Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Dying to Meet You

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
dying.jpegDying to Meet You (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise is an unusual kid’s story. Part of it is the format: letters and documents exchanged about 43 Old Cemetery Road, Ghastly, Illinois and letters and notes from the occupants. The book has illustrations to accompany the text, including rental property ads, floor plans, sketches by Seymour, pages from The Ghastly Times (ads included), etc.
The other unusual part is that the cast of characters is not your normal cast for a children’s book. First, there is I.B. Grumply, who although a writer of children’s books, doesn’t want “to see or hear the little monsters.” He’s there to overcome his writer’s block in this quiet out of the way house he’s rented. There are some other adult characters introduced next, although they aren’t as important as Olive, who lives–well, since she’s a ghost, I guess hangs out would be more appropriate–in the supposedly empty house. Third, there’s an eleven-year-old boy Seymour who was deliberately left behind in the house by his parents! The other characters have appropriately humorous names that often fit their occupations, such as realtor Anita Sale.
Can you tell the story is funny? Plus it has a happy ending. It makes me smile every time I think of it. And it’s book one of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series. The other titles are: Over My Dead Body; Till Death Do Us Bark; The Phantom of the Post Office; Hollywood, Dead Ahead; Greetings from the Graveyard; and The Loch Ness Punster.
The author and illustrator are sisters, who share a website here. There you can find out about the other series they’ve done, the stand-alones, the picture books, and about the two sisters who collaborate while living in two separate states (California and Missouri).
I hadn’t realized I’d read and recommended another book by Kate Klise until I wrote this blog post. It was for Grounded.

Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books


Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Grounded compGreat first line: “I’m alive today because I was grounded.” How could you not read on after that?
But there’s more than one meaning of “grounded” in Grounded (Feiwel and Friends, 2010) by Kate Klise. Besides being a really good story, the book has a sympathetic character and a mystery to solve. No wonder it is an award winner!
Daralynn’s brother, sister and father die in a plane crash. After her mother fixes their hair, shaves her husband for their funerals, she gets hired to do the hair for corpses at the mortuary. When her mother gets so good at doing hair that live people want her to do their hair, she uses the insurance money to open a beauty parlor. Daralynn/Dolly gets to help with the parlor. But then Clem comes to town with a crematorium which threatens her mother’s job. So Dolly (nicknamed so after all the dolls she got after the funeral) puts a plan into effect: living funerals, so you can hear what people have to say before you die.
This is my first time to read a book by Kate Klise, but I plan to read more. Look at her website and see all the other books. I recently saw a mention on twitter from a librarian about Kate’s book, Dying to Meet You. @tgaletti says its a popular book in her library. Guess that’s the one I’ll need to read next.