September 26, 2012
Ghost Buddies Series by Henry Winkler
By: Vicki Little
In the world of books, you have a few categories. Those that simply don’t read, those that hate to read, those that kind of like it or just read the paper, those that love it and those that are obsessed and remember every single book they read as a kid and still have the majority of them hoarded in their garage. The last is me. From my Babysitter Clubs to my Judy Blume’s, I have kept them all and remember them fondly. I am hoping that my kids have the same love for books, the same ability to lose themselves in the story. So far, both of them love to cuddle up with a book just as much as I do. My son, in fact, is way ahead in his reading. He isn’t quite into reading chapter books yet, but he likes it when I read them to him and then we can talk about them together. The most recent books we had the opportunity to read and review is a fun new series by Henry Winkler. Yes, THAT Henry Winkler. The Fonz.
The Ghost Buddy Series, called From Zero to Hero and Mind if I Read your Mind?, are fun and silly and held my attention. Both the problems and the resulting lessons of the books are realistic and relatable.
In From Zero to Hero, eleven year old Billy Broccoli faces a new house, a new stepfamily and a new school all at the same time. Added to this, he isn’t overly popular to begin with, so he doesn’t feel comfortable at school OR home. In his new house, though, he does find a surprising new ally in Hoover-a ghost that used to be the cool kid in school. In order to move on, Hoover must help Billy overcome his not-cool status. Though the story may seem familiar, there is a great twist in how the problem ends up getting resolved. A twist that I feel lends a little boost to the readers that may relate to the awkwardness that Billy faces.
In Mind if I Read Your Mind,? Billy and Hoover are back together with yet another obstacle to overcome. This time, the still-shy Billy needs to come up with a clever idea for the schools Speak Out Challenge. With Hoover's help, Billy decides on a mind-reading “talent” to amaze the other kids in the school. The idea, though, has its own challenges when Billy realizes that he has to depend on Hoover in order not to be found out. Not only that, but not being totally honest is leaving a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. Ultimately he has to choose whether or not to amaze and stun his new friends or find another solution to his piling problems.
Both of these books gave me a lot of opportunities to talk with my son about some important issues that all kids face. We discussed being nice to everyone, how everyone is different (there is a kid in a wheelchair), what constitutes cheating, what is fair and what isn’t, and how to deal with the yucky feelings when you are shy or feeling left out. The books were fun and moved quickly, and they were an enjoyable read for both my son and me. I would definitely recommend them-to book lovers and those that simply must read for homework. The lessons are great and the story is silly enough for even the biggest grumblers.