Thursday, March 9, 2017

REVIEW: Christina's Ghost

Christina's Ghost
Author: Betty Ren Wright

I read a lot of middle-grade books. Not just for review purposes but because sometimes it's just very enjoyable to read something innocent, funny, simple and entertaining. I find all sorts of great middle-grade books at local thrift shops, and on my local library's digital website. I have spent many a happy afternoon reading about the trials of middle school, kids solving mysteries and ghosts, monsters or even space aliens. Why not? I have discovered many wonderful children's authors, passed on many great books to my son and other kids, and reviewed some really awesome books.

I found Christina's Ghost by Betty Ren Wright on my library's website in audiobook format. Battling a cold for several days, I wanted to listen to a short, entertaining ghost story. And this book was perfect!

Christina and her sister are being sent to stay with their grandmother while their parents are on a 5-week trip to Alaska. Their Uncle Ralph drives the girls to their grandmother's house, only to discover she has gone into the hospital. Christina has to stay with her Uncle Ralph while her sister goes with an Aunt until their grandmother returns. Uncle Ralph is staying at an isolated, spooky house while a friend is out of town. He is doing research and really doesn't enjoy the company of children. Christina is bored. She's upset that her Uncle Ralph doesn't seem to like her, lonely and misses her parents, sister and grandmother. She decides to explore the area around the house, swim in the lake and try to fill her days as best she can. Then she starts seeing a little boy....a little boy who shows up when she is laughing or happy. But he only stays for a few seconds before....disappearing. Suddenly she is pulled into a the little boy a ghost? And why is he at the house? How is she going to convince Uncle Ralph that she's seeing a ghost?

This book  was entertaining, and the audiobook, narrated by Carol Jordan Stewart, was easy for me to hear and understand. I have partial hearing loss, so when it comes to audiobooks I need good production value and a narrator who speaks clearly. I was able to understand and thoroughly enjoy this audiobook! Written for children, the story is relatively simple and short. The audiobook is just over two hours long. Perfect length for a car trip, appointment or other errand with the kids in tow. The story is well-paced, with humor sprinkled in. There are ghosts, but the tale is ago-appropriate for ages 7 and up. Nothing overly terrifying. Christina solves the mystery, and learns how to befriend an adult relative she doesn't know very well. I listened to this story, chuckling at the silly riddles Christina shared with her grumpy uncle, while doing housework. It made the afternoon brighter and the task less mundane. I highly recommend it to adults and children alike!

Betty Ren Wright wrote 25 children's books including The Dollhouse Murders and Ghosts of Mercy Manor. Her writing is age-appropriate for children, entertaining and spooky without being too scary for kids. Her stories also provide great entertainment for adults, too. It certainly brightened my afternoon!

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