A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although there are definitely some darker moments here (a scene involving a hanging comes to mind), rest assured that they're presented in a non-threatening, age-appropriate manner.
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What's the story?
Blossom Culp used to get her kicks by dressing up as a ghost. When she starts seeing real ghosts, though, Blossom discovers her supernatural powers aren't just fun and games. Richard Peck combines shivery horror with slapstick humor in a thoroughly engrossing story centered on a spunky, unforgettable heroine.
Is it any good?
It's a rare book that could include a ghost who hangs herself and then serves tea, but this novel pulls it off; Blossom's unique voice frequently sets this skillful balance. Wryly observant of early 20th-century manners, fiercely independent but secretly eager to belong, Blossom tells her story as she lives her life, with common sense and humor. Neither a knife-throwing ghost nor the sudden fame that follows her Titanic vision fazes Blossom. The episodic plot filled with endearing supporting characters is similar to novels written a hundred years ago. The language is old-fashioned, too ("Whether you be born with the Gift or attain it is often debated"), and is an excellent stepping-stone for kids ready to jump into classic literature.
Just as Beverly Cleary did with Ramona (who appeared in Henry Huggins), Richard Peck makes Blossom Culp, a supporting character in The Ghost Belonged to Me, the heroine of its sequel. It's a wise choice, too; Blossom stole many scenes in the earlier novel, and her funny, matter-of-fact narration enables GHOSTS I HAVE BEEN to include scarier moments without losing its lightheartedness.