HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Haunted Cove
Author: Elizabeth Baldwin Hazelton
Illustrator: Ned Butterfield
Publisher: Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club, republished in 1972
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Hazelton, Elizabeth Baldwin. The Haunted Cove (published in 1971 by American Education Publications, a Xerox Company, 245 Long Hill Rd., Middletown, CT 06457; republished in 1972 by Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club, Columbus, OH 43216). Twelve-year-old Kevin MacAlistaire, his ten-year-old sister Christie, and their mother are checking into a seaside cottage in Oregon to spend a summer holiday. Mr. MacAlistaire is a music teacher and will join them after an engagement. On their first afternoon there, the children meet a girl named Mora, who lives in a nearby cottage. Mora informs them that the cove next to theirs is haunted with ghosts, and that a mysterious witch who lives in a mansion in the cove next door goes out on a rock in the middle of the sea to play her flute each night at sunset. Mora further tells them she herself has been studying magic. Kevin is skeptical of all this, but Christie seems to believe every word which Mora says. What will happen?
The book follows their adventures in observing the “witch,” trying to find out how she goes out onto the rock, and learning why the cove is said to be haunted. Obviously, a belief in witches, ghosts, and magic potions is mentioned in the story. There is an element among Christians in general and some homeschoolers in particular who wish to avoid all such references in literature and they would naturally want to avoid this book. I will say that, while the supernatural elements are there, that aspect is not overpowering, and it has a perfectly earthly conclusion. A few common euphemisms (golly, heck, gosh) are used, and one character smokes a pipe. Otherwise, this is a rather harmless tale that starts out a little slowly but ends in a very exciting fashion.