[Book Review] The Haunted Playground by Shaun Tan

Gavin is obsessed with hunting for treasure with his metal detector. He finds the perfect spot--a huge, sandy playground. But this playground comes with something extra: a bunch of kids who have a mysterious treasure hunt of their own. They want Gavin to join the fun, but there's something creepy about the kids. Gavin gets the feeling they want him to stay... forever.

For a book that's only about seventy pages--with fairly huge print to boot--I was quite surprised how creepy this managed to be! With a "Scholastic Guided Reading Level" of M, it's intended for second graders, and if I'd read it at that age, I definitely would have loved it. Of course, the story is super simple and the extremely sudden ending is a bit disappointing... but it's several leagues better than I was expecting, making The Haunted Playground a pleasant surprise.

If you have a young child (four to eight, depending on their reading proficiency) who enjoys scary stories, I'd recommend giving this one a chance.

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