A Book of Ghosts by Pam Adams and Ceri Jones


This die-cut book is a simple but effective use of die cut shapes on paper revealing things behind to tell a story. It was published in 1974 and I think it still holds up today.


The story is about a child who sees ghosts everywhere. The child is constantly wary and scared of the things they see, but when looking closer (by turning the page) it’s revealed it’s not scary at all but just mundane objects they’re seeing ghostly shapes in. I think this is a great little story about helping children overcome their fears with rationale explanations. It’s simple, colourful and makes use of effective paper mechanics.

A family member bought it for me second hand and said I might find it interesting about a year ago now and I really did. Each new ghost section in the book is made up of 2 spreads (4 sides of paper). The left with some text, the right with a ghost shape cut out and a ghostly illustration through it on the page behind. Then you turn the page with the die-cut ghost and reveal that actually on the page behind is a perfectly normal everyday thing that might look like a ghost but definitely isn’t one at all. What’s great about the ghost shape page is that if you look back at the ghosts which have been turned over, the die-cut space allows the text from the first page to show through it. For the pages I’ve included images of, I combined both spreads of each ghost’s uncovering so you can see how the four pages work together.

Not being a big budget book, the ghosts aren’t perfectly shaped to fit around the text on the first page. Some words do sit a bit close to the edge of the ghosts on some of the spreads, but for what it is I think it’s great fun and a brilliant piece of graphic design for kids (and adults in my case). Also, the book rhymes which is an added bonus. The crux of the story can be read on the final page…

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