Monday, April 16, 2007

Richard Peck Slam!

The Ghost Belonged to Me
Ghosts I Have Been

Alexander Arnsworth and Blossom Culp are the two protagonists of these children's books, set in the early twentieth century. Alexander is from a family of somewhat new money, and the machinations of his mother to get into high society are of great amusement to him. Blossom is from the wrong side of the tracks, but her gypsy mother has the Sight, and she lets Alexander know in no small terms that something big is going to happen. And sure enough, a ghost soon makes her presence known to thirteen-year-old Alexander. Blossom, of course, can't keep herself from getting involved, and this book chronicles the adventures they have in laying the ghost to rest. The adventures, by the way, are on a level that is quite plausible for 1913, but feel adventuresome nonetheless.

In the second book, Blossom comes into power of her own and gets into all manner of trouble thereby. It starts with a Halloween prank that is her way of getting back at Alexander for ignoring her, and ends up with a trip across the Atlantic... but not precisely the one you would expect her to take. Blossom is wry and apt to deliberately engineer trouble, mostly because she has always been at the bottom of the heap and doesn't mind having a little fun.

There is a third book in the series that I didn't much care for when I read it as a child; I'd have to go back and figure out if it were still worth it today, though I think not, since it largely was not set in the early 1900s small-town-America that made the first two so charming.

No comments: