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Children's LiteratureLewis's camping trip is anything but fun. Billy and Stan tease and harass him and even rip Lewis's tent so that it crashes around him. Near a unique stone in the woods, Lewis finds a whistle and it mysteriously appears again when the bullies catch him in an alley. He blows a loud piercing note and the two boys run off. Again when Billy and Stan catch Lewis alone, he finds the whistle in his pocket. As he blows, a ghost-like serpent appears and strikes both boys in the chest. They are hospitalized with an unknown anemia disease. Because the specter helped Lewis, he is slowly coming under its spell. Its goal is to take over Lewis's body and exchange his life for its own. Will Lewis escape in time or be consumed by the serpent vampire? At night, the ghost lures him out, "Come with me." His uncle, Jonathon, and friend, Mrs. Zimmerman, research the ancient monster and discover that if Lewis blows the whistle a third time, he will be completely under its spell, but they must use Lewis to draw the monster out and forever bury it under the stone. Brad Strickland has continued the series that John Bellairs started using the same quirky characters, adventure, and magic. 2003, Dial Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, Ages 10 to 14.
— Janet L. Rose