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Gauthier, Bertrand
Montreal, La courte echelle, 1992. 88pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 2-89021-169-X. (Roman jeunesse). CIP

Grades 4 to 7/Ages 9 to 12

Reviewed by Patricia Cooper

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

Bertrand Gauthier is the founder of La courte echelle and also the award-winning author of many children's books, including the series about Zunik, Ani Croche, and the twins, Hank and Frank Swank (Les freres Bulle). Several of his books have been translated into English and other languages.

Panique au cimetiere is an exciting, spine-tingling and fast-paced horror story for all those young readers who ask for something scary. One night, as Melanie Lapierre passes the cemetery on her way home, she hears cries for help. An intrepid girl, she investigates; the mournful lamentations seem to originate from a freshly dug grave. Could someone have been buried alive? Melanie can't leave without making sure. But as she raises the coffin lid, she is seized from behind! Is the stranger really a friend who will help her find her way out of the cemetery? If so, why does he live in the cemetery, in a house that resembles a tomb? Or is he really one of the living dead and Melanie his next victim?

The story ends with an unusual and surprising twist (it's not a nightmare!) that should reassure any reader who may be afraid to turn off the light that night.

Ten-page-long chapters, large print, and illustrations by Stephane Jorisch make this book suitable for independent readers who are ready to go beyond the easy first novels. Recommended for francophone children and French Immersion students.

Patricia Cooper is a children's librarian at the Four Corners Resource Branch, Brampton Public Library, in Brampton, Ontario.

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