Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Good Night for Ghosts - A Book Review

I recently posted an article with advice for improving your child's reading. I am currently working with my second grade son night-after-night. He reads, he stumbles, he gets frustrated. I get frustrated. Still, I am trying to foster a love a reading and to make reading as enjoyable as possible.

In my research, I discovered that many parents were big fans of the Magic Tree House Series. While my son is a little young to tackle these chapter books himself, I wanted start reading the series to him to develop his interest. We started with the recently published A Good Night for Ghosts, #42, copyright 2009.

About the Author: Mary Pope Osbourne is the author of many novels, picture books, story collections, and nonfiction books. Her bestselling Magic Tree House Series has been translated into numerous languages around the world. Highly recommended by parents and educators everywhere (and kid approved!) She and her husband, writer Will Osbourne, live in northwestern Connecticut with their two dogs, Joey and Mr. Bezo.

About the Book: Osborne’s books revolve around Jack and Annie, siblings whose backyard tree house, transports them to dramatic times and places. In this story, the tree house whisks Jack and Annie off to New Orleans, 1915, where their mission is to help a young Louis Armstrong bring his gift of music to the world.

A History of New Orleans Music is the magic book that guides Jack and Annie through the story. Once they meet fourteen-year-old, Louis Armstrong, ('Dipper') they tag along with him to his several back-breaking jobs on a mission to convince him to "bring his gift of music to the world."

Jack and Annie learn that New Orleans is the most haunted city in America. It is the Eve of All Saints (Halloween) and a good night for 'ghost sightings'. It is Louis Armstrong's trumpet playing that actually gets the ghosts to dance their way off into the night.

The review: The story not only entertains, it teaches about the young life of Louis Armstrong and how his career as a trumpet player began with the early gigs aboard the Mississippi Steamboats. Osbourne includes real ghosts in the story! My son was on the edge of his seat. She breifly and cleverly brings in the subject of racism that existed during that time as compares it to today, where an African American is the President of the United States. Thoughtfully, She uses titles of the songs that Louis Armstrong recorded in his career as chapter titles, and like music, the story flows along with ease.

My son really enjoyed the book. I appreciated how it presented a mini-history lesson of Louis Armstrong and New Orleans, while still being thoroughly entertaining. I understand why Mary Pope Osborne has reached #42 in this best-selling series. I just picked up more of the series yesterday. We will read Pirates Past Noon #4, next. I can't wait until he tells me, "Mom, I am going to read this one to you!"


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