A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The stories involve characters and some plot points from several children's and juvenile fiction books, so viewers get to know some aspects of them if they're not already familiar. In addition, the kids point out the stories' themes as they relate to their own experiences.
Kids see Rubin and his friends use critical thinking skills to solve mysteries and help the characters they meet. To do so, they develop a working knowledge of the characters' stories and use clues from them to save the day. Their connection to the Ghostwriter instigates their friendship, but they come to really like and appreciate each other the more they spend time together. The story touches on the recent loss of Rubin's grandmother and its lingering effects on him and his family, as well as her possible connection to the mysteries at hand. To cover up the truth, the kids often tell white lies to explain away what's done by the characters no one else can see.
Positive Role Models
Adults take secondary roles in these stories, but when they're there, they are mostly supportive and positive behavioral models. The kids try to solve the mysteries with little to no disruption to those around them (mostly to avoid explaining it), but when messes happen, they take responsibility and clean them up.
Products & Purchases
This series is a reboot of a 1990s show of the same name and features characters and events from a variety of children's literature selections.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghostwriter is an excellent reboot of the same-named 1990s series. It encourages literature literacy with stories that involve characters from classic and modern books, with content that brings them to life and into the midst of the four kids tasked with helping them. The show is well written, features a diverse cast, has no iffy content, and relates themes from the featured books to issues that arise in the kids' lives and relationships, encouraging the idea that stories and reading still have relevance in an era of technological dominance. What's more, it's so much fun to watch that it's a great pick for grade-schoolers and their parents, many of whom probably remember the original.
Is It Any Good?
This reboot is a charming and exciting romp through the pages of classic and modern children's literature as the characters' adventures play out in the kids' urban surroundings. One minute Rubin and his friends are minding their own business and taking math tests in class, and the next they're following an enchanted skateboard down the city streets to discover Mowgli and some of his animal friends in an indoor jungle display or sitting at tea with the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter in the school auditorium. With no one else able to see or hear the characters who need the kids' help, it all falls to these four to return the wayward visitors to the blank pages of their book homes.
But what of the literary value of a TV show that takes characters out of books and puts them on the screen without the context of their respective stories? As the kids decipher Ghostwriter's clues and piece together what they need to do, they turn to the books from whence the characters came for just that context. By knowing the story they're able to separate friend from foe, understand the characters' needs and actions, and help solve problems that the accidental visitors encounter. In so doing, they also articulate the stories' themes and even find ways to relate what they learn to minor problems in their own lives.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.