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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 10 to 14.
Book Three of May Ellen Bird's adventures among the ghosts and ghoulies projects her--on her thirteenth birthday--back from Hog Wallow, West Virginia, to the Land of the Dead. She is really and truly projected: straight off the snowy roof of her house, becoming really and truly dead. It is tough luck, especially since she is barely recovered from the earthly publicity connected with her last disappearance. Now, with only the help of her cat, she must try to save her dead friends from the villainy of Evil Bo Cleevil who is attempting to change the afterlife into a huge, endless strip mall. Get the picture? Apparently scads of young readers are into such ghastly, ghostly plots, else why would the first two books be bestsellers? A matter of taste, certainly. Yet Anderson's final offering in the series is a scattered mishmash of back story, some feeble attempts at romance between May and her two suitors, and a bunch of unbelievable stunts which May half-heartedly performs. It is a pity young fantasy readers cannot be turned on to the classier, more positive fiction of writers like Diana Wynne Jones and Eva Ibbotson. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr