May 8, 2014

[Book Review] Ghosts Don't Eat Potato Chips (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #5) by Debbie Dadey & Marcia Thornton Jones


Spooky things are happening in Aunt Matilda's house. Potato chips on the floor are spelling out secret messages and forming trails. And if Aunt Matilda is snoring in her bed, then who is whistling a tune? There must be a ghost in Aunt Matilda's house.



Ghosts Don't Eat Potato Chips is probably one of my least favorite Adventures of the Bailey School Kids books. You wouldn't think so if you knew how much I enjoyed ghost stories (The Haunted HotelWait Till Helen ComesTime Windows) as a child, but as far as ghost stories go, Ghosts Don't Eat Potato Chips isn't particularly frightening or even interesting. The atmosphere isn't creepy, really; instead, it's the same mysterious, maybe-it's-magic-but-it's-probably-not attitude of all the rest of the series' books. Which I don't mind when it comes to most of the Bailey School Kids books, but I suppose I expect more from a ghost story. Especially considering how saturated the subgenre is, as opposed to, for example, children's fiction about Frankenstein's monster, Nessie, Dracula, and the other creatures Dadey and Jones tackle.

That said, the story itself isn't bad. It's a good "beginner" ghost story, I suppose; something to give your kid if they want a quick, safe glimpse at the utmost point of the iceberg that is ghost fiction. There's nothing really frightening here other than the concept of ghosts itself; hell, Aunt Matilda, Eddie's mean old relative, is probably more frightening than that.

If your child/student/etcetera particularly enjoys this, I'd advise checking out The Haunted Hotel and The October Ogre by Ron Roy, The Haunting of Grade Three by Grace Maccarone, or Ghosts Beneath Our Feet by Betty Ren Wright next, all three of which are very tame and contain a spooky atmosphere and possible ghosts/monsters (I won't spoil which, if any, are debunked!).

If you have a Bailey School Kids fan in your life, there's no reason to avoid this book. It's completely typical Bailey School Kids fare, a simple pseudo-mystery that explores but neither debunks nor endorses supernatural elements and ultimately ends happily. It's just not as fun a story as some of the others in the series, as far as I'm concerned.



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