Parents' Guide to

Ghosts I Have Been

By Norah Caroline Piehl, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Peck combines shivery horror with slapstick humor.

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Kids say (3):

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.

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