The Ghost Tree

Random. (Spooky Sleuths: Bk. 1). Aug. 2022. 112p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593488881.
Gr 2-5–Asim loves everything spooky, thanks to his mom’s tales of mythical creatures from her childhood in Guyana. Unlike his mom, the fourth grader believes those monsters are real, just like the ghosts in the cemetery he avoids on his way to school. When a class project inspecting local biomes takes his class to the graveyard (and to an evil tree with a ghastly face that oozes black goo), it opens up Lion’s Gate’s secrets about the strange happenings that surround its island residents. As the goo turns people into smelly, grumpy fiends who eat anything in sight—even bugs!—Asim’s newfound crew (including science-minded Rokshar and foodie Max) must use their scientific wits and ghost smarts to defeat the tree and save their town. This is a delightfully creepy adventure with an enjoyable educational component. Readers will observe the sleuths using the scientific method to draw various conclusions about the tree and its effects while encountering advanced terms like hypothesis, temperate, and coniferous. Delightful gray scale illustrations accentuate key scenes, breathing life into Deen’s characters and providing additional information about supernatural figures from diverse cultures. Notes from Asim’s journal in the back matter lend an endearing dimension of authenticity, and an author’s note includes more information about Dutchman tree lore. Asim is depicted with brown skin and hair; secondary characters have a range of skin tones.
VERDICT An excellent series starter and contribution to the supernatural mystery genre, perfect for older chapter book readers easing into early middle grade. Highly recommended.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing