Ghoul Scouts: Welcome to Camp Croak! by Taylor Dolan

OH MY GOODNESS!!! Fans of Isadora Moon, Amelia Fang, Skeleton Keys are going to LOVE the adventures of this gang of Ghouls in the  summer camp Wednesday Addams should’ve gone to in Addams Family Values. 

Littlefae is already a HUGE fan of Lexie and the gang and it was so wonderful to her I had to wait to be allowed to read it!!! 

Ghoul Scouts Welcome to Camp Croak by Taylor Dolan

Lexie isn’t perky, but she is a great storyteller and she loves her wise grandmother who just seems to know the exact right thing to help Lexie. So when she signs Lexie up for Summer Camp Lexie is a bit worried and rather disappointed as she is not a ray of sunshine material.

But then she is greeted by a three headed Scoutmaster and a cabinful of girls who area little different, ok well one’s a werewolf and another is a proper animated skeleton so hey. 

The girls find friendship and strength together until the Scoutmasters suddenly can’t wake up and Euphemia Vile comes in and changes everything, can a little bit of old fashioned self belief and team work save the day?

“I would give it 100 million stars!!! It’s very very very good. I love Sweet Belle the best. The book is GHOULSOME! My favourite bit is when the mean Scoutmaster meets the Kraken!! And it has the word poo in it. I NEED the next boook!!!!!”

Littlefae

This whole book is just WONDERFUL. I would have flipped for Ghoul Scouts when I was a child (I was TOTALLY OBSESSED with Wednesday Addams and anything spooky) and the force is strong in this family as Littlefae thinks this is absolutely amazing! 

One of my favourite sections is the badges. I’ll be honest when I joined the Brownies I went on a bit of a badges kick, hungry for knowledge and skills I enjoyed the challenge of a new skill, passing the test and getting a badge to sew on felt like such a special achievement.

Taylor has had great fun interpreting the badge skills Ghoul Scouts may need from Fire Skills to boil a cauldron, Plant Identification to restock the poisons cupboard or Needlework using spare limbs not textiles! 

Ghoul scouts illustration by Taylor Dolan

The creepy gothic vibe that just celebrates the dark and kooky is wonderful, and each activity is chosen by and embraces the girls individuality and interests. The nurturing and acceptance of their differences just with a spooky twist is actually a gorgeous affirming and empowering experience. 

In fact it’s when the Ghoul Scouts are made to feel inadequate by the new leader Euphemia Vile with her new badges designed (like so many values that young girls are bombarded with intentionally or unintentionally if we consider the recent video Be a Lady) to make the girls feel ugly and worthless that all the progress they had made begins to become undone. 

And yet it’s not magic wand waving or conformity that saves the day, instead it is the Ghoul Scouts being just who they are. 

I adore how much effort and sensitivity that Taylor Dolan has put into making the Ghouls a tale with the most wonderful disability representation from selective non-verbal to Double amputee and anxiety alongside the supernatural guises with positivity

The girls including Lexie seem outsiders by not being perky Southern Belles all dolled up like Toddlers & Tiaras as Euphemia would have them but they are kind and fun and find resonance and value in each other to be themselves and get to be the heroes without miracle cures or magic wands. 

This is such a fun and a quietly powerful message to any child who feels they don’t see themselves especially as the heroes in literature.

Ghoul scouts illustration by Taylor Dolan

The art also appeals greatly with constant illustrations throughout and the most amazing lettering too. The scratchy juxtaposition of sharps and swirls gives it a kooky but edgy feel firmly in the playful spooky camp.

Everything for Ghoul Scouts was drawn with dip pen and ink. As a method, it’s a bit old fashioned (and incredibly messy), but the lines that come from working with a flexible nib are wonderful.

Taylor speaking in an interview with Books For Keeps

I can see the Ghoul Scouts series becoming as beloved in our house as Amelia Fang or Isadora Moon, for  its joyful celebration of individuality and finding your self in your own troop of collective weirdness!

We thoroughly look forward to the follow up later this year Hullabaloo at Camp Croak!!

Ghoul Scouts: Welcome to Camp Croak by Taylor Doran is published by Guppy Books. 

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