GHOST TOWN

SEVEN GHOSTLY STORIES

A well conceived (and titled) collection of middle-of-the-road, mildly chilling short stories, almost all of which involve a modern day boy or girl’s encounter with a supernatural entity in an old ghost town. In “Buried,” an adolescent girl traveling with her parents is able to help a little-girl ghost psychologically so that she can rest in peace. Two runaway boys encounter several ghosts in “The Intruders,” whose scary presence teaches them that they are too young to be on their own. “Payback,” which reads like a contemporary fairy tale, tells the story of a boy’s reward for coming to the defense of a downtrodden ghost dog. The most engaging story in the book is “Trade-Off,” in which a ghost protagonist gets the opportunity to switch places with a live boy and join a real human family. The majority of the stories are gently instructive in that they teach an ethical lesson or have some kind of moral dimension. Additionally, the format gives Nixon the opportunity to painlessly slip in a little historical data about the various ghost towns. Each story is followed by a succinct history of the ghost town it is set in, directions for getting there and other information for children who want to explore the topic more deeply, including books and selected Web sites. Although the bulk of the stories are conventional and competent rather than weirdly thrilling, Nixon has put together a clever package for youngsters interested in ghosts and ghost towns. (Short stories. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-32681-5

Page Count: 146

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2000

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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