"The Gloomy Ghost" will appeal to David Lubar's fans. His readers love his wacky sense of humor coupled with bizarre stories. Lots and lots of bizarre stories. Lubar's most recent feat is a series called "Monsterrific Tales" that began with "Hyde and Shriek" and continued through "The Wavering Werewolf" and now this title.
The story involves a group of friends from Washington Irving Elementary School. Certain kids are turning into monsters. In the last book, Norman became a werewolf and had to figure out how to get back to being a boy. Norman is Sebastian's friend, and it's Sebastian whose family is at the center of these bizarre occurrences.
This time it's Rory's turn to turn into a monster. He inadvertently eats some poisonous berries (give him a break -- he's only in kindergarten) and is lying almost dead under a bush in his backyard. He turns into a ghost, which brings a set of pseudo-horrible problems (like how to keep from sinking into the ground).
Rory is a good problem-solver, but when he realizes that he only has a certain amount of time for his body to be found and cured or he'll be dead forever, he must solve the biggest problem of all: how to help his family find his body. He manages to solve that problem, but there's one more he needs to work on or he will be dead forever.
Combine that with a psychic thief and a very sick younger boy, and it makes for an exciting story that is perfect for younger chapter book readers. This series is wonderful because while the book is short and the reading is a bit easier than most middle grade fiction, the subject matter and cover will appeal to readers through fifth and sixth grades who want an exciting read that they won't need to struggle with. Just like Lubar's "Weenie" stories, the entire series is a great choice for reluctant readers.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Starscape, for review purposes.
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