This fresh, funny launch of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series introduces an eccentric cast with pun-tastic names. I.B. Grumply, a cranky children's book author with writer's block, rents a dilapidated Victorian mansion (from realtor Anita Sale) in the town of Ghastly in hopes of writing an addition to his Ghost Tamers series (publisher: Paige Turner). He discovers that the owners have left their son Seymour behind while-in one of several ironic twists-they tour Europe debunking the existence of ghosts. Seymour does indeed "see more" than others: he has befriended Olive C. Spence, a feisty ghost who has vowed to haunt the house until she accomplishes what she couldn't in life-publish a book. As in the "Regarding the..." series, written by these sibling collaborators, the story unfolds through characters' correspondence ("The man is impossible! I should've dropped THREE chandeliers on his head," Olive writes Seymour about Grumply) as well as other documents, including illustrated pages from the local tabloid. Despite a slightly sappy denouement, the story is light enough for more tentative readers, with many humorous details to reward those who look closer. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Ignatius B. Grumply is the author of a children's fiction series about ghosts. Although Mr. Grumply's publisher has advanced him $100,000 for his next book, he seems unable to get started. In fact, he has had trouble getting started for more than ten years. That is why, in desperation, Mr. Grumply begins a correspondence with Anita Sale, a realtor. Anita assists Mr. Grumply in finding a quiet, restful location to spend his summer where he can again begin writing. Once Mr. Grumply's attorney and friend, E. Gadds, reviews and signs the lease agreement on Mr. Grumply's behalf, Mr. Grumply is ready to move in and start writing. In his haste, Mr. Grumply has failed to see that the lease contract also contains a clause about a certain young man and his cat, who have already set up residence in the house. When "Iggy" Grumply, as he becomes known, discovers the young man, Seymour, he is indignant that changes be made to the arrangements. It will be Seymour, his cat Shadow, and an unseen friend, however, who will become the muse for Iggy's newest title. This is a delightful tale, with shadings of the "Lemony Snicket" series, with the pencil drawings, introductions of characters on the front flap, and similar warnings about beginning the tale all included in the opening pages. Upper elementary students will be captivated with these characters and will await the sequel with true devotion. The richness of the writing and illustrations of the Klise sisters is a winning combination. This would be a great Christmas gift for the six to ten year old crowd, to share in a read-aloud and to read alone, under the covers with a flashlight. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
When former best-selling children's author I.B. Grumply moves into a Victorian mansion in Ghastly, IL, to write the latest installment in his "Ghost Tamer" series, he is hindered by more than just his overwhelming case of writer's block. He is dismayed to find the mansion already occupied by an 11-year-old boy named Seymour Hope, his cat, and Olive C. Spence, a ghost living in the cupola who is unhappy because she never managed to publish her books in her lifetime. Similar to the Klises' other offerings, the story is successfully told through letters, newspaper clippings, drawings, and related devices. Although Grumply has written ghost tales, he himself is a nonbeliever, and Olive and Seymour attempt to convince him. They then collaborate on a book about their own experiences, including the possibility of the demolition of the mansion, a ghost who falls in love with the occupant of her house, and Seymour's parents and their lack of responsibility for his care. This first title in a new series will appeal to readers, especially reluctant ones, as it moves quickly and leaves its audience eager for book two, which is announced in this ghastly and fun tale.-Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Plenty of fun lurks in this ghost-story comedy when a dried-up, unsociable writer, I.B. Grumply, rents an old house already occupied by Seymour Hope, an abandoned boy, and his best friend, Olive, an active and bossy lady ghost. All told through letters, newspaper articles and other documents, the story also stars M. Sarah Klise's whimsical line drawings, which add substance to the plot. Readers learn that Mr. Grumply's writer's block has continued until he's penniless; he'll have to open up and make friends with his new roommates if he wants to produce that next bestseller. Kate Klise fleshes out the plot with back stories on the house, Seymour's catastrophic, absent parents and Olive's haunting of the house. Suspense intrudes when Seymour's parents reappear and decide to demolish it. Everywhere they look, readers will find comedy, even in the headers on the letters and character names. Of course it's all going to come out magnificently in the end, thereby setting up the next book in the planned series. A quirky, comedic romp. (Fiction. 8-14)