Kids will be happy to spend time in this particular haunted house.

READ REVIEW

FRIGHTFULLY FRIENDLY GHOSTIES

Who’s afraid of the big, bad…spider?

When the ever-frightened Pamela Fraidy is stuck in the attic with a leggy spider, it’s up to her fellow phantoms to work together and set her free. Tabitha Tumbly, poltergeist, Charlie Vapor, a courteous specter who can walk through walls, and Wither, a fearlessly emotional poetry-writing ghost, successfully do so. They are just a few of the amicable spirits who reside in the old house, also populated by “still-alives” who are always mean—they trap ghosts by closing doors and scream and shake whenever ghosts try to communicate! After efforts to befriend the still-alives fail, the ghosts call in a ghoul to send them on their way. But how to get rid of the ghoul once the job is done? Hint: A living creature with eight legs may hold the answer. Playful dialogue, gentle suspense, childlike characters, appealing black-and-white spot and full-page illustrations as well as an array of comic misunderstandings and themes of loyalty and friendship blend together nicely here in a chapter book that young readers will doubtlessly enjoy. Though the plot is a trifle thin and fragmented, even reluctant readers will giggle their way through as they see that misbehavior is often motivated by fear and that even the scariest adversary has vulnerabilities.

Kids will be happy to spend time in this particular haunted house. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62365-026-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Quercus

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

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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Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.

BOA CONSTRUCTOR

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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