I haven't done a book recommendation for a while.Over the summer I reviewed books set in the summer to read with your kids. In the month of October I'm going to review books with a little scare factor to them. Nothing too scary, because these are to read with your kids. (So I'll leave out The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. It's a book I considered for these posts and Doll Books to Read With Your Kids,which I'll be starting soon, but rejected for both. It's a good book, but pretty gory. I think it's a bit much for some kids.) The books I'll be talking about are just scary enough to be fun, and usually they have some humor too.
The first book I'm going to talk about HAS to come first. Ivy says it's one of our summer reads, and it's set in the summer. I maintain it's a Halloween read because it's a ghost story. So I figure I'll split the difference and review it now.
The Ghost of Dibble Hollow by May Nickerson Wallace is my book equivalent of a one hit wonder. It was always one of my favourite books as a kid. I checked the Scholastic paperback out of the library more times than I can remember. Normally when I had a favourite book I read other books by the same author. But I never found another book by May Nickerson Wallace. The only thing I have been able to find out about her is that she wrote at least 6 books, the last apparently published in 1965, (which may have been The Ghost of Dibble Hollow.). She was alive into the 90's, but I suppose she was retired from writing. Her other books appear to have covered mysteries and books about children's adventures. Ghost of Dibble Hollow fits both of those categories.
The story concerns a boy named Pug, who moves to an old family house in the country with his parents and younger sister. The first day they discover a feud has been going on for years between their family and the family on the neighboring farm, over some money belonging to both families that disappeared while in the hands of Pug's great uncle Miles. Miles was a boy of 10 at the time, and he disappeared along with the money.It's presumed that Miles ran away with the loot, but one night his ghost appears to Pug and tells the story of what happened. Pug must solve the mystery of where the money went,and heal the rift between the families, all the while keeping Miles' ghost a secret. Along the way he falls in love with his new country home, makes a friend, finds a secret hideout, and has adventures I know I would have loved to have as a kid. The book has humor and some ghostly happenings, but we get to know Miles, and he's a likeable character. The story of what happened to Miles is a little gory, but it's Miles telling it, so that kind of softens the effect. The story is a good mystery and a story of friendship, two friendships actually. It's got all the elements that make a great kid's book: mystery, adventure, a ghost story,secrets,humor,and great kid characters,(even if one of them is a ghost.). I would say the book could be for kids as young as 6 or 7 if it were read to them. If they are reading it on their own, maybe 8 to 10 would be a good age range. Ivy still likes to read it every year,and she's 13. It's always been one of her favourite books too, so I've been able to enjoy it many times over the years! I asked Ivy if she had anything to add to this review and she said to say, "It's awesome!"
Unfortunately Ghost of Dibble Hollow seems to have been out of print since the 70's. It's available online on Amazon and various auction sites, and if you're very lucky you might find it at a library sale or in a second hand book store. The average low price online seems to be about $15, but it's worth it.