HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Jeffrey and the Third Grade Ghost, Book 4: Pet Day Surprise
Authors: Megan Stine and H. William Stine
Illustrator: Keith Birdsong
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 1989
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-10
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Stine, Megan, and Stine, H. William. Jeffrey and the Third Grade Ghost, Book 4: Pet Day Surprise (Published in 1989 by Fawcett Columbine, an imprint of Ballentine Books, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). Jeffrey Becker lives with his Dad and Mom, and is a student in Mrs. Merrin’s third grade class at school. His best friends are Melissa McKane, Benjamin (Ben) Hyde, Kenny Thompson, and Ricky Reyes. But Jeffrey also has another secret friend, a third grade ghost from the 1950s named Max whom Jeffrey found in his desk at school. When Ben brings his garter snake to school one day for a report, the class likes it so much that their teacher agrees to have a “Pet Day,” when all the children can bring their pets to class. The only problem is that Jeffrey doesn’t have a pet. His parents have a “no pets, not now, not ever, no kidding” policy, but Jeffrey finally talks his mom into going pet shopping. He really wants a dog or a cat.
However, Jeffrey realizes that he has another problem. Max has come along, and the minute they walk into the pet store all of the animals go crazy because they’re terrified of the ghost. So Max brings several other animals home for Jeffrey try out. The brown spotted lizard slinks away and hides. The rabbit makes a mess. The parakeets are too noisy. The turtle won’t come out of its shell. The goldfish get lost in the tank. The hamster bites Jeffrey. And the white cockatiel—that’s Jeffrey realizes that Max has been stealing these animals from the pet store. Pet Day is coming closer and closer. What is Jeffrey going to do? Can he find a suitable pet? And if so, what will it be?
The euphemistic term “gee” appears a couple of times. If parents don’t mind their children reading fictional stories about a supposedly real ghost, this book contains a bit of suspense, a little mystery, and a few laughs as Max stirs up plenty of trouble for Jeffrey while trying to find an animal for Pet Day. One reader reviewer wrote, “This book is so funny that I think that every kid should read it.” Well, I wouldn’t go quite that far, but there are some mildly humorous scenes. Pet Day Surprise is Book 4 in the “Jeffrey and the Third Grade Ghost” series. Books 1 through 3 are Mysterious Max, Haunted Halloween, and Christmas Visitors. Books 5 and 6 are Max on Stage and Max Saves the Day. For me, Max’s 50s lingo got a little old and tedious after a while.