Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review: "Dying to Meet You," Kate & M. Sarah Klise

By Liz Soares

I’ve been a fan of the Klise sisters since their first collaboration on Regarding the Fountain. The Klises combine letters, illustrations and other textual features (such as newspaper articles) to produce light, witty and fun books for the aged 10 to 13 set.

This first book in a new series is a Maine Student Book Award nominee, and the first one I’ve read off the list this year. The MSBA is presented each year to the author of the book chosen by Maine students in grades four through eight as their favorite. The list is compiled by a committee of librarians and teachers. 

Dying to Meet You is as delightful as its predecessors in the Klise ouevre. Our anti-hero, Ignatius B. Grumply, has come to the town of Ghastly, Illinois, to try to write the 13th installment of his beloved series Bartholomew Brown, Ghost Hunter. 

Grumply has been beset by writer's block for years. The old Victorian at the end of a dirt  road seems just the place to revive his creative juices. Much to his horror, however, the owners of the place have left behind their 11-year-old son, Seymour Hope - along with an ancient ghost named Olive C. Spence.

Ah, yes, the puns run wild in Dying to Meet You. Anita Sale is Grumply’s real estate agent and Paige Turner is his publisher. Of course! My favorite, not surprisingly, is M. Balm, the librarian.

Grumply hates the boy and blames him for the ghost’s antics. But soon the old fusspot’s heart begins to soften, and he is able to write again. 

Dying to Meet You is an excellent choice for reluctant readers and would also be a great read-aloud. But I’ve saved the best news for last. The second book in the series Over My Dead Body, is already out!