Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

43 Old Cemetery Road: Dying to Meet You

43 Old Cemetery Road: Dying to Meet You

Kate Klise
Illustrator:  M. Sarah Klise 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 10
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt , 2010   ISBN: 978-0547398488

Ignatius B. Grumply is a children’s book author who has not written a book in twenty years due to a monumental case of writer’s block. Pushed by his publisher, Paige Turner, and his lawyer, E. Gadds, Ignatius is preparing to write again, and not a moment too soon. He has already spent his advance and his publisher is getting fed up with his lack of work. Grumply decides that what he needs is a quiet place to work for the summer, so he contacts a real estate agent and she sends him some information about some rental properties.

   Instead of choosing a cottage with “Ocean views” or a “chic retreat” in the Hamptons, Ignatius decides to rent a thirty-two and half room mansion in Ghastly, Illinois. He is horrified when he gets there to find that the house is not in bed shape, but a boy called Seymour Hope and his cat are in residence. Ignatius can’t stand children and he is allergic to cats. He soon finds out that the boy and cat are mentioned in the contract that his lawyer signed on his behalf. There is nothing Ignatius can do to get rid of Seymour. His parents have gone off to Europe without him and they have no interest in reclaiming him.

   What Ignatius does not know is that there is another person living in the house who happens to be Seymour’s best friend. Her name is Olive C. Spence and she died ninety-seven years ago. Seymour’s horrible parents have been trying to sell the house for years, but Seymour and Olive have always managed to scare off any potential buyers. Seymour is saving up to buy the house but he is not making much progress in raising the money he needs.

   Seymour and Olive start their usual scaring tactics, but then Olive starts to get interested in grumpy Ignatius. She reads the first drafts that he writes and realizes that he needs some help. Actually, he needs a lot of help. Olive decides that she, a writer who never got published, is the person to help him. The problem is that his inability to write has a very deep rooted cause and it is not going to be easy to get the man to accept her assistance. It does not help that he is usually a very disagreeable person!

   This is the first book in what promises to be a wonderful series. The story is told in a series of emails, letters, newspaper articles, drawings and story excerpts. In this series, and in their Regarding the…. series, the author and illustrator give young readers a unique reading experience; one that is engaging, often funny, and thought provoking. They find creative ways to address important issues that we all need to think about.