With werewolves now a hot fiction item (for instance, Michael Cadnum's St. Peter's Wolf, p. 416, or Dennis Danvers's Wilderness, p. 266), it's no surprise to see a ``true'' account of the hairy beasts. Too bad it's by the Warrens, those professional ``demonologists'' last seen facing down Satan and his minions (and Bigfoot too) in Ghost Hunters (1989). Before the Warrens enter the chronicle at hand (told in narrative, Q&A-interview, and diary forms), though, we're regaled in the alphabet-block prose of their usual coauthor, Chase, with the sad saga of Bill Ramsey, the book's fourth credited author. Ramsey, you see, was the werewolf—well, actually it turns out that he wasn't a werewolf at all but, as the text describes him, a ``wolfman'' like Lon Chaney, Jr., in those 40's horror films—well, actually it turns out that he wasn't a wolfman at all but a young working-class British bloke who thought he was changing into a wolf, which is why he tried to bite all those friends and young ladies and cops and nurses. But it wasn't his fault: The Devil made him do it. Which is where the Warrens come in. In England on a promotional tour (neatly continued in the text: ```The Warrens are the most fascinating people I've ever interviewed,' '' an anonymous TV producer is quoted as saying), they learn of Ramsey's plight and pinpoint it as demonic possession. A bit of persuasion and Ramsey is off with them to the States, where their old colleague Bishop McKenna, also last seen in Ghost Hunters (``He's a very earnest and devout man. You just don't see his kind around a lot anymore,'' says Ed) exorcises the invading ``demon,'' setting Ramsey free. Skeptics, please note the Warrens' assurance that this is ``a carefully documented'' case (they forgot to include the documentation, though). As for us: Grrrrrrrrrr....

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-312-06493-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

Did you like this book?