Took: A Ghost Story (paperback and ebook)

by Mary Downing Hahn

AR Level 4.3, 7 points


I finally downloaded Overdrive and connected it to my library card!  Yay!  Now I can read books the traditional way (by holding it and turning pages) and the newfangled technological way (by holding my iPhone and swiping to turn the pages).  The latter is especially handy for middle of the night feedings when I can’t turn on the light or hold the book with 2 hands.

Took: A Ghost Story isn’t really a ghost story, but it is a creepy one with a witch (“conjurer”), a scary doll, and a hog made out of various animal parts.  Daniel and Erica move to a small town with their parents after their family faces some financial struggles.  Their new house is an old run-down house near a forest on the outskirts of their community.  The kids are miserable in their new town, and Daniel and Erica hear scary stories about a witch and a little girl who went missing who happened to have lived in their house 50 years earlier.  Soon Erica goes missing, and Daniel has to be brave to bring her home.

What I like about this book is it is just scary enough to be entertaining and a page turner, but not so scary that kids (or I) wouldn’t want to read it.  It is also far-fetched enough that it wouldn’t give us nightmares or make us afraid of the dark, but it is also about real people and real problems that kids may be able to relate to in order to make it more realistic.  I loved ghost stories when I was younger, and I’d read Richard Peck and anything creepy I could get my hands on.  I also read Mary Downing Hahn, but not her scary stories.  I will have to see if I can get my hands on a copy of Daphne’s Book, because that was a memorable one for me.

What I didn’t like about this book wasn’t really something I didn’t like, but something that worried me about my students reading it.  There is a lot of discussion about Daniel and Erica’s parents’ vices, including smoking and drinking.  They’re also really mean to Daniel when they find out Erica is missing.  I felt really bad for Daniel, because it really did seem like they favored Erica, and I wouldn’t want that to make my students sad or trigger something in their own lives, because I know it is real.

Book 16 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)


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