Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn...

How I Heard About It:  I was browsing through the available books on Net Galley and came across this novel.  The title and cover grabbed my attention and I requested it.  After receiving an ARC, I got busy reading this story.  

What It Is About:  Daniel and his younger sister had a great life living in the city and not wanting for much.  After their father loses his job, they relocate to an old farm house out in the country.  Daniel and Erica don't relate well to the other kids and find it hard to fit in.  They also aren't sure about the "tales" that are old within the village about the "Auntie Witch" that resides up in the hills with her monster creature Bloody Bones.  They also learn that she "took" a young girl fifty some years ago and the girl was never heard from again.  As Daniel tries to adjust to his new life, he notices his sister disappearing for periods of time and returning from the woods.  One Day after an argument between the siblings, they end up separated and Daniel returns to the family home without his sister.  At the same time, a young girl comes down from the hills and claims she is the girl who disappeared all those years earlier.  Daniel takes it upon himself to venture into the mysteries woods, find his sister, and uncover the truth about the new mystery girl, the witch Aunt, and the creature that everyone in the town is afraid of.

What I Thought Of It:  The story started out extremely strong and grabbed my attention right from page one.  There were times when my attention began to wander, but overall I was glued to the story.  I don't normally like "scary" or "ghost" stories, but this one read like a realistic fiction book with lots of mystery and intrigue in it.  There were actually times when I was a bit scared and/or creeped out by the events going on.  Daniel was a wonderful male character and I enjoyed how he did everything in his power to find and save his sister.  The history and "folklore" of the village was fascinating and written very well.  During a few moments in the book I thought the story dragged a bit, but nothing that got in the way of the enjoyment of reading.

Who Should Read It:  The book is publicized as geared toward readers in grades four-seven.  After reading it I would disagree.  I would not share with title with my fourth graders.  I think it is more written for students in grade six and above.  I actually think it would be perfect for students in middle school and/or high school.  There are some pretty intense moments with the kidnapping and the witch character and her monster can be downright scary!  I just kept thinking it would give younger readers some stress or fright.  Happy Reading!

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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