Once you've seen a ghost, everything around you looks a little bit different." Readers will feel like they have in fact seen ghosts thanks to a clever design trick that helps to elevate Alter's memorable ghost story, his first book for young people. Three middle-school friends, Courtney, Orion and Ming, poke around the restricted section of the town library, digging for a book called "The Compleat Necromancer" by a Prof. Hezekiah T. Osgood. They learn of the nation of Prithvideep, six islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean where Osgood, a scholar selected to study its people, and his family went in 1914. Shortly thereafter, the three friends discovers the ghosts of Prithvideep's long-dead residents, staring out at them from the pages of various volumes (pictures of the ghosts also stare out at readers, faintly printed on the appropriate pages of this very book). Together with the town librarian they set out to free the ghosts of Prithvideep—and in the process, they learn that Dr. Osgood was not the benevolent man he appeared to be. The author devotes entire chapters to the history of Prithvideep, and excerpts from faux–magazine articles tracing the story of the Osgood expedition plus footnotes give the tale an authentic feel. Action-starved readers may grow a bit impatient with all the background material, but lovers of atmospheric chills will embrace this tasteful bit of haunting. Ages 10-14. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Phantom Islesby Stephen Alter, John Rocco
The book is called The Compleat Necromancer, and when Ming, Orion, and Courtney read an incantation from its pages, they have no way of knowing they are about to conjure up the ghosts of an entire nation. Because the ghosts that the three friends summon aren't just any ghosts. They were captured from an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean--the Ilhas dos/i>… See more details below
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The book is called The Compleat Necromancer, and when Ming, Orion, and Courtney read an incantation from its pages, they have no way of knowing they are about to conjure up the ghosts of an entire nation. Because the ghosts that the three friends summon aren't just any ghosts. They were captured from an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean--the Ilhas dos Fantasmas--a place where the living and the dead once coexisted peacefully. Now confined to the pages of a few dozen library books in a New England town that's thousands of miles from their home, the ghosts must rely on the children and a determined librarian to free them before they are lost forever.
When three New England sixth graders discover ghosts hidden inside books in their local public library, they enlist the help of the librarian and unravel the means by which the spirits were trapped. An evil scientist imprisoned them in the early 1900s on a fictional island in the Indian Ocean, and then brought the books to New England, where they were donated to the library upon his death. Several halftone illustrations appear in the section in which the ghosts are first introduced, giving the look of a face peering out from the text, which adds a creepy touch. The subplot involves the children's censorship-happy teacher who wants all unpleasant books removed from the library. While based on an interesting concept, the story is riddled with confusing touches. The ghosts speak English backwards, but are from an island where it is not spoken. One of the books involved contains a reference to nuclear weapons, but it would have been published in the 1930s at the latest. A laugh-out-loud-funny joke requires an understanding of Voltaire's Candide . Flashbacks to the deaths of the spirits are included in the text and are occasionally brutal, though not graphic. The use of present tense to tell their backstories yields fairly confusing results. While there is an inclination to advocate for a book that has a strong anticensorship librarian as a main character, this book misses the mark.
Kristin AndersonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From Kirkus Reviews
[T]his has the air of an old-fashioned adventure. …an entertaining read. --Kirkus Reviews
From Publisher's Weekly
[A] memorable ghost story…lovers of atmospheric chills will embrace this tasteful bit of haunting. --Publishers Weekly
From KidsReads.com and TeenReads.com
The Phantom Isles is creative and visually appealing, with stories within stories and images of arora watermarked on its pages. Told from several points of view, including the spirits trapped within the pages of obscure texts, The Phantom Isles succeeds as an entertaining, informative and engaging novel. --KidsReads.com and TeenReads.com
It's the fun kind of scary book that is a great story for anyone. It also seems like just the kind of book that parents could read to their kids. --TeensReadToo.com
The Phantom Isles by Stephen Alter has what it takes to become a children's classic, imbued with the type of found in other great children's literature like the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, or the books of Roald Dahl, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The Fantastic Mister Fox --CurledUp.com
From Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Review
This unique story is sure to catch the attention of even the most skeptical and dismissive of readers. …[C]ompletely engrossing and thoroughly satisfying right to the very last page. --Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Review
It's the fun kind of scary book that is a great story for anyone. It also seems like just the kind of book that parents could read to their kids.
This unique story is sure to catch the attention of even the most skeptical and dismissive of readers. …[C]ompletely engrossing and thoroughly satisfying right to the very last page.
- Bloomsbury USA
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.88(w) x 7.83(h) x 0.61(d)
- Age Range:
- 10 - 14 Years
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