Stella Batts, somewhat intrepid third-grader, is back for another adventure, and this time she’s worried about bad luck—and ghosts.
It should be a fun, thrilling time, because her class won the sleepover-in-the–school-library contest, but first the white girl breaks a mirror, and then her sometimes-friend and occasional nemesis, Joshua, starts to play ghost-related tricks on her in the library—which is just a tiny bit creepy in the nighttime. She sees some frightening yellow eyes and discovers a book by another Stella B. that might be about a ghost. Even competent kids like Stella can get just a bit creeped-out in scary situations. The mother of one of her friends helps Stella cope with the scariness, and mundane but just-mysterious-enough explanations for all the creepiness later emerge to soothe her worries. Stella’s voice is winsomely matter-of-fact and authentically age-appropriate. She deals with minor issues that many readers will immediately recognize. Kind, wise parents and other mostly supportive adults complete the calmly predictable picture of Stella’s middle-class life. Bell’s numerous lightly sketched illustrations depict a class composed of both white and darker-hued children, and the Latino male librarian is a nice touch. Large print and ample white space make for an inviting format for emerging chapter-book readers.
As in her other, now-numerous outings, Stella is a likable child; it’s pleasant to spend some time with her. (Fiction. 5-9)