A Book Review of "Ghost Eye" (Grade Level 3-5)
Ghost Eye, by Marion Dane Bauer, is about a Cornish Rex named Purrloom Popcorn who travels from cat show to cat show winning ribbons. The judges were always intrigued by his white and wavy fur, sleek body, and his unusual eyes: one blue and one gold.
One day, Popcorn is unexpectedly removed from the show circuit and returned to his kitten home.
His heart quickens in hopes that he's being sent back to his owner, Lydia. Sadly, he learns that Lydia has passed away and that her niece's family has inherited her estate. This means that Popcorn now has new owners.
Needless to say, Popcorn isn't happy about his new family, especially their young daughter, Melinda.
Melinda tries to show Popcorn affection, but all he can think about is escaping back to his former life on the cat show circuit.
While looking for a way to escape his new home, he runs into an old tabby, named Tiger, who initially gives him a hard time but later agrees to show him the way out. It's not until Tiger literally walks through the front door that Popcorn realizes that the old tomcat is a ghost.
When Tiger returns he points out that Popcorn's blue eye is a "ghost eye" that allows him to see the deceased.
Popcorn soon realizes that there are many other ghosts in the home besides Tiger, including the ghost of Lydia.
Popcorn, feeling that he has no place among spirits, voices his desire to return to life as a show cat and asks the ghosts to help him convince his new owners to send him back.
Will Popcorn get his way and return to his former life, or will his unwillingness to accept his new family get him a one-way ticket to the pound?
What I Didn't Like
First, I'll go ahead and get the dislikes out of the way.
Note: This book was written for a 3rd-5th grade audience; so, naturally, some of the things that I dislike would probably not matter to a child. So, don't let my dislikes keep you from purchasing this book if you think it'd be a good story for your child or if you want to give it a read yourself.
- Where did Lilly go?
The sole reason that Popcorn was sent to work on the cat show circuit was because Lilly became ill and was sent away, but the book never says where she goes. Does she go to a hospital or to live with another family member? Again, it doesn't say.
Rereading the paragraph in the book (page 4, paragraph 2) it's written from Popcorn's perspective; so I can understand why this information may have been omitted.
I admit it may be trivial; but for some reason not knowing this information just bugged me. It made the backstory of Popcorn's cat show career seem incomplete.
- The book leaves you hanging and doesn't have a definitive ending.
If this book had been part of a series where the story continued this would not be an issue; however, the author chose to not give a definitive ending. Does Popcorn stay with his new family? Does he return to the cat show circuit? Does he get sent to the pound?
I guess the answer to this would be how one might perceive Popcorn himself. He does warm up to Melinda in the end, but that doesn't mean that he'll stay with the family.
- Just one more chapter...
In regards to having no real ending, I think one could have been created with the addition of one more chapter. Let's be honest. Kids like happy endings and adding a 10th chapter would have made this possible. It's as simple as that.
What Gets a Thumbs Up!
- It's not spooky for children.
The paranormal aspect in this book is not creepy at all; and, personally, I don't remember being spooked by this book as a child. Yes, there are ghosts in the story, but they are presented in a very warm, caring, and funny way.
- Popcorn's reactions are indeed very "cat-like".
When Popcorn meets Melinda, he doesn't want to be held or have anything to do with her initially. I have a cat like this now. Sometimes she doesn't like to be held and will scratch you if you try to pick her up and cuddle her - unless she initiates the cuddling first. Popcorn's reactions present a realistic view of how standoffish some cats can be, especially to new people. Popcorn is self-absorbed, stubborn, and only wants to be pet or cuddled on his own accord.
- Lessons learned.
As with most children's books, there's positive messages within. In Ghost Eye, Popcorn learns to adapt to changing situations - that things are not always as bad as they seem. He also learns to open his heart and let new people in.
- I enjoyed the author's writing style.
Every author has their own writing style. Some authors are more descriptive, some funny and others more serious. I can say that I enjoyed Miss Bauer's way of writing. I found it very light-hearted and enjoyable - perfect for a children's book.
- It has beautiful illustrations.
The book is illustrated by an artist named, Trina Schart Hyman (April 8, 1939-November 19, 2004). Mrs. Hyman was an avid artist and had her illustrations printed in more than 150 books. Her black-and-white line art adds a charm to the book that children will enjoy.
Rating & Conclusion
Author & Book Information
- Author: Marion Dane Bauer
- Illustrator: Trina Schart Hyman
- Book Publishing Year: 1992
- Number of Pages: 83
- Genre: Children's Fiction (Grade 3-5), Paranormal
- Publisher: Scholastic
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