THE BACKYARD GHOST by Lynn Cullen

THE BACKYARD GHOST

Age Range: 9 - 11
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 When Eleanor's family moves from Marietta to Decatur, Georgia, it's popularity panic. Hoping to impress the new crowd, particularly silver-blond, earring-swinging Misty (jealously guarded by possessive Jessica), Eleanor tries her ``Pig Face'' grimace and notes on toilet-paper, antics considered cute and funny in her old school; here, they backfire. She tries to avoid nerdy kids like shy ``egghead'' Charlie, who hangs around her backyard keeping in touch with the ghost of Joseph, a young bugler killed there in a Civil War battle. A secret fantasy of being a pioneer girl also links Eleanor to the past, enabling her to sense Joseph's presence. Still, she's interested only in popularity; she uses the ghost as an excuse for a party for her prospective friends--another plan that goes awry. Meanwhile, Charlie's convinced that contact with Joseph is growing weaker because his bugle is missing from its burial place. Sure enough, when the bugle turns up, firm contact is reestablished. Descriptions of the apparitions comprise some of this first novel's best writing, but the opportunity to develop a good ghost story with a taste of history is frittered away: even readers sympathetic to Eleanor's concerns will lose patience with her obsession and her infantile behavior (she seems more like a fourth-grader than a seventh), and be disappointed when this potentially exciting tale vanishes into thin air. (Fiction 9-11)

Pub Date: April 20th, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-64527-1
Page count: 150pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993




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