture book, Marcus Ewert’s playful rhymes along with Susie Ghahremani��s colorful artwork makes She Wanted to Be Haunted a cute and topical storytime pick for the Halloween season.

Clarrisa, a cute, cozy cottage finds her floral surroundings and quaint architecture boring and yearns for a few creepy denizens like her parents, a haunted castle, and a witch’s hut, enjoy. Attempting to rectify the situation backfires as spooky clouds only bring more flowers and a horrid stench summons forth the neighborhood pups. For adults, the use of a few fun advanced vocabulary choices (wan, djinn) adds some nice distractions and for kids, the “be yourself” message comes off quite nicely. Just don’t get sidetracked by the logistics of how houses reproduce.

I discuss this and other inclusive Halloween themed children's/young adult books at Harris' Tome Corner here, https://spoonbridge.medium.com/an-inc...
Profile Image for Roben .
2,076 reviews6 followers
November 22, 2021
Clarissa is an adorable little house! Pink and sparkly, covered with flowers and miserable. Her father is a gloomy castle and her mother is a witch's hut! Clarissa longs to be like them but no matter how hard she tries, she's just cute. Her parents encourage her to be herself and finally, after a few failures, she agrees. Needless to say, her decision to stop trying so hard provides her with a lovely surprise. Always remember - looks can be deceiving!
This is a fun book to throw into the unicorn pile, just to mix things up a bit! And Clarissa reminds me a bit of Virginia Lee Burton's Little House so that might be a fun combination also.
Profile Image for Villain E.
2,723 reviews10 followers
November 1, 2020
Are you (or your child, I suppose) someone who hates anything cute and pink just because it's cute and pink? If so, then you are the target audience for this book.

An anthropomorhized cute little pink cottage hates the fact that she's cute and pink. Her father is a dark, ominous castle and her mother is a witch's hut, and the cottage wishes she was more like them. So she tries to make herself unpleasant and scary. Leading to a WTF ending involving a not-so-cute unicorn.

I learned that houses mating to produce other houses is beyond the limit of my suspension of disbelief apparently.
Profile Image for Tempe Public Library.
116 reviews37 followers
October 23, 2021
Clarissa is a cute pink cottage, with gingerbread trim and lots of pretty flowers surrounding her front yard. The only problem is, Clarissa wants to be like her parents: Her dad is a spooky old castle full of vampires, and her mom is a stinky witch's hut. Clarissa does her best to stop being cute so she can attract ghosts and monsters, but she'll learn that the best friends like you for who you are, not who you want to be.

This is one of my favorite picture books! The rhyming stanzas are great for reading aloud and the illustrations are all so colorful and fun.
Profile Image for Molly Cluff (Library!).
2,365 reviews31 followers
October 1, 2020
This was an imaginative picture book about a cottage that wanted to be a haunted house. The illustrations were full of color and I can see them being appealing to kiddos. All of the text is rhyming, which was lovely, it's a bit too texty for my preschool storytime groups. Also the ending was a surprise, if not a strange message (she befriends a bully of a unicorn so she can be cute and scary all at the same time). I like a creative concept, though!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 63 reviews

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