BooksForKidsBlog

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Great George's Ghost! The Ghost Who Haunted the Capitol by Steve Brezenoff

"Come on, Sam," I said. "We're not superheroes or something. We're just going on a class trip."

"Yeah," Cat added. "it's not like there's always a major crime wave wherever we go on a class trip."

Gum frowned. "Yeah there is," he said.

"Yeah, said Sam. "Name one trip we've been on that didn't involve us busting some crook or scoundrel or vandal or punk?"

Sam was right. For us, field trips meant fighting crime.

Egg (Edward G. Garrison) and his sixth-grade buddies expect to see the usual sights on their field trip to Washington, D.C--the Capitol, the Washington Monument--but they really don't expect to see the ghost of George Washington!

It all begins at Union Station. The kids are just piling off their train when the crowd begins to run and scream that they are seeing a ghost--the ghost of our first president. The scene is chaos, Some sort of flyers litter the grand lobby and people are running away from the ghost, toward the ghost, and every direction in between. Egg is disappointed that the mysterious figure is gone before he can snap a photo with his trusty camera. But at the hotel, there's another appearance of the phantasm, suddenly appearing in Sam and Cat's room. But this time Egg is there with his always at-hand camera, and he catches their pesky classmate, Anton Gutman, in the act. But how could Anton have managed to impersonate George's ghost at the station?

And the next day, as the kids make the rounds, there are whispers about the ghost everywhere they go, and all the tourists seem to have suddenly acquired fancy new cameras to try to catch a telltale snapshot of Washington's spirit. At the Washington Monument, Egg finally manages to get his own shots of the mystery phantasm, but the figure of the supposed ghost appears only as a bright blur. Even the down-to-earth Gum is beginning to believe in ghosts.

But Egg is suspicious. It's an interesting coincidence that those flyers scattered all over Union Station were advertising a big weekend sale on cameras at Washington's Photographs just at the time when the photo op of the century was making cameo appearances all around the nation's capital. Egg knows why the ghost of George is walking. Now all he has to do is explain what--or who--the presidential ghost really is.

Steve Brezenoff's The Ghost Who Haunted the Capitol (Field Trip Mysteries) (Stone Arch Books, 2011) has those gumshoes of the school bus on the job in a brand-new installment of his beginning chapter book series, Field Trip Mysteries. C. B. Canga's classy full-color illustrations catch the local color to add much in the way of pizazz to the design of this appealing group of young sleuth mystery tales that should be just right for readers who have ripped through Ron Roy's The A to Z Mysteries (for more D.C. suspense, see Roy's White House White-Out (A to Z Mysteries Super Edition, No. 3.) Or, to catch the current zombie wave, pair the Field Trip sleuths' The Zombie That Visited New Orleans (Field Trip Mysteries) with Ron Roy's The Zombie Zone (A to Z Mysteries) for a lot of detective fun way down yonder in New Orleans.

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