What You Need to Know:|
• An old ghost and a young boy help grouchy Mr. Grumply to overcome his writer's block.
• The story is told through a series of letters, notes, newspaper articles, and Grumply's attempts at writing a book.
• There are some challenging words like macabre, ruminations, communiques, and beseechingly.
• Dying to Meet You is the first in a series. Book five is due out April 2013.
• This series is a Junior Library Guild selection.
• Teachers should check out kateandsarahklise.com for an incredibly thorough discussion guide.
What to do if you're writing a book about ghosts, but you've had writer's block for 20 years? Well, rent a house next to a cemetery, of course! That's just what Mr. Grumply does in order to write book 13 in his Ghost Tamer series. No questions asked, he pays the rental fee with money he doesn't have (did I mention that he's broke?) and looks forward to some peace and quiet in which to get his creative juices going again. Too bad the house is already occupied by 11-year-old Seymour (abandoned by his parents), Seymour's cat, and a noisy ghost. Hmmm...things aren't looking good for this old curmudgeon, until the ghost, also known as Olive, decides to help end Grumply's writers block. Olive bring more to Mr. Grumply than just a good story, she changes his life.
Dying to Meet You, book one in the 43 Old Cemetery Road series is silly, funny, goofy, and especially clever. There is no actual text, but the story comes across loud and clear through various other means of communication. There are letters that convey what the characters are thinking, and there are newspaper articles and ads that share background details and updates from an outsider's point of view. The illustrations and captions further expand on the story and give readers that added appreciation of the people and the events. Finally, every time that Mr. Grumply makes another attempt at his book, readers get some insight into the progress he is making - with a little help from Olive!
The delivery of the story, in quick but revealing bursts, keeps it moving at a quick pace. Although it has no real impact on the story, it is interesting to note that it is told mostly from the perspective of the older character, rather than from a young person's point of view. That fact doesn't reduce the fun that's in store for readers. They will roar with laughter and will likely want to share funny details with you. Lively conversations, clever names like Anita Sale, Shirley U. Jest, and Frank N. Beans, and subtle letter signatures like "Losing my patience on the second floor, I.B. Grumply" will keep readers absorbed and coming back for more from 43 Old Cemetery Road.
M. Sarah Klise
2010, 160 pages
Books & Reading, Humor, Mystery, Self-Awareness/Discovery
• Do you believe in ghosts?
• Which of the character's names do you like the best?
• Why does Mr. Grumply have writer's block?
• How does Olive make Mr. Grumply see the error of his ways?
• How would you describe the relationship between Seymour and his parents?
• If you were going to write a book, what topic would you choose?
• Olive says that your life is a story so, what kind of story is yours: comedy, drama, tragedy, etc.?
• If you could change anything about your life, what would you change?
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