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Children's Literature Reviews
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Being dead : stories
by Vivian Vande Velde.
Contributor biographical information
Publisher description
Sample text
Table of contents
San Diego : Harcourt, 2001.
203 p. ; 24 cm.


Seven supernatural stories, all having something to do with death.

Best Books:

Best Children's Books of the Year, 2002 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Supplement to the Eighth Edition, 2002 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Senior High Core Collection, Seventeenth Edition, 2007 ; The H. W. Wilson Co.; United States
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2002 ; American Library Association; United States
Young Adults' Choices, 2003 ; International Reading Association; United States

State and Provincial Reading Lists:

South Carolina Junior Book Award, 2003-2004 ; Nominee; South Carolina

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader" "
Interest Level Upper Grade" "
Book Level 5.3" "
Accelerated Reader Points 6" "" "

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.
Lexile Measure 770

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 6
Title Point Value 11
Lexile Measure 770


GraceAnne DeCandido (Booklist, Sep. 1, 2001 (Vol. 98, No. 1))
Seven stories, ranging in length from just a few pages to more than 60, comprise this collection, with a ghost in every one. In "Drop by Drop," sullen teen Brenda loathes the rural house her parents have moved to from Buffalo, but her sulking turns to fear when a wet and bloody child that no one else can see keeps turning up in the new house at the sound of a bicycle bell. Emily has a brain tumor that she knows will kill her, but she finds a queasy tenderness in eighteenth-century ghosts at the historical site where she works in "October Chill." Vietnam casts a ghost in "Shadow Brother" and a young newsie in October 1930 doesn't lose his insouciance even when he's dead. Vande Velde has a sure hand, and these spirits are destined to find their audience. Category: Books for Older Readers--Fiction. 2001, Harcourt, $17. Gr. 7-10.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2001 (Vol. 69, No. 15))
Dead but not quite gone, specters in these seven stories rise up to harry the living, meet lovers, take care of unfinished business, or some combination thereof. There are no duds here: a harsh widower's recently buried wife returns to dance him into her grave; a young woman with brain cancer falls in love with a man over 200 years dead; "Drop By Drop" a hit-and-run victim drives a seemingly innocent teenager into an anguished confession. "The Ghost" is a cleverly written tale with a surprise narrator, and in the title story, a Depression Era newsboy killed by a jumper resists the Voice ("Sort of like Lowell Thomas, only not so full of himself"), calling him to eternal bliss until he sees his earnings conveyed to his mother. Here, veteran short-story writer Vande Velde ("Alison, Who Went Away", p. 266, etc.) again chills, charms, moves, and startles with her customary effectiveness. 2001, Harcourt, $17.00. Category: Short stories. Ages 10 to 13. © 2001 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Janice M. Del Negro (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 2001 (Vol. 55, No. 1))
Each story in this collection of seven short tales has an unusual take on ghostly happenings, from the tricky “Drop by Drop” (about a teenager haunted by the young victim of a hit-and-run accident) to the cleverly pithy “The Ghost” (about college students moving into a haunted house) to the romantic “October Chill” (in which a teenage girl with an inoperable brain tumor finds true love with the ghost of a young man from the eighteenth century). Whether the narrative is first or third person, whether the protagonist is living or ghostly, the main characters have engaging voices. Vande Velde is handy with the unexpected plot twist, the turnaround that both shocks and delights, and her writing style is precise and entertaining. Even in short stories her characters have emotional depth; she’s careful to give them contextual life before introducing elements of the supernatural, a choice which makes the stories even more effective. There’s something here for everyone, from adults seeking a readaloud for Halloween to young adults looking for a more sophisticated-than-Stine thrill. (Reviewed from galleys) Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 2001, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2001, Harcourt, 240p, $17.00. Grades 6-10.

Judy King (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 14, No. 4))
This is a book of short stories about death from different perspectives. Each one has a twist at the end. It is a very interesting book that is recommended for everyone, including high school students. Fiction. Grades 8-12. 2001, Harcourt, 203p, $17.00. Ages 13 to 18.

Jennifer Bromann (VOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5))
In this collection of seven short stories by the well-known writer of the supernatural, at least one character in each story is dead. In Drop Dead, a teenager is haunted by the girl she unknowingly has killed. In Shadow Brother, a soldier who is killed in Vietnam might be haunting the father who convinced him to enlist in the war. A man's wife returns from the dead for an endless dance in Dancing with Marjorie's Ghost, and a dying girl in October Chill meets a cute Colonial boy in the museum where she volunteers. In each story, there is a twist to the ending although it is not necessarily scary. Often humorous and sometimes evoking sympathy, this anthology will be enjoyed by lovers of mild horror as well as by those who like clever short stories. Vande Velde again sneaks in some historical background to make this collection similar to her Curses Inc. and Other Stories (Harcourt Brace, 1997/VOYA June 1997) and Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sister Weird (1995). The age appropriateness of the book seems to vary from story to story, some acceptable for as young as fifth grade and others more understandable for readers in high school. Several stories would work well for storytelling. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Harcourt, 228p, $17. Ages 11 to 15.


Paranormal fiction.
Children's stories, American.
Supernatural Fiction.
Horror stories.
Short stories.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.V2773 Be 2001
00012996 [Fic]
0152163204 (hardcover)
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