HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Ghost that Came Alive
Author: Vic Crume
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., republished in 1992
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)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Crume, Vic. The Ghost That Came Alive (published in 1975 by Apple Paperbacks, a trademark of Scholastic Inc., 730 Broadway, New York City, NY 10003). Twelve, almost thirteen, year old Jenny Blair, her doctor father, ex-nurse mother, big brother Jim, older sister Emily, twin brother Chris, and five year old younger brother Tommy, have spent the summer at their cottage by the seaside but are getting ready to return home on Labor Day. However, Tommy becomes deathly ill, so Mr. and Mrs. Blair take him to a nearby hospital in Mr. Blair’s car while Jim is to drive the rest of the kids home in the family station wagon. A huge thunderstorm comes in, and when Jim stops for gas near Alston and asks about a motel, he is told that one named Cliffside up the road has a restaurant. In the driving rain, they see a sign for “Cliffspray,” and, mistaking it for the motel, turn in and find themselves at an old house with a tree having fallen down behind them blocking their way out.
Seeing some lights in the house, the Blair children ask for help and meet Miss Cliff, her brother Alston, and their other brother Dr. Cliff. The Cliffs begrudgingly offer some assistance but act as if they want the Blairs to leave immediately, telling them rumors about the house being haunted by the ghost of an ancestor named Andrea Cliff, then turn around and seemingly want the kids to stay, giving them rooms to spend the night. Jenny has had some bad dreams about premonitions of evil and now late at night hears a voice through a vent in her bedroom calling out “Please-please!…Help Me. Please!” She even sees a wristwatch fall from the vent. Is there really a ghost? What is going on? Will Jenny and her siblings ever get away? There are a couple of common euphemisms (gosh, drat), but this is a wonderfully paced tale for middle grade readers who enjoy creepy, suspenseful mysteries with a ghostly element.