cover image The Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane

The Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane

Sam McBratney, Sam McBrantney. Henry Holt & Company, $13.95 (118pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0985-9

Three ghosts reside contentedly in Mercia Porterhouse's home on Hungryhouse Lane, in a tranquil state called ``Unwakeful Serenity.'' When Mercia dies, the house is rented out to the Sweet family and their three naughty, bickering children, and all signs of tranquility vanish. Zoe, Bonnie and Charlie create havoc around the house, discovering and destroying each ghost's special habitat. And they decide to charge other children fees for glimpses of the spooks. The ghosts only want to resume their peaceful existence; they get their wish when the children have a change of heart. But that's not all--a will is unearthed that names Mercia's friend Amy as the new, quieter owner of the house, and the beleaguered ghosts are once more left in peace. The Sweet family may strike readers as a little too shrill; their exploits are unappealing to the end. And the line drawings, while conveying some of the story's humor, seem an inappropriate match for the formal tone of the prose. Despite this, the book has amusing moments, and whether or not those will be enough to satisfy readers depends on how die-hard they are about ghost stories. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)