Ghosts I Have Been
By Norah Caroline Piehl,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Peck combines shivery horror with slapstick humor.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Blossom makes several wisecracks about boys' lack of intelligence. Blossom and Alexander break into a locked building. Blossom uses her cleverness to trick people.
Violence & Scariness
A somewhat graphic scene of suicide by hanging. A minor character fires a rifle twice. A boy beats a girl up on the playground. Blossom sees several ghosts. She witnesses people dying on the Titanic. Blossom tells a scary story. Blossom's father abandone
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Few and mild.
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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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Blossom's appeal as a heroine. What makes her so likeable? Are there any particular traits of Blossom's personality that you can relate to?
- Author: Richard Peck
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Puffin
- Publication date: January 1, 1977
- Number of pages: 214
- Last updated: July 13, 2015
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