________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 21 . . . . June 21, 2002

cover Grizzly Pete and the Ghosts.

Janet Amsden. Illustrated by John Beder.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (cl.).

Kindergarten-grades 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

*** /4


He drifted out the window of the broken building, along the bare streets, past the train station, over the empty hotels. He sailed far above the town towards a tiny light on the mountainside, sliding to a stop outside a log cabin.

Grizzly Pete is the last inhabitant of Paydirt, a deserted mining town. The last living inhabitant anyhow. There are numerous ghosts including a chubby trio that are the ringleaders of the ghostly gang that wants Paydirt for themselves. These ghosts make it young Spook's job to scare away the last miner. Spook tries his best, but flapping, waving and howling don't work. Grizzly Pete has no fear at all; he actually threatens Spook with "Scoot! Or I'll tin you." Readers will be impressed with the fact that even they know the trick to Grizzly Pete's threat. This allows the reader to be in on the joke. At first, Snark and the others don't believe Spook, but then they see the trapped ghost for themselves. A dejected Spook leaves town, but, when Spook discovers the secret to Grizzly Pete's trick, he returns to Paydirt. Spook has a plan of his own and shows Grizzly Pete that there is no gold left in the mine. Grizzly Pete and Spook decide to partner up and leave town together in search of gold.

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     Beder's watercolour illustrations show the reader wispy bluish grey ghosts floating through the town rendered in muted colours. Grizzly Pete's red shirt is the first flash of vivid colour that the reader sees. The chubby unfriendly ghosts are depicted in a way that allows the reader to see them as the villains and poor Spook as a sympathetic character. Grizzly Pete's resourcefulness and bravery make him easy to identify with as readers will admire these traits and imagine that they would act similarly.

     Grizzly Pete and the Ghosts will make nice addition to Halloween and friends themed story programs. This humorous tale will be a popular choice for independent readers and is a recommended purchase for school and public libraries.


As the result of an exciting move, Catherine Hoyt is now the Reference Librarian at the Nunavut Legislative Library in Iqaluit, Nunavut. However, she enjoys volunteering at the local public library in the newest capital in Canada.

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