To save an image, right click the thumbnail and choose "Save target as..." or "Save link as..."
|On the day I died : stories from the grave|
Author: Fleming, Candace
In a lonely Illinois cemetery one cold October night, teen ghosts recount the stories of their deaths in different time periods, from 1870 to the present, to Mike, who unknowingly picked up a phantom hitchhiker.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 152447
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 58200
Booklist - 05/15/2012 Late one dark night, teenage Mike Kowalski drives to a deserted cemetery to return a pair of old-fashioned saddle shoes to a grave (don’t ask). Once there he is horrified to find himself surrounded by the ghosts of the many teenagers buried there, all of them, er, dying to tell him their stories. In one a wise guy uncovers an ancient curse; in another a boy enters a long-abandoned asylum for the insane; in yet another a girl encounters a hoarder’s House of Usher. Set in Chicago, each of these nine eerie ghost stories, Fleming explains, contains a kernel of truth about its setting—a city that, she notes, is “the spookiest place I know.” Thus, in one story Al Capone makes a cameo appearance, and both the cemetery featured in the frame story and the terrifying old insane asylum really do exist. It is the combination of reality and imagination that lends a certain grave-itas (!) to these nine spectral stories. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fleming’s books for young readers, be they nonfiction, novels, or picture books, are always met with much anticipation. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/02/2012 Mike Kowalski figures his parents will forgive his broken curfew if he takes the time to give a ride to a girl in distress who flags him down on the road. The classic vanishing-hitchhiker setup naturally leads Mike to the graveyard, where a host of ghosts who died in their teens cajole Mike into staying to hear their stories. The nine tales cover more than a century, from the mirror that devoured a snobby sister and her jealous twin at the Columbian Exhibition of 1893, to a young photographer who fatally disturbed the ghosts of inmates in the ruins of an insane asylum in 2012. While the chronology skips around, the intensity of the stories builds subtly, just as an evening’s worth of ghost stories should. Attaching the stories to sites in the Chicagoland area adds an aura of veracity, and the historical periods are often cleverly pertinent to the tales, especially the setting of a 1930s funeral home and the hood ornament from hell in a 1980s junkyard in northwest Indiana. Fleming’s closing notes on each tale are as involving as the stories themselves, commenting on the sources (some specific, some inspirational) for each. Graduates of San Souci’s Dare to Be Scared series will welcome this fresh title, as will teachers looking for middle-school readalouds for the run up to Halloween. EB - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2012 Gr 6–9—On a foggy Chicago night, Mike Kowalski finds himself in a forgotten graveyard dedicated to teenagers whose lives were cut short. Thinking he's going to die, he soon learns that the ghostly specters closing in on him only want to tell him how they met their demises. So begins this collection of stories, each ghost stepping up to relay his or her journey from life to death. According to the author's notes, some of the stories are loosely based on old tales, like W. W. Jacobs's "The Monkey's Paw," while others are original creations. Some are realistic and tragic, while others are steeped in fantasy and colorful embellishment. Fleming's writing style is effective as she switches from character to character, volleying from the 1800s to the present, giving each ghost its own unique voice in its own historically accurate setting. However, the execution is unsuccessful. As Mike listens to each story, he is utterly uninvolved. Each one ends repetitively with the next ghost stepping up basically saying, "You think that's bad; Just listen to my story!" trying to top the previous tale. This gets monotonous, and since Mike is so passive, readers begin to lose focus about the point of the stories. The book ends with Mike driving home late at night, having supposedly learned a big life lesson. The problem is, knowing virtually nothing about him, who's to say he needed to learn a lesson anyway? This collection feels empty; it's unfortunate that some of the more interesting tales, like Evelyn's story of living in her twin's shadow during the time of the Chicago World's Fair, weren't more fully fleshed out, with some substance and depth.—Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.