________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 20 . . . . June 4, 1999

cover A Ghost in the Attic.

Suzan Reid. Illustrated by Susan Gardos.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1998.
105 pp., pbk., $4.99.
ISBN 0-590-03867-2.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4


Jaime dug into her pocket. "Look what I've got," she exclaimed.
Matt dropped his garbage bag. "Where did you get that," he asked. "Or do I want to know?"
"It was hanging on a wall in Mr. Douglas's office," Jaime answered.
Matt groaned and slapped his forehead. "You took a key from the principal's office?"
"Not took," Jaime corrected him. "Borrowed. We'll put it back."
So begins the adventures of Jaime and Matt, two upper elementary students with a penchant for finding trouble. The fuel behind the fire is Jaime, who was also responsible for believing that aliens were populating the basement of their school (Aliens in the Basement). This time, Jaime is sure that there is a ghost in the attic of the school, the ghost of the first principal who vanished in 1937.

      Jaime and Matt engage in all sorts of surreptitious activities to get into the attic and solve the mystery. At every step, they run into teachers and family members who wish they'd just behave. And they're not helped by their own inept sleuthing - they leave their dishes in the school attic, they're always late for class, etc. The mystery is solved very simply, finally, as most are. But the truth would never have been known without the kids' digging (in more ways than one).

      This is a nice chapter book with larger bold text that is suitable for advanced young readers or older readers looking for a quick read. There is lots of dialogue to make the story run by quickly, the drawback being that the characters are not well developed as a result. Each character participates actively in the plot, with the slight edge to Jaime. Because she is somewhat of a tomboy, the book has appeal for both boys and girls. The plot is straightforward, with only one string (the role of Mr. Roberts) left unresolved. Each chapter runs between five and ten pages, a length which will make children feel a sense of accomplishment as they read. The illustrations on the soft cover show contemporary kids, and there are black and white illustrations interspersed through the book. The text indicates that the setting is Canadian, without specifying where.

      This book is appropriate for a bulk reading program or a school library.


Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364