Monday, September 21, 2020

MMGM- Hide and Seeker and Ghosts Unveiled!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
and #IMWAYR day 

45298537. sy475Hermon, Daka. Hide and Seeker
September 15th 2020 by Scholastic
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Justin has had a tough year. Right after his best friend, Zee, went missing, his mother passed away from complications of cancer. Zee did return home, but something happened to him while he was gone that has left him traumatized. His single mother hopes to get him back to "normal", so invites his friends to a birthday celebration. Lyric, whose father is in prison, and Nia are part of the "fantastic four", so it makes sense that they are invited. Carla, who is sort of mean, and her brother Quincy are from the neighborhood. The kids enjoy ice cream from a Sweet Dreams cart, and are encouraged by reading the product wrappers to go play hide and seek. Shae, also from the neighborhood but a little too snooty to normally hang out with the group, shows up and ruins the game. Zee is very agitated, so everyone returns home. The next day, it is on the news that Shae has disappeared from a dance camp she attended. How can this be? Justin and Lyric are worried about this progression of events, especially when Carla also goes missing. They hunt down Zee's roommate at the camp from which he disappeared, and gather so more information. Hyde, a super creepy guy who runs the ice cream truck, has some alarming information for them. Kids are disappearing because the Seeker is taking them to Nowhere to feed off the power of their fears. He lures children into playing hide and seek, and when they break the rules, he is able to capture them. Zee and Hyde were able to get out, but Hyde is only out because he now helps the Seeker get chidlren. All of the children at the birthday party broke the rules and start disappearing one by one. Nia realizes that they might be able to take back packs into Nowhere in order to fight the Seeker, but Lyric and Justin are the only two who have time to prepare. Nowhere is horrible, and when they finally arrive there, the boys aren't quite sure what to do but know they don't have a lot of time: when the Seeker gets 400 children, it will be able to travel into the real world and wreak its havoc there. Justin is number 399. Will he be able to find a way to defeat this force of evil?
Strengths: Talk about taking a common experience and making it terrifying! The kids in my  neighborhood used to have a hide and seek game in the evenings, and I imagine that most kids have played, making this hit very close to home. And of COURSE the ice cream truck is the peddler of doom; some people are afraid of clowns, but that's how I feel about ice cream trucks! The children in this come from different backgrounds but most are African-American, and this cover is great. The fears that the children have are all realistic; rat/snakes would be terrifying, but the more realistic fears such as Justin dealing with his mother's death and Lyric's fear of losing his friends are also chilling. There's plenty of running around and fighting, some clever maneuvers on the part of Justin and Lyric, and group of children working together to save the world from encroaching evil.
Weaknesses: I would have liked a little more action in the middle of the book, even though discussing strategies and dealing with fears were necessary plot elements.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and I can see this being HUGELY popular at Scholastic book fairs, so make sure you order more if you are having one. Definitely looking forward to more by this author. It's great that more horror is being published!

51075495Hollihan, Kerrie Logan Hollihan. Ghosts Unveiled! (Creepy and True #2)  
September 29th 2020 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by the publisher through Netgalley

Ghosts are something that middle school students still think might be real; we have a lot of conversations about this when I declare that speculative fiction involves "things that are unlikely to happen in your backyard", and sometimes students try to prove that ghosts are real by citing the fact that books about ghosts, like this one, are in the nonfiction section!

The stories are all very short, and arranged in themed chapters. We are delighted with creepy tales of ghost dogs and cats and ghosts at schools, and go further afield to ghosts in famous places like the White House, ghosts at war, and ghosts on trains and ships. There are even summer tales and holiday tales, and a story from the author's own experiences.

This book has a wide range of ghost stories from around the world. It was great to see this diversity, which ranges from a Missing Hitchhiker Tale from Somalia to a the haunted Music Hall in Cincinnati near the author's (and my) home! The discussion of La Llorona was especially interesting, since she figures largely in Mejia's Paola Santiago and the River of Tears.

This was similar to Williams's recent True Hauntings: Deadly Disasters, but the stories were much shorter. I liked this length; the stories packed a creepy punch, and Hollihan gives plenty of tales to up the creep factor! There are even a few illustrations and photographs to add to the feeling that these things really happened! This would be perfect for starting a language arts class, since most of the stories are under two pages long, and would make a great resource for sleepovers or camp outs. Remember to hold that flashlight under your chin for increased spookiness!

One really neat thing about the notes in the E ARC was that they included links to the article that could be clicked on, taking you right to the source information! There's also a nice selected bibliography with books as well as online articles.

I'll have to go back and pick up Mummies Exposed!: Creepy and True (2019), especially since Ancient Egypt is in our 6th grade curriculum, (Although this apparently discusses other instances of mummification!) and make sure that I have this great volume on hand for Halloween.


  1. Thanks for bringing these two books to people's attention. I personally love a good scary story this time of year - autumn just carries its own atmospheric nuance for these kinds of stories. I will definitely be on the lookout for both of them.

  2. These two books sound like spooky reads for fall! I don't handle scary well, but I do enjoy a good ghost story. And, who says ghosts aren't real?? Both books will be popular with teens. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The cover says it all. If you like scary books this is the one for this year. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

    1. what he said. i love scary. this is not scary enough but is scary so i love it! ❤️��

  4. I just can't read scary books any more. I guess I'm getting too old. That said, my granddaughter would LOVE these, so thanks for the heads up.

  5. These books sound great! Honestly, hide-and-seek is always mildly terrifying—I used to always be like, "Well, I hope everyone didn't vanish into thin air." Ghosts Unveiled sounds great as well! Thanks for the great review! (P.S. I looked at your tweets widget, and I'm sorry so few kids are able to get library books right now—that's awful!)

  6. The Ghosts book is a great book of ghost stories, but I had problems because the science in the Mummy book is so good that I kept expecting a more evidence based approach and getting more and more frustrated because that is completely not what the book is about. But after I finished it and sulked for a while I realized how many great ghost stories I had just read and started to appreciate the careful tone -- the author clearly believes the people but is not making a judgment on what they are saying.

  7. I'm glad to learn of Hide and Seeker -- I've been looking for more October reads and this sounds like it will fit nicely. Thanks for sharing, Karen!

  8. I agree with you that Hide and Seeker would be popular at a Scholastic Book Fair. Thanks for the reviews of these books.