Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story by Linda Thieman

Katie & Kimble:  A Ghost Story is the first in a series of chapter books for young readers by Linda Thieman.  Readers are introduced to 9-year-old Katie Russell on moving day.  As Katie and her family settle in their new home, they discover they are not alone.  Also living in the Russell's home is the ghost of a 10-year-old girl, Kimble.  She's excited about Katie's family moving in because she wants a friend her own age.  She leaves Katie gifts, like a hair bow, that sow the seeds of friendship.  Katie realizes that something odd is going on, and she begins to investigate.  She isn't afraid when she sees Kimble, and the two immediately become close friends who discover the importance of helping out friends in times of need.

Katie & Kimble:  A Ghost Story is a cute story for young readers, teaching them the value of friendship and a loving family and showing them that they don't need to be afraid of things that can't be explained -- in this case, ghosts.  It's geared toward the 7-10 age group, and I think it's a great book to reinforce reading skills for kids who are having trouble or are just starting to read on their own.  My daughter is 9, and while she liked the story itself, she felt the really short sentences made the story drag.  She's already reading 100+ page chapter books on her own, but while the writing style was a bit young for her, I'm not sure about other kids her age.

I like how Thieman describes Katie & Kimble:  A Ghost Story as "a non-fear-based story of healing."  When my daughter heard it was a ghost story, she was hoping to be scared.  I explained to her that the point was NOT to scare kids and that some kids are not as interested in creepy, scary stories.  I think these children would especially enjoy Katie & Kimble.

The only real downside to the book is the illustrations.  There wasn't anything wrong with the illustrations themselves, but I wished they would have all pertained to the story.  It's hard to explain, but I'll try.  In one scene, Katie's family is camping out in the living room for the night, as they'd just moved in.  But instead of including a picture of a family camped out on the floor, there's a picture of a sleeping bag.  Just a sleeping bag.  There's another page where the only picture is of a glass holding a cold drink, and there's only a couple of paragraphs in which Katie and her dad are talking over drinks.  And the pictures look more like clip art than illustrations normally seen in children's books.

Overall, Katie & Kimble:  A Ghost Story is an endearing story of two friends, both normal little girls, but one happens to be a ghost.  I'd recommend the book for the younger end of the recommended 7-10 age group.

Here's what The Girl (age 9) had to say:

Katie & Kimble was a good story. I think this is a good book for kids a little younger than me.  The story was a little slow and there were too many short sentences, but I thought it was a good story about love and friends.  I like scarier ghost stories, but Katie & Kimble is good for kids who don't want to be scared.

Check out the Katie & Kimble Blog to read other reviews from kids and check out activities related to the book.

Disclosure:  We received a free copy of Katie & Kimble:  A Ghost Story from the author for review purposes.



Serena said...

I love scary stories and loved them as a kid. some of those illustrations don't sound that great.

Jeannie said...

To The Girl: I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I'm sure you are a little more advanced in reading that most others you age. See how something fun can be good for you too! :D

To Anna: Hello! Hope everything has been going great for you. I like how story plots like these encourage children to be imaginative. Sounds like the illustrations though were not as imaginative. But you never know. Maybe kids will want to draw their own pictures.

bermudaonion said...

I probably would have liked this one since I've never liked being scared.

Staci said...

Great review from both of you....I don't like to be scared too often!!

The Bookworm said...

It sounds like a cute story for kids, but the illustrations do sound a bit off.
Great review by you and The Girl :O)


Anna said...

~Serena: Yeah, it was a bit disappointing.

~Jeannie: I really owe you an email. The days keep slipping away from me. Miss ya!

~bermudaonion: I'm 50/50 on the being scared thing.

~Staci: Thanks!

~naida: It was cute overall, despite the illustrations.