Reviews for Christinas Ghost

by Betty Ren Wright

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 4-6 Ten-year-old Christina is staying at a gloomy old house in the country where her Uncle Ralph is house-sitting. When she repeatedly sees the ghostly figure of a small boy, she investigates. Christina discovers that 30 years ago, the boy, Russell Charles, and his tutor, Thomas Dixon, were murdered because of some rare stamps Dixon had stolen. Christina and Uncle Ralph decide to find the missing stamps and lay the ghosts to rest. The plot is well-constructed and moves quickly. The ghosts are convincing, as Wright conveys the wistfulness of the boy and the terrifying presence of Dixon without turning them into caricatures of human beings. The climactic scene in which Christina and Uncle Ralph find the stamps and flee the house pursued by the vengeful Dixon is sure to have readers on the edge of their seats. The mystery is a bit pat; one visit to a newspaper office reveals the facts of the murder, and the conclusion that finding the stamps will lay the ghosts to rest is produced out of thin air and not based on either clues or deduction. However, the side plot concerning the evolving relationship between Christina, who is uncomfortable with her bachelor uncle, and her uncle, who does not seem to care much for Christina, is well handled. Although not as tense and suspenseful as Wright's The Dollhouse Murders (Holiday, 1983), this will nicely fill the request for ``a good scary ghost story, please.'' Lisa Smith, Cold Spring Harbor Library, N . Y . (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 3-6-Carol Jordan Stewart's expert narration adds distinction to Betty Wright's fairly routine but entertaining ghost story (Holiday, 1985). Stewart does a wonderful job of voicing Christina, a lonely girl forced to spend some time with her grumpy Uncle Ralph in an isolated mansion, and bringing gruff yet vulnerable Uncle Ralph to life. His exchanges with the riddle-loving Christina keep listeners hooked. The fast-moving story kicks into high gear when Christina sees a young boy in a blue sailor suit watching her swim. He vanishes, but she keeps spotting this fleeting mysterious figure, and speculates about him being a ghost. Some sleuthing leads to the discovery that the boy was Russell Charles, the victim of a crime committed in the mansion 30 years ago. To Christina's dismay, she discovers that the evil spirit responsible for his death is residing in the ice cold attic. Although it possesses many familiar elements (secret rooms, an unsolved crime), this ghost story will captivate young listeners. As Christina joins forces with her crusty uncle, Wright adds surprising poignancy to the family dynamics. And by introducing an ill-tempered small town newspaper editor who thinks women should not pursue careers, Wright adds a welcome commentary about sexism, helping Christina realize that she must defy traditional gender roles and embrace her inner girl-power. Stewart reads this formulaic story with heart and a surprising sense of humanity.-Brian E. Wilson, Evanston Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 4-6. A ghost boy materializes to ask Christina's aid in solving an old mystery. For another wraith tale see the author's Ghost beneath Our Feet.

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