Reading Measurement Programs:
Shelle Rosenfeld (Booklist, Sep. 1, 2000 (Vol. 97, No. 1))
Combining history and mystery, this somewhat uneven collection, set in real American ghost towns, recalls classic campfire tales. In "Payback," eighth-grader Alan finds protection from school bullies in a Cerberus-like ghost dog. "The Magic Eye" has 14-year-old Ashley discovering that a romantic young man isn't what he seems. In "Trade-Off," a disgruntled human boy provides unexpected opportunity for a 13-year-old ghost to come back to life. Town facts, travel directions, and resources follow stories, and an afterword offers practical advice for exploring ghost towns. The simple yet descriptive prose and modern protagonists entertain, but the repeated lesson about appreciating history makes the stories predictable. Even so, there's a ready audience for this. Give it to Nixon fans and readers who like spooky stories or books about Wild West days. It may spark interest in a fascinating, if often violent aspect of history. Category: Books for Middle Readers--Fiction. 2000, Delacorte, $14.95. Gr. 4-7.
Elaine Wick (Children's Literature)
In a delightful collection of stories, Nixon once again creates a mysterious world--of the ghosts who live in ghost towns, where "only babies can see through to the other side," (and once in a while children can, too). Readers are carried through the whispering, lonely streets of seven western ghost towns. Thirteen-year-old Chip goes to Tombstone with his family against his will, but once there, he meets gunfighter Billy's ghost and suffers with him when he is shot to death near the OK Corral. Lauren's mother won't buy her a computer unless she sees a real ghost in Shakespeare, New Mexico. But when Lauren meets little ghost Jane, she knows at once that she must keep the child's secret. When Dub and his buddy run away and end up in a town full of angry ghosts, they make tracks right back home, where Dub decides he can now get along with his sisters. Each teenage protagonist has a life dilemma until he encounters a ghost, then finds a new strength in himself and experiences a transformation. Every story concludes with a brief history of the ghost town, directions to its location and resources to learn more about it. A short chapter about how to properly explore a ghost town concludes this hauntingly good read. 2000, Delacorte, $14.95. Ages 8 to 13.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2000 (Vol. 68, No. 16))
A well conceived (and titled) collection of middle-of-the-road, mildly chilling short stories, almost all of which involve a modern day boy or girl's encounter with a supernatural entity in an old ghost town. In "Buried," an adolescent girl traveling with her parents is able to help a little-girl ghost psychologically so that she can rest in peace. Two runaway boys encounter several ghosts in "The Intruders," whose scary presence teaches them that they are too young to be on their own. "Payback," which reads like a contemporary fairy tale, tells the story of a boy's reward for coming to the defense of a downtrodden ghost dog. The most engaging story in the book is "Trade-Off," in which a ghost protagonist gets the opportunity to switch places with a live boy and join a real human family. The majority of the stories are gently instructive in that they teach an ethical lesson or have some kind of moral dimension. Additionally, the format gives Nixon the opportunity to painlessly slip in a little historical data about the various ghost towns. Each story is followed by a succinct history of the ghost town it is set in, directions for getting there and other information for children who want to explore the topic more deeply, including books and selected Web sites. Although the bulk of the stories are conventional and competent rather than weirdly thrilling, Nixon has put together a clever package for youngsters interested in ghosts and ghost towns. 2000, Delacorte, $14.95. Category: Short stories. Ages 8 to 12. © 2000 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Virginia Bailey (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 13, No. 3))
Mrs. Nixon sets these seven stories in real ghost towns including Tombstone, Arizona; Virginia City, Nevada; and Fort Griffin, Texas. She provides information about the towns after each story. Using real locations adds interest to these tales. Children in grades three through six will consider the stories and characters "thrilling and mysterious." Grades 3-6. 2000, Delacorte, 147p, $14.95. Ages 8 to 12.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.N65 Ge 2000