The Funeral Director's Son

The Funeral Director's Son

4.0 6
by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

View All Available Formats & Editions

This family business is for life...

In the small town of Clover, when you die, you are put to rest by Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. Unfortunately twelve-year-old Kip Campbell happens to be the only "son" in that title. And that's a problem for him since the funeral home business is the last thing he wants to inherit, even if he has


This family business is for life...

In the small town of Clover, when you die, you are put to rest by Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. Unfortunately twelve-year-old Kip Campbell happens to be the only "son" in that title. And that's a problem for him since the funeral home business is the last thing he wants to inherit, even if he has a "gift" for it. See, it just so happens that Kip can talk to the dead. Well, they talk to him, really. They tell him what they need in order to move on to the great beyond. Kip wants to move too. Straight out of Clover. He's about to give notice -- he's done helping the dead -- when he's offered a surprising deal: Find out the secret that is holding back old Billy Blye, and Kip will receive his weight in gold. That would be enough to take him far away from Clover, and Campbell and Sons Funeral Home.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
Imagine being a twelve-year-old boy who comes from a long line of funeral directors and will be heir to a funeral home. Campbell and Sons Funeral Home in Clover holds the future for Kip Campbell, unfortunately the only son in the name of the business. Kip has the unique power of talking to the dead. With this "gift" he can send the deceased on their way in peace after he solves any problems standing in their way before they leave for the great beyond. His powers are put to the test, however, when he must find the secret which made the seaman, old Billy Blye, such an angry man for so many years. Blye cannot "sail on" in peace after he dies. Kip is promised his weight in gold if he can find out the secret. When Kip's priceless kite falls into Mrs. Blye's rose garden, he solves the mystery, and puts his mind at rest, too, about why Billy Blye was so angry. The author shows the family dynamics well throughout the story, and introduces a cat and parrot whose behaviors add to the story. Relevant quotations from the works of Charles Dickens introduce each chapter, and give the reader an indication of what is to come. A sequel, Kip Campell's Gift, follows this book. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6

Kip, 12, is unhappy with the prospect of one day running the family business, Campbell and Sons Funeral Home, and longs to escape his small New England town and explore the world. However, he has a unique ability that should make him a natural in the profession: he can hear the voices of the newly dead that have not yet passed on to "the good" and help them resolve the issues that are keeping them anchored to this world. Eager to go to summer camp with his three buddies, Kip needs to raise money for the fee. When a grouchy fisherman suddenly dies, the voice tells Kip that he can earn his weight in gold if he helps the departed man pass on. The story's action speeds by quickly and events are not smoothly linked together. Many plot and character details are introduced but not fully developed, and Kip hops breathlessly from one place to another. The writing attempts to be humorous and philosophical, but ends up more confusing than enjoyable. Chapters open with quotes from Charles Dickens's works, but most young readers will be unfamiliar with these books and will miss the point of their presence. This rushed story never really gives readers a chance to settle in and get to know the characters.-Bethany A. Lafferty, Las Vegas-Clark County Library, NV

Kirkus Reviews
Since 1875, Campbell and Sons Funeral Home has been taking care of the dead in the tiny, depressed town of Clover. Twelve-year-old Kip, Paratore's resourceful good-kid protagonist and the reluctant heir to the franchise, has an unusual talent: He helps the dead lighten their hearts so they can sail into the next world. But now Kip is ready to sail away himself and wants only to make enough money to attend summer camp with his three best friends. The plot tries to kick into gear when the interior voices that guide his talent offer Kip his weight in gold if he'll continue to help the dead for one more year. His first challenge is Billy Blye, a mean one-eyed lobsterman who has always terrified him. Getting Billy aloft requires ingenuity and teamwork, as Kip doesn't know the source of his heavy sorrow. Despite the action that follows as Kip struggles to unravel the mystery of Billy's distress, the story fails to engage, leaving the reader flat on the ground. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Funeral Director's Son Series , #1
Sold by:
File size:
283 KB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Campbell and Sons

There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk...

-- Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

I spend a lot of time thinking about f-words.

Food. Friends. Fun.

And funerals.

That's right, funerals. Our family runs Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. We live upstairs from the business. Family on the second floor. Funerals on the first. Frankenstein stuff in the basement. When you kick it in Clover, my home is your home. You're welcome anytime. Every day that ends in y. Morning, noon, or night.

It's been that way since 1875. Ever since my great-great-great-great-grandfather Christopher Adams Campbell had the fishbrain idea to start a funeral business. He was a carpenter, the only one in town, and I guess he was building so many caskets, he figured he might as well bury them too.

I wish the old Pilgrim could have picked a better product. Potato chips or bubble gum or chicken soup or something. But that's spit off Clover Cliff at this point. As we say in the funeral field, we're in it "forever" now.

For six long generations, Campbell and Sons Funeral Home has been proudly, and I mean proudly, passed on down from Campbell father to son. And that's fine if you like hanging around dead people. I don't.

That's a problem. A big one. Because unless one of my sisters grows a mustache and crosses over, there's only one Campbell son in this entire generation.


And every time I pass by that long line of Christophers hanging on the wall in the hall downstairs -- the gold-trimmed ghostly-grim faces of every Christopher Campbell, Funeral Director, from Christopher Adams Campbell to Christopher Bartholomew Campbell to Christopher Clemson Campbell...all the way to my father, Christopher Francis Campbell -- a snaky shiver runs down my spine.

And when I come to the end of the line and see that space on the wall next to my Dad. The perfect-size spot for one more portrait. The place where my face is supposed to go. I get a punch-in-the-gut-puke-it-up feeling.

All I can think about is: how can I stop history?

How can I be the first Christopher to break the family curse?

Be a Christopher Columbus, not a Christopher Campbell.

Chart a new course, pull up anchor, catch the wind, and sail away.

Even though, I know, it will break my father's heart. Copyright © 2008 by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Meet the Author

Coleen Murtagh Paratore is the author of the acclaimed The Wedding Planner's Daughter and its brand-new sequel The Cupid Chronicles. For younger readers, she has also written How Prudence Proovit Proved the Truth About Fairy Tales. She's a believer in community rent, Cupid, and the magic of Cape Cod. Look for Mack McGinn's Big Win -- in which two all-American sports-star brothers battle to be the best -- in Summer 2007. Learn more about Coleen at

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Funeral Director's Son 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sitting in the car