Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

43 Old Cemetery Road:  Till Death do us Bark

43 Old Cemetery Road: Till Death do us Bark

Kate Klise
Illustrator:  M. Sarah Klise 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 10
Harcourt, 2011   ISBN: 978-0547850818

Though he is only eleven years old, Seymour has already had a rather full and unusual life. When he was very young he made friends with Olive G. Spence, a ghost living in his house. Then his parents rented out their house and left, without bothering to take Seymour with them. The renter, an author called Ignatius B. Grumply, ended up getting to know Seymour and Olive and in their own way the three of them became a family. In fact, not long ago Ignatius and Olive adopted Seymour after his parents were put in prison. Now they all live happily at 43 Old Cemetery Road, working together on a series of books that the grownups write and that Seymour illustrates.

   One day in November a dog follows Seymour home from the library. Not surprisingly, he really wants to keep the dog and Ignatius agrees so long as Seymour does his best to find out if the dog has an owner. Seymour puts an advertisement in the paper and he does learn that the dog, Secret, used to belong to Noah Breth. Noah died not long ago and therefore, technically, Secret no longer has a master. Seymour decides not share what he has learned about Secret with his adoptive parents.

   Noah’s two children soon arrive in town, eager to claim their father’s millions. Kitty and Kanine Breth constantly fight and they are both eager to do their best to make sure that their sibling does not get any of Noah’s worldly possessions. They soon learn that Noah, who was very disappointed that his children are so greedy and selfish, made some rather peculiar arrangements before he died. He sold his artworks and emptied out his bank account, and no one knows what he did with the money. Then Kanine and Kitty start getting strange letters from their father that are written in limerick form. The letters offer up clues that will, they hope, lead them to where old Noah hid his millions.

   Meanwhile, while Kitty and Kanine fight and try to solve the puzzles their father left them, all is not well at 43 Old Cemetery Road. Olive does not want Secret to live with them and she and Ignatius are arguing, Shadow the cat is missing, and both Olive and Ignatius are distressed that Seymour is not being truthful about Secret’s owner.

   In this third book in the 43 Cemetery Road series, Kate Klise and M, Sarah Klise once again bring readers a story that is entertaining, funny, and thoughtful. Told in the form of letters, newspaper articles and other documents, the story explores the problems that can develop within families, problems that can cause a great deal of pain and loss. At the same time the tale presents readers with an entertaining mystery to solve. When they come to the end of the tale readers will be eager to find out what happens next at 43 Old Cemetery Road.