HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Cool Ghoul Mystery
Author: Elizabeth Levy
Illustrator: Mordecai Gerstein
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2003
Language level: I’d give it a 2 (use of the word “butt” to refer to human anatomy), but most would probably say 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 7-10 (grades 2-4)
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Levy, Elizabeth. The Cool Ghoul Mystery (published in 2003 by Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10020). This is a “Ready for Chapters” book (#5) in the “Fletcher Mystery” series. Fletcher is a basset hound who is owned by Jill and has a resident flea friend named Jasper. In this book, Fletcher and Jasper travel with Jill, her mother, and Jill’s friend Gwen for a skiing vacation to Raccoon Lodge where they meet a raccoon named Rocky and solve a mystery surrounding the “Cool Ghoul” who leaves his name in the snow using raccoon tracks. It was an easy but enjoyable read, and Jeremy (then age 10) liked it.
There is very little objectionable, other than the author’s apparent fascination with using the word “butt” to refer not to the recipient of a joke or the end of a pork roast but to a part of the human anatomy. I realize that a lot of people use the word this way without thinking about it and they are not offended by it at all, but when I was growing up we were not allowed to use it that way because it was considered a bad word, and we do not so use it in our family today. As a result it has the same effect on me as more vulgar terms referring to that same part of the human anatomy. Why can we not just stick with “rear end” or “back side” or something equally innocuous? Otherwise, this is an interesting story for a young reader. Other “Fletcher Mystery” books by Levy include A Hare-Raising Tale, The Principal’s on the Roof, The Mixed-Up Mask Mystery, and The Mystery of the Many Elvises.