A good old-fashioned ghost story sure to deliver spine tingles.


An illustrated ghost story set in Bay de Verde, Newfoundland.

Inspired by a story told to the author by a longtime Bay de Verde resident about an event his mother experienced when she was a child of 6, this spooky tale skillfully layers atmosphere and pacing. On a windy November evening in 1922, siblings Theresa, 4, Bridie, 6, and John, 8, huddle on a daybed in their Newfoundland kitchen, which is lit by a single kerosene lantern. It is an hour past their bedtime, and they are half-hiding in the shadows because they want to hear the ghost stories the adults tell after their everyday news is finished. The tales begin, and the children shiver deliciously. Then unexpected—but familiar—footsteps are heard, and ghosts become more than just stories. Cotter’s tale harks back to an age when visiting was the activity and stories were the entertainment, so despite its skillful suspense, it manages to also convey a restful interlude. Dwyer’s shadowy double-page spreads evoke the mysterious as they juxtapose the swirling smoke of wraiths with realistic renderings of the people. Some illustrations work better than others, as when a facial expression looks less like a frozen photograph and more like an evocative moment; but in all, the tone, mood, and atmosphere of the story are scrumptiously spooky. The people depicted are shown as white.

A good old-fashioned ghost story sure to deliver spine tingles. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-927917-28-2

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...


From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Aimed straight at proto-Goosebumps fans, this formulaic series opener pits two 9-year-olds against a great white shark with legs. Having lost his bike in a lake thanks to the latest hare-brained scheme of his impulsive cousin Henry, bookish Keats reluctantly agrees to finance a replacement by earning some money taking on odd jobs at a spooky local mansion. The prosaic task of weeding the garden quickly turns into an extended flight through a series of magical rooms after a shark monster rises out of the ground and gives chase. Dashing from one narrow squeak to the next, the lads encounter a kitchen with an invisible "sink," a giant vomiting bookworm in the library, a carpet pattern in the hall that (literally) bites and, most usefully, a magic wand that they get to keep (setting up future episodes) after spelling the monster away. Tilted points of view give the occasional illustrations more energy than the labored plot ever musters, and the characters rarely show even two dimensions. Fledgling readers will do better in the hands of Jim Benton’s Franny K. Stein series or Bruce and Katherine Coville’s Moongobble and Me books. (Horror. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86675-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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