Debut author Kingrey Anderson presents a not-too-scary debut children’s ghost story that includes a script for creative young readers.
This first book in the Creepers Mysteries series introduces Gillian, Harry and Arvin, three kids on a bus headed to a dude ranch to take part in a good old-fashioned cattle drive. It’s not long before an unexpected supernatural encounter occurs: The ghosts of a swaggering cowboy and a toothless prospector suddenly appear on the bus. The kids watch in amazement as the specters rehash a feud that seems to revolve around missing money and then disappear. The kids solve the mystery of the ghosts’ identities when young Harry recognizes Dead Man Jack from a stack of wanted posters on the bus’s front seat. Bus driver and ranch hand Smokey Joe reluctantly tells them the story of Jack and bounty hunter Silver Dollar Dan, two larger-than-life figures straight out of a spaghetti Western. Intrigued by the ghosts and the tantalizing prospect of hidden treasure, the kids go on a brief but entertaining adventure—in which they encounter the restless spirits several more times—before the mystery comes to a satisfactory conclusion. Kingrey Anderson does a masterful job of providing an engaging, age-appropriate ghost story for elementary school kids that offers creepy, but not terrifying, elements. While the main characters might have been fleshed out in more detail, Smokey Joe and the other secondary characters are a quaint throwback to the days of the Old West. The book also includes a “Movie for the Ear” script of the tale, a play to encourage children to further engage with the story. In an innovative approach to interactive storytelling, young readers are prompted to recruit their friends and family as cast members and develop their own imaginative approaches to sound effects and character development. Overall, the story translates beautifully into a creative opportunity for kids.
A fun first installment in a unique, promising kids’ mystery series.