________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 15 . . . . March 29, 2002

cover Ghosts. (A Strange Science Book).

Sylvia Funston. Illustrated by Joe Weissman.
Toronto, ON: Owl Books/Greey de Pencier Books, 2001.
40 pp., pbk. & cloth, $9.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-894379-20-9 (pbk.), ISBN 1-894379-19-5 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Ghosts-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9 to 13.

Review by Janice Foster.

***1/2 /4


Contrary to what books or movies show, not all ghosts float around under a white sheet, moaning and dragging clanking chains behind them. They appear in different forms (not all human) and for different reasons. We know this because ghosthunters have gathered lots of information about ghosts. But remember that science doesn't have the answers to everything. Even if the ghosthunters can find natural explanations for up to 98 percent of ghostly events, that still leaves 2 percent a mystery - and a very spooky one at that!

Award-winning author Sylvia Funston adds Ghosts to her other titles in the" Strange Science" series from Owl Books, a series which explores strange and surprising phenomena. Ghosts will fascinate readers of all ages with its spine-tingling examination of a variety of ghosts and ghostly encounters. The accompanying science explanations behind these mysterious occurrences provide the readers with a blend of fact and uncertainty which leaves them to decide for themselves what might be true. During the hair-raising journey through the book, readers will come across some strange superstitions, visit ghostly haunts like the Tower of London and encounter poltergeists and apparitions. The final chapters on ghosthunting show the scientific methods of ghosthunters and their conclusions.

     Funston's book examines ghosts from different perspectives, historical, cultural and scientific. The main chapters include headings such as "Spooky Questions," "Spooky Beliefs," "Ghosts Attached to Places," "Ghosts Attached to People" and "Ghosthunting." The format of the book makes the amount of text more manageable for younger or reluctant readers. The use of an attractive double page spreads that include comical watercolour illustrations as well as photographs adds appeal for the reader. Side-bars with facts and other ghostly anecdotes provide interesting information. The text is also interspersed with activity bubbles or cartoons. This formatting is effective as it allows the reader to stop and think about a specific incident or the questions being posed. Additional features of interest include activities, a board game, an index and answers to questions posed in the text.

     The topic of ghosts entices readers of all ages, and Ghosts will supply not only thrills, entertainment and some scientific explanations to this fascinating phenomenon, but it will leave its audience wondering and watching.

Highly Recommended.

Janice Foster is a teacher-librarian at Oakenwald Elementary School in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364