Disney Parks Presents: The Haunted Mansion (Buddy Baker & Xavier Atencio)

Hello, friends! We’re continuing our countdown to Halloween with a review of Disney Parks Presents: The Haunted Mansion, featuring the classic theme park song by Buddy Baker and Xavier Atencio and illustrations by James Gilleard!

Along with the included CD, this musical picture book takes readers on a spooky journey through Disney’s infamous Haunted Mansion. Using the classic lyrics of “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” the official theme song of the popular Disney attraction, the reader follows the same ghosts, ghouls, and ghastly sites as the ride, from the Hall of Portraits all the way to the hitchhiking specters at the exit gates, providing plenty of creepy fun along the way.

For such a simple concept, I was blown away by how well this worked as a picture book! Since the Disney rides all have some sort of narrative, it makes total sense that it could be translated to a children’s book. But a clever and unexpected element were the illustrations capturing the many visual gags, memorable tableaus and unique characters that the ride is known for, all in a very creepy yet fun style that really brings each character to new (after)life. It builds a story that is as wonderfully entertaining for both fans of the ride and those who are completely unfamiliar with it, which is the ideal balance. The lyrics of the song can be a bit tripping if you’re reading without singing and are unfamiliar with the song, but as there is a CD included, this seems like a minor issue easily rectified. The length is great, and JJ and I had tons of fun with this one. A must-read for Disney Parks fans, or wonderful spooky offering for anyone who enjoys a ghostly tale. Baby Bookworm approved!

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