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Ghost at the Window

Ghost at the Window

by Margaret McAllister, Barbara Morgan (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Ninian House in the Scottish Village of Loch Treen began over a thousand years ago as a small stone chapel. Twelve-year-old Ewan Dart and his eccentric artist father and interior designer mother are its latest occupants. They notice that the house has a habit of forgetting which century it is in, switching back and forth to other times. They take these time changes in stride and are not alarmed by the ghosts they see because soon enough, the house reverts to the present. Ewan likes the peculiarities and remoteness of his house but wishes his parents were a bit more normal. He seeks refuge at the ordinary and bustling cottage of his best friend, Nick. When Ewan meets ten-year-old Elsbeth, a ghost who is trapped in his room, he must uncover a mystery that is more than sixty years old. Although she died of diphtheria in 1937, her spirit is stuck in Ewan's bedroom. She has been waiting for the house to come around to her time again and wants Ewan's help. The evil thing locked in Ewan's closet prevents her from escaping, and he must locate one of Ninian House's former occupants to uncover the mystery and free Elsbeth. This delightful fantasy will appeal to both boys and girls. The exotic location and mysteries of the house make it a fast and exciting ghost story. The writing is rich with descriptions of the Scottish countryside and its unpredictable weather. Ewan's evolving perceptions of his parents are portrayed quite realistically. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Dutton, 160p,
— Lois Parker-Hennion
Children's Literature
Ewan Dart and his parents had only lived in Ninian House for six months but they had already discovered what an unusual abode it was. The house could shift between centuries. Sometimes, it would be a chapel; other times, a castle. One evening, Ewan saw a young girl standing next to his bed, and unlike the other ghosts, she looked directly at him and pleaded for his help. It appears that Elspeth died in 1937 of diphtheria but was caught in a house shift before she could reach her everlasting resting place. Ewan is determined help her. He discovers that a former resident and the closet in his room whose door he cannot open hold the solution to Elspeth's problem. This ghostly tale of friendship and forgiveness takes place in the Scottish countryside. Damp and stormy weather set the scene and create the mood. Ewan is a likeable character in a story that moves along briskly. It is easy to envision the time warps of Ninian House that McAllister has created with just a few crisp phrases. This is a good story to curl up with on a dark and stormy night. 2002, Dutton,
— Sharon Salluzzo
Young Ewan Dart has moved to Scotland, and discovers that his brand new house, a huge stone mansion, has the strange habit of "playing tricks on his senses." Out of nowhere, it seems, the new home changes "centuries." For brief but startling moments, Ewan can see people from the past, and they can see him. One night, alone in his bedroom, Evan encounters the ghost of Elspeth, a girl who died in 1937. The young Elspeth has never been able to leave the temporal world of the living, and join her friends on "the other side." Terrified of something that lurks in Evan's closet, and desperate to find eternal rest, the ghost Elspeth pleads for Ewan's help. Adventure and mishap ensues as Ewan helps Elspeth escape, and overcomes his own fears about the presence of more ghosts. Middle school students will embrace this fast-paced, easy read tale of adventure and mystery, and teachers will delight in a book that reluctant readers will find historically intriguing, and delightfully engaging. Jeffrey S. Kaplan Orlando, Fl 1000 Inventions and Discoveries by Roger Bridgman Non-Fiction/Reference Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2002, 256 pp., Kaplan
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-When Ewan Dart opens the door to his house, he's never sure if he'll see a Victorian parlor, ancient warriors, or his own living room. Ninian House, located in a remote Scottish village, shifts in time, displaying moments from its history to its current residents. The figures from the past are usually unaware of their watchers, but Ewan is contacted by Elspeth, a spirit who has been trapped in the house since her death at age nine in the 1930s. At the moment of her death, the house shifted in time, and she was unable to leave it. She enlists Ewan's help to break free, but their efforts are thwarted by a threatening force that is centered in a locked closet. With the help of his friend Mick, Ewan finds out about former residents, and contacts one of them, Elspeth's cousin Alex, to resolve the mystery and set her free. Ninian House's time-shifting, casually accepted by Ewan's parents and other local residents, gives this fast-paced ghost story an unusual twist. McAllister's characters are realistic and their relationships are detailed, especially the developing bond between Ewan and his artistic father. Mick and his family add local color and warmth to the story. This engaging book will have a strong appeal to fans of Betty Ren Wright though the Scottish setting makes for a slightly more challenging read.-Beth L. Meister, Queens Borough Public Library, Flushing, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This atmospheric ghost story delivers enough tension and shivers to satisfy all young ghost and mystery connoisseurs. Set near a loch in Scotland it has loads of fascinating elements, including an eerie house, a lost soul trapped between worlds, and a sealed closet concealing a dark secret. Within the ancient walls of Ninian House, strange things occur. It was built and rebuilt throughout the ages with stones and logs left over from the likes of Roman walls and crumbling abbeys. The house trips from time dimension to time dimension, one moment in the Middle Ages, the next flitting to the Victorian, but always back to the present. Ewan, our hero, and his artistic parents are eccentric enough to appreciate this about the house, but Ewan is discomfited by the appearance one day of the wan young girl, Elspeth, who pleads for help before vanishing again. Elspeth, we soon learn, died of diphtheria in the '30s. As she was about to pass away, the house shifted its place in time and trapped her. Ewan helps Elspeth, although it isn't as easy as it first appears. The key solution turns out to be Elspeth's cousin, Alex, now a grown man and priest. Disjointed elements rush to align too conveniently as when readers learn that the priest, Alex, is also a kind of ghost guide. But overall, McAllister's (Hold My Hand and Run, 2000) tightly wound plot speeds along without a wasted word. (Fiction. 9-13)

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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