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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Summary: Hoover Porterhouse has been sent by the "higher ups" to serve as Billy Broccoli's private ghost. Billy has a great plan where he and "The Hoove," as Billy calls him, put on a mind-reading demonstration. When Billy starts paying more attention to his friends, Hoover's isn't the reliable ghost he used to be. He comes and goes as he pleases, and has quite the attitude. The ghost of Yogi Berra tells Hoover that if he (Hoover) wants his freedom, then he must help Billy in school. What will Hoover do? This is the second book in the Ghost Buddy series starring a young boy.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book,
Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 7 to 12
Reading Level: 5.1
Age of Child: Read with a nearly 7-year-old boy.
Young Reader Reaction: My son was delighted by this book. He loved the idea of having a friendly ghost assigned to each person and the silly details attributed to Hoover - such as that he smelled like orange juice. I thought my son would be scared of Hoover the ghost, but I was wrong. He loved him.
Adult Reader Reaction: I did not care for his book. I did not like the language the children used talking to one another and felt that it was too mature for my 6-year-old who is still discerning appropriate words, tones of voice and sayings.
Pros: Hoover is a character that kids *wish* could be true; and Billy is a character to whom they can relate.
Cons: I didn't like the names used in the book. I found the last names of all the characters to be distracting and difficult to pronounce. I appreciate the author's intent for diversity and humor, but I think that was accomplished by their first names. The way the children talked to each other was often insulting and degrading.
Borrow or Buy: Skip. I felt like I had to do a bit of clean up with my son each night that we read this book. I am not inclined to read anymore of Henry Winkler's books after reading this one.
Educational Themes: There are several layers of life lessons. The story has a positive ending about doing the right thing. Leading up to Billy's decision, stop to ask readers what they would do (or what they think Billy will do). Take one of the more unpleasant conversations and ask kids to "rework" it in a more positive - or at least neutral - way.
Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - friendship, humor, life lessons, middle grade series
Date(s) Reviewed: May 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com; and feedback at amazon.com.