In this chapter book for young readers, a boy and his friends brave a possibly haunted cornfield on Halloween night.
Is the spooky field at the end of young Finn Fasser’s street haunted by the ghost of its former owner, old man Grim, who mysteriously disappeared more than 100 years ago? Finn is sure that it is, and there’s no way he’s going to go into the maze of stalks to find out, especially on Halloween—no matter how much his best friend, Botts, teases him about it. During his school’s Halloween carnival, Finn and his friends are fed up with school bully Bellow, whose mean tricks include dunking students’ heads in the apple-bobbing tub and putting “Pinch Me” signs on their backs. Finn’s desire to teach Bellow a lesson gives him “an idea that turned and twisted his stomach.” It involves dressing up as a demonic, ghostly Grim (while perched on Botts’ shoulders) and overcoming his own fears in order to give Bellow a scare in the cornfield. Another wrinkle: An unknown, black-caped candy thief is stealing kids’ treat bags for the second Halloween in a row, and the field may play a part in revealing the thief’s identity. Of course, the real Grim won’t show up—or will he? In this well-crafted work of juvenile fiction, debut author Knight wraps a lively narrative around believable kids in the realistic setting of a neighborhood, home, and school, pacing the story with humor, a touch of authentic suspense, and a message about standing up for others. Interestingly, while there’s no hint of it in the text, Knight’s characters are depicted in Meyers’ (The Baltimore Bandit, 2019, etc.) black-white-and-gray–toned illustrations as pigs—although, other than their snouts and ears, they’re human in appearance. The enjoyable, full-page illustrations (approximately one per chapter) skillfully complement the story with plenty of fun, atmospheric detail.
Entertaining and suspenseful storytelling with relatable elementary school characters.