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Florence McNeil.
Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 1984.
155pp., paper, $6.95.
ISBN 0-88899-035-9. CIP.

Subject Heading:

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up

Reviewed by Margaret Montgomery.

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

This sturdy paperback has a bright and attractive cover with an intriguing ancient Egyptian figure pictured in the foreground. The story is in 12 chapters and is printed in a large, clear type-face. There are no illustrations.

The story centres on Gen, who is usually delighted to spend time with her remarried Dad. This summer he will be taking photographs around Barkerville, BC., and Gen gives up computer camp to go. However, eight-year-old Mark, her father's newly adopted son, proves to be a millstone around her neck. The summer improves a great deal when Mark and Gen meet an old lady during one of their rambles through Barkerville. The old lady says she is a ghost, waiting here until her husband's identity and heroism have been recognized by the town. The children help her, of course, and all ends well.

The "ghost" is well-handled by the author, leaving the reader constantly wondering whether she is indeed a real live person or not. The relationship between Mark and Gen is less well done. They dislike each other, and Gen is positively nasty to him until he helps her out of a tight spot. The change from real nastiness to sweetness and light is almost too sudden to be believed.

This story is recommended for Grades 4 and up. There is excitement, the mystery of the missing will, tales of old magic tricks, and the ghost. Gen is not likeable at first, but she is believable; kids will sympathize with her having to babysit with Mark when she wants to be out taking photographs with the grownups. And she had to give up computer camp too!

Margaret Montgomery, West Vernon E.S. Vernon, BC.
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