Ghosts and zombies and boa constrictors, oh my!
Spaulding Meriweather has moved around a lot with his great-aunt Gwendolyn. She used to home-school him between writing her bestselling mysteries, but now that they have moved to her girlhood hometown, Thedgeroot, he has started attending sixth grade at public school. Making friends is not his strong suit; he’s a little odd, just like his parents, who have a specious paranormal-investigations television show that keeps them too busy to care for him. Complicating matters, he is pretty sure he saw a zombie—er, revenant—in the woods outside of town, and someone is stealing bodies from the local cemetery. Then he meets the ghost next door, Mr. Radzinsky, who was eaten by his own boa constrictor. Spaulding contacts his parents, but he has cried spook before; they won’t come. He decides to go it alone and investigate the zombies and the not-so-abandoned Slecht-Tech factory nearby…well, not alone. There’s fourth-grade neighbor Lucy Bellwood and her older sister, Marietta, and another classmate, Kenny Lin—and Mr. Radzinsky seems keen to help as well. Author/illustrator Mitchell’s debut is spooky and sarcastic. Her occasional illustrations (purportedly culled from Spaulding’s notebook, complete with funny captions) are an added bonus. They depict Spaulding as white and Lucy and Marietta as black; Kenny is cued as Asian.
Fans of Dan Poblocki, John Bellairs, and R.L. Stine will all be right at home and smiling at the shivers (and the jokes). (Suspense. 8-12)