Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Review: Ghosts of Tupelo Landing

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
By Shelia Turnage
Kathy Dawson Books, 2014
Reviewed from eBook
Audience: Grades 4 to 8
ISBN:  9780803736719
Publication Date:  February 4, 2014

Tupelo Landing is all abuzz about the big auction, but when Miss Lana makes a bid on the old inn, the town really gets to talking.  How with Miss Lana and Grandma Miss Lacy run an inn?  Is it really haunted?  But the kids at school are more concerned about the new kid in town, Harm, who just happens to be the grandson of mean old moonshiner, Red Crenshaw.  Mo and Dale have a lot to look after at the Desperado Detective Agency, what with the ghost being their only shot for a passing grade in history, and the success of the inn being the only shot for the town to stay afloat.  Just like before, you can expect beautiful language and colorful characters in this companion to Three Times Lucky.

Funny story about how I came to read this book.  When Alice was a newborn, she was a fuss face.  I was constantly singing and talking to her, and I found that she liked being read to.  Instead of reading her picture book after picture book, I just read to her from whatever I was reading.  She liked the constant tone of my voice, and it would usually put her to sleep.  However, I was reading Wild Things:  Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature (review to come, I promise!), and she didn't appreciate anecdotes about German stories involving crazy barbers and children burning to death.  Instead, I thought I would read her some beautifully written chapter books and get her started out right.  My first shot was The Westing Game, which opens with the murder of Sam Westing.  Strike One.  Then I turned to Three Times Lucky and it's lovely southern language.  Again, another murder book!  Strike Two.  I settled on The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing.  Same southern tone and pace, but no murder, just a ghost.  Not too scary for a newborn, right?  I'm questioning all of my parenting decisions right now.

Back to the story.  I would say that you could read this book on its own, although it would make more sense if you read Lucky, although I don't necessarily see this as a sequel.  There is something rather cheap about a sequel, or a series, it's likely my own bias, but a book of this caliber doesn't feel like a sequel.  It's too beautiful on its own.

I have to say that my favorite part was Dale.  He's just a great straight man.  Some of his one-liners were just too much.  I did a lot of highlighting in this book-one of the great positives about eBooks, I don't feel like I am defacing a book to mark in it.  

Take this passage for example:

Dale said. “Dogs don’t change their spots.” 
“Leopards,” Harm said, frowning. “Leopards don’t change their spots.” 
“The animal of the saying can be changed,” Dale said, very cool. “The spots cannot.”

Turnage, Sheila (2014-02-04). The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing (Kindle Locations 1503-1504). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition. 

That is just typical Dale for you.  He does not exactly understand the world as everyone else does, but it makes for a very entertaining story.

I like revisiting Tupelo landing.  This is a great book to pick up at random, read a couple chapters, and set aside again.  It's a great book to read aloud, and I would recommend reading it to any child in your life, young or older.  I am curious to check out the audiobook because I bet it is just magical.

Happy Reading!

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