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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Delsie knew it wasn't a good idea to dare her best friend Todd to explore the abandoned houses by the old mill. But she couldn't back down after the words slipped out of her mouth. Together the two friends bike to the mill and try the door of each abandoned house. They are all locked . . . except one. Delsie and Todd sneak inside and discover two strange things. Someone is living there. And something doesn't want Delsie to leave. It's a dog, a strange golden dog, that only Delsie can see! Newbery Honor-winning author Marion Dane Bauer spins a fourth spooky tale to complement her previous stories, The Blue Ghost, The Red Ghost, and The Green Ghost.…

The Golden Ghost

by Marion Dane Bauer

Overall Book Review:

The Golden Ghost by Marion Dane Bauer has all the marks of literary success, and now has me actively searching for the rest of the “color” ghost books in this new series (The Red Ghost, The Green Ghost, etc).  Bauer’s writing style has a mature tone that is impressive and smooth, yet is still completely perfect for young readers.  It’s apparent why Bauer is such a successful author of children’s literature!  Her writing style has a poetic touch to it that softens the story and makes it flow easily, allowing the reader become completely absorbed in the reading experience.  The Golden Ghost is an engaging ghost mystery for children, touching on the issues of loyalty, caring, passing judgment on those we do not know, and finding acceptance.  Add to that the adorable ending, which is every child’s dream (to have a secret dog of their own), and this is another winning title from accomplished children’s author Marion Dane Bauer!

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Random House Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

Two very mild instances of violence are when an old man kicks a barking dog, and an old man falls down and the children call an ambulance. 

A boy wants to know if a dog is a boy or a girl and a character says she can tell by looking at the dog’s face, to which the boy replies, “That’s not the usual end you check.” 

The girl is best friends with a boy and she remembers her mother saying that “someday they might feel too old to be friends, a boy and a girl.  She said things would happen to make everything different.”  

Mature Subject Matter:

There are only two themes of concern for very young readers, and would be good discussion topics for parents and children:  homelessness and dying.  The children discover that a homeless man is living in an abandoned house.  There is a discussion of being homeless: “They were always hungry…food from the dumpsters behind the restaurant…sleeping in a shed or a large cardboard box behind some bushes”.  The dog remembers getting sick and dying, “She simply lay under the man’s arm and breathed and breathed…until she breathed no more.”  Everything was handled appropriately for young readers, but these two themes are prevalent throughout the story.  While this a good read-aloud for ages 9+ (even as young as ages 5+), because of a few instances in the book and the mild mature themes,

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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Please note that reviews dated prior to February 1, 2012 came from and had a more informal content review process. Those reviews have been added to our database because they have a lot of great content information, but their format will look different and there may be wider variation in those reviews.