It’s another MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY. I have an enticing choice with THE HAUNTING OF HENRY DAVIS by Kathryn Siebel.
Ghosts only haunt when they’ve left something behind…
When Henry Davis moves into the neighborhood, Barbara Anne and her classmates at Washington Carver Elementary don’t know what to make of him. He’s pale, small, odd. For curious Barbara Anne, Henry’s also a riddle–a boy who sits alone at recess sketching in a mysterious notebook, a boy, she soon learns, who’s being haunted by a ghost named Edgar.With the help of some new friends, this unlikely duo is off on an adventure to discover who Edgar was while alive and why he’s haunting Henry now. Together, they might just help Edgar find what he needs to finally be at peace. (From Penguin Random House)
PUBLISHED: 2019 PAGE COUNT: 240
My Take: Barbara Anne narrates the story and she’s a spunky, insightful, and often hilarious girl. She has a tendency to take over situations, which doesn’t attract too many followers. But once Henry arrives Barbara Anne seems to have found her forever friend.
Also in the fray is Zack and Renee. Each have their own problems which adds to the theme of friendship building throughout the story. The four pod-mates at school are nothing alike but come together to bring understanding to each other. The characters are what make this tale shine.
Spooky at times, the plot goes just far enough for the middle grade crowd. You’ll be rooting for Henry. He’s the most affected by Edgar the Ghost. Humor balances the tense moments and had me laughing out loud many times.
Imaginative and heartfelt, THE HAUNTING OF HENRY DAVIS is great read for the upcoming months leading up to Halloween. In fact it’s good any time of the year.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT
THE HAUNTING OF HENRY DAVIS by Kathryn Siebel
- Some fascinating history pokes in from the past in the form of World War I and the flu epidemic. This will be new to most young readers.
- A thoughtful look at family dynamics and why we sometimes turn out the way we do.
- It’s great to have another strong girl protagonist. Barbara Anne was my favorite.
- Very truthful depiction of school life. Not surprising given the author’s background as an educator.
- Even someone like Henry’s 103-year old neighbor can find new friends. All you have to do is open your heart.
And Henry, well, poor Henry. He looked pale and exhausted. How else was he supposed to look? I didn’t know it yet, of course, but that morning Henry Davis had seen his very first ghost.
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