The Ghost of Walhachin
by Ramona Nehring-Silver
GENRE: Juvenile Fiction / Historical - MG
A ghost, time travel, and unusual friendships await Kean in Walhachin. Kean feels displaced at his home in Seattle since his mother recently re-married and has chosen to spend the summer in the small desert town with his aunt and younger cousin. Not long after arriving, he regrets his decision. There is no one his age. The town is too small for public amenities. Then everything changes when he uncorks an old soda bottle that was made in Walhachin eighty years prior. He becomes embroiled in an adventure to try and help a ghost retrieve a much-needed item from the past. In his quest to help the ghost he discovers the town's spirited history and develops unusual friendships with an old man in the present and a young boy in the past.
"The Ghost of Walhachin is an unusual ghost story. It's not spooky; instead, it's an engaging tale of adventure and enduring friendships, with a slice of history." – Helen Davies
Goosebumps crept up the back of Kean’s neck. As he slowly turned to examine the room, he spotted the green mist up in the corner near the door. It wasn’t spreading around the room like a stench.
“What are you doing to me? Open the bottle,” the voice pleaded.
No one was in the room.
“Who said that?” Kean blurted, then lifted his feet onto the bed and leaned over to see under the bed.
“Who? Where are you?” Kean’s knuckles turned white from gripping the bottle
“Right here! Close the curtains. It’s too bright in here.”
“What are you talking about? Where are you?”
“It’ll help if you close the curtains.” The voice sounded impatient but friendly.
Kean slowly stood on the bed, backed toward the window and closed the curtains. “There. Now, where are you?” he asked, looking around the room.
His eyes stopped on the mist. It had gotten brighter in the darkened room and formed a boy’s head and shoulders, with one arm attached.
“Ahhhhh!” Kean backed into the far corner of his bed, not taking his eyes off the shape.”
The Ghost of Walhachin is an engaging story. Kean is a relatable protagonist, an ordinary boy stuck in the boring small town of Walhachin over the summer, looking for some excitement to break up the monotony. When Kean's spirited cousin Calvin finds a large snake and puts it under the shed to keep it cool, Kean spots an old bottle that he thinks his mother will enjoy putting in her collection. Little does he know that his wish for some excitement is about to come true. The strange "mist" in the bottle turns out to be a ghostly boy who needs Kean's help.
The story is family-friendly and the ghost isn't frightening. Expressive illustrations complement the tale. Older kids and adults alike will enjoy the unique friendship between Kean and Sam. I enjoyed reading the story very much. It reminded me of some of the stories that I enjoyed reading in my youth as well as summers looking for adventure. The book is well-written and impeccably edited. I give it five out of five stars.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ramona Nehring-Silver's memories of living in and around Walhachin as a child and exploring the surroundings with seven siblings provided the initial inspirations for The Ghost of Walhachin. Ongoing motivation, and sometimes interruptions, came from her four children and thirteen grandchildren. She now lives in the far northeast corner of British Columbia, where her teaching career has ranged from adult art and writing classes to elementary school. Exploring B.C. and beyond by motorcycle is her favorite thing to do, as well as spending time with her grandchildren.
“The Ghost of Walhachin is an unusual ghost story. It's not spooky; instead, it's an engaging tale of adventure and enduring friendships, with a slice of history.”
- Helen Davies - Tellwell Editor
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