THE GHOST CADET by Elaine Marie Alphin


Age Range: 9 - 12
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 Benjy, 12, and his 16-year-old sister meet their grandmother, Miss Leota, for the first time when they go to visit her in New Market, Virginia. All three are apprehensive; but Benjy, lonely and insecure, likes Miss Leota immediately. He's fascinated by a battle fought in New Market in 1864 and--while visiting the battlefield--encounters the ghost of a cadet, Hugh, who can't find rest until he restores the family honor by recovering a watch he hid during the fighting. Welcoming Hugh's friendship, Benjy offers to help, which he does by going back in time to witness Hugh hiding the watch before he dies. Benjy retrieves and takes the watch to the VMI Museum, where he presents it to a descendant of Hugh's. Reminiscent of traditional 19th-century travel books, this first novel falls victim to its author's well-intentioned agenda. Frequently, the voice seems less like Benjy's than Alphin's as she explains her characters; as a result, Benjy and his overanalyzed problems are more likely to arouse scorn than admiration. Of use only where there is a strong demand for Civil War material. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-8050-1614-7
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991


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