The Ghosts of Luckless Gulch by Anne Isaacs – A Book Review

This children’s book written by Anne Isaacs and illustrated by Dan Santat is a perfect example of two people who are extremely talented coming together in perfect union and creating a truly special work.

Isaacs’ story is just as charming as can be.  Estrella is a young girl who runs so fast she leaves fire in her wake.  One day her pets- each of whom have an unusual ability as well-are stolen right out from under her nose.  Her search for her pets brings about a confrontation with a gang of ghosts who are trying to greedily take advantage of the 1848 gold rush. 

This is a story well told.  Isaacs uses figurative language originally and effectively and also offered some truly funny scenes.  While there are ghosts in this story, there’s nothing scary about them and because Estrella has the upper hand nearly the entire time, I don’t think even the most timid of children would find this tale creepy.  Other than offering an appealing yarn much akin to a tall-tale, Isaacs also executes some solid expertise.  She introduces elements in the beginning that play a relevant role later, and there is not one wasted moment in this short book.  Not only will your child read a fun, charismatic story, but they’ll also witness great writing as well!

And let’s talk about Dan Santat!  His artwork perfectly compliments Isaacs’ craft.  His renditions of the speedy Estrella, her incredible pets, and the dastardly ghosts are beautiful to look at and I have no doubt a child could sit and endlessly study each and every picture in the book.  I know as a thirty-one-year-old, I stared quite a bit at his work with immense enjoyment.  His figures are cartoony yet oddly realistic, and his colors are simply mesmerizing.    

Isaacs and Santat’s talents blended marvelously together to create a striking work that I think all children will enjoy.