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“If I’m on my very best behavior, maybe no one will notice how spooky I am,” the house. Hardly Haunted

Hardly Haunted

by Jessie Sima
AR Test


At A Glance
Interest Level

5-8
Entertainment
Score
Reading Level
1.7
Number of Pages
48

After years with no residents, a lonely house on a hill comes to realize that she is haunted. The revelation scares her even more than any of the strange noises and rumblings inside her ever have. Who would ever want to live in a haunted house? The house starts to fear a lifetime of living alone, until she hatches a plan.  

The house believes that if she is on her best behavior, no one will know her secret. She tries her best to keep quiet, to keep her doors from creaking, her stairs from squeaking, and her pipes from rattling. After a long effort, she finally manages to hold still. Unfortunately, she is quickly ambushed by a rush of wind, and her efforts are immediately squashed. The branches of the tree beside her scratch at her windows. Her lights flicker. Her chimney howls. The wind passes, but the house thinks that the experience was fun. She realizes that she enjoys being noisy and haunted and does not want to pretend not to be. However, this doesn’t change her feelings of loneliness. After some thought, the house decides that she should look for people who like that she’s haunted. Just then, a family of ghosts approaches the house and steps inside. They make themselves at home, much to the haunted house’s delight.  

Hardly Haunted is a fun and delightfully scare-free picture book for the Halloween season. Each illustration is spread across two pages. The story takes place throughout one day, beginning in a sunny background with bright blue skies and ending in a dark violet background with twinkling stars and a glistening full moon. Young readers will enjoy the illustrations of the personified house with windows for eyes and a water pipe for a mouth. Plus, detail-driven readers will have a fun time finding the black cat in every page.  

The book uses simple and short vocabulary, with 1 to 4 sentences per page – though the font is relatively small on some pages. To help immerse the reader into the story, words such as creak and squeak appear in large, messy font and make the story fun to read aloud. 

By reading Hardly Haunted, readers will be introduced to such themes as loneliness and insecurity. The house’s decision to happily stay haunted will teach readers that they don’t have to change themselves to be accepted. The arrival of the ghost family at the end of the book shows that the right people will find you in time. This story will particularly appeal to those looking for a Halloween-themed story that is light on scares. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

  • None 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 

Language 

  • None 

Supernatural 

  • The narrator is a talking haunted house. 
  • At the end of the novel, a family of ghosts appears. 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 
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“If I’m on my very best behavior, maybe no one will notice how spooky I am,” the house. Hardly Haunted

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