Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

43 Old Cemetery Road:  Over My Dead Body

43 Old Cemetery Road: Over My Dead Body

Kate Klise
Illustrator:  M. Sarah Klise 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 10
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011   ISBN: 978-0547577135

Seymour Hope has been through a great deal in his ten years of life. For one thing he lives in a house that is haunted by the ghost of a writer who died in 1911. Luckily, Seymour and the ghost, Olive C. Spence, are the best of friends. At the beginning of the summer Seymour’s parents, who are thoroughly horrible people, left him in their (haunted) family home alone so that they could pursue their work in Europe. By chance a writer called Ignatius B. Grumply rented Seymour’s home for the summer and Seymour (and Olive) had to deal with the disagreeable man. Thankfully, Seymour, Ignatius and Olive became friends and they even started working on a book together.

   These days life at 43 Old Cemetery Road is perfectly happy for Seymour, Olive, and Ignatius. They work together well, and give each other the space they need. Seymour is homeschooled by Olive and Ignatius and he is delighted not to have to deal with his parents any longer. Then, without any warning, everything falls apart. Some annoying busy body reports Seymour’s rather unconventional home life to The International Movement for the Safety and Protection of Our Kids and Youth. Before Seymour and his friends can do anything, the head of the organization Dick Tater, comes to investigate. He then has Ignatius committed to an insane asylum and poor Seymour is sent to an orphanage. Dick Tater then writes to Seymour’s parents telling them that they have to come and reclaim their child.

   Olive, Ignatius, and Seymour are desperate to be reunited and send each other a series of letters, trying to come up with a plan. Olive even goes so far as to write to a number of people living in the town to get their help, but of course these people think the letters are the writings of a mad person. Though Olive is not locked up, she is dead, which does make it difficult for her to put together a rescue operation, and yet a rescue operation is just what is needed.

   In this second book in the 43 Cemetery Road series, the story is once again told using letters, newspaper articles and other documents.  M. Sarah Klise’s wonderful artwork perfectly complements the narrative, and it helps to transport readers into the letters, notes, and articles that make up the story. Readers will find themselves sincerely wishing that they could intervene to help out the three friends and come up with schemes to overthrow Dick Tater and his supporters.