CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 30 . . . . April 9, 2010
Lucinda returns in The Curse of the Evening Eye to torture and test the weak heart of Molly and Adam's father, Tim. She remains viciously bent on continuing her longstanding revenge against the Barnett family, despite having promised to give the Barnett children time to restore her reputation and thereby break the family curse. In the first book of the Ghosthunters trilogy by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman, The Proof that Ghosts Exist, we are given a funny and frightful tale of betrayal, revenge, and family ties. In this second book in the series, The Curse of the Evening Eye, Matas and Nodelman continue to unravel this story at a gripping pace. As the second in the series, this book builds on all of the strengths of the first.
Molly and Adam (with Granddad in their pocket) fly with their father to a film festival in Palm Springs. The siblings have little time left to fulfill their promise to the vengeful ghost Lucinda. They continue to hide the truth from their father –– in case the shock from learning the truth about the ghost world and his family curse would give him a heart attack. Hiding a giant red-haired ghost attached to a piece of a desk, of course, leads to more entertaining, sarcastic, and dry humour in the minds and dialogue of Molly and Adam. As with the first book, Matas and Nodelman walk the perfect balance of humour, mystery, and suspense.
In The Proof That Ghosts Exist, Reggie Crankshaft is introduced as a mysterious saviour/potential killer. In The Curse of the Evening Eye, Reggie returns, again shrouded in mystery. Matas and Nodelman weave Reggie's character back into the storyline with the same hair-raising tactics. Reggie, as it turns out, knows a lot about the Barnett history, and there is a lot more to the family curse than they had imagined. The authors leave the reader in the dark as long as possible and eke out the delicious feeling of suspense. Strong character development and a tight plot make this book a captivating read.
The Ghosthunters trilogy toys with the idea of proof. In the first book, there is the proof that ghosts exist, and in this second book, the children are attempting to uncover the proof of Lucinda's innocence to a crime. Matas and Nodelman add in small, seemingly insignificant comments about the nature of time, the nature of the spirit world –– they are silently raising ideas about the way that we know and understand the world. These precious little gems of information embedded in this series invoke reflection and wonderment about the world as we know it –– or think we know it. The story, itself, is written with clarity and suspense, pushing the reader onward. The characters are also witty, charming, well-developed, and lovable. However, the best and most fascinating part of this series is the way Matas and Nodelman subtly urge the reader to reconsider the world, to imagine what time really is, how we exist and interact with the known and unknown world around us. The writing in The Curse of the Evening Eye leaves readers with much to think about long after they have read the book.
Brianne Grant, a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Children's Literature program at the University of British Columbia, is now a Research Coordinator for an Early Childhood Study at UBC.
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