Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Bad Case of Ghosts by Kenneth Oppel

I'm always on the lookout for more beginning chapter books. Not necessarily series, which are a very specific genre in my library (must be at least 5 in the series, must be paperback, can only buy at the end of the year when I shift/weed/update series, etc.) but books that kids will enjoy reading whether or not they are in 2nd-3rd grade because they're funny, have pictures, and aren't too long and daunting.

This book has been on my wishlist to read for a long time. It's one of those that I no longer remember why I put it on the list, it is simply there. Oppel is best-known, at least in the US, for his middle grade/teen fantasies, including Warrior-esque bats. These never seem to circulate well for us though. Anyways, I decided to get another book off my to read list.

Giles is feeling a bit "meh" about his family's new house. He's not really happy about moving and although it's a lot bigger, it's very creaky and run-down. In fact, it's rather...spooky. This is confirmed when Tina and Kevin, self-proclaimed geniuses and next-door neighbor kids show up. They have a "ghost-ometer" and offer to measure the spooks Giles is sure are inhabiting his house. After a little bit of pooh-poohing by the grown-ups, it turns out there really are ghosts, and lots of them, flying about the house. Literally. After a little investigation, it turns out the previous occupant was an old lady who died alone, leaving her many birds to starve and haunt the house as ghosts. A quick solution and everything ends on a cheery note.

Something I've noticed in British beginning chapter books and shorter novels. They seem to end rather abruptly, often leaving major portions of the plot hanging. It's almost as if their technique for making beginning chapter books is to write the usual lengthy tome, in slightly easier language, and then chop it into sections. (I've just noticed this was actually published in Canada, and I haven't really read enough Canadian chapter books to judge, but it feels very British anyways).

Verdict: Nothing much really happened in the story, spook or mystery-wise. This is out of print and was never published in the US, so although it was a mildly amusing read, it's really not worth the bother of tracking down.

ISBN: 9781554685288; This edition published 2000 by HarperTrophyCanada (HarperCollins); Purchased online for about $5.

1 comment:

middle grade ninja said...

I hate it when endings leave you hanging. Nice post!