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Ghost Town Hardcover – June 29, 2009

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547194714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547194714
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,053,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—How do you spend your time when you live in a dead-end town? Spencer Adams Honesty, one-half the population of Paisley, KS, revives his childhood imaginary friend, Chief Leopard Frog, for company and takes up photography. The boy's camera captures the ghosts of Paisley's ex-residents and sets off a chain of wonderfully absurd events. For example, a correspondence with Uncle Milton (President and Proprietor of Uncle Milton's Thousand Things You Never Thought You'd Find novelty catalog) leads to the man's publishing a collection of Chief Leopard Frog's bad poetry, and Spencer's romancing two "older" women (older by a few years) as he takes on the world of art photography by storm. Jennings has a dry wit, and the protagonist's matter-of-fact observations make the most outlandish scenes seem possible. This is a coming-of-age story/tall tale that's full of charm.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA END


"Offbeat, quirky, peculiar, unusual . . . For readers who enjoy Jennings’s work, Spencer’s adventures will be a welcome addition."--Kirkus Reviews

"Smartly driven along by a sense that just about anything can happen next, the story takes several severe twists from there, culminating in a rush of prizes and huge royalty checks for both the photos and for the wildly popular poems that Chief Leopard Frog writes. Fans of Gary Paulsen’s Lawn Boy (2007) will find this similarly epic rocket to fame and fortune equally stimulating."--Booklist

"It’s a delicious premise—a ghost town coming back to life in dreams and photographs—developed with an accretion of humorous situations and details: a disappearing toe, a pumpkin that looks like Oprah Winfrey, and a poetry-writing imaginary friend named Chief Leopard Frog who whittles bad-luck talismans. And when the Chief’s poetry and Spencer’s ghost camera bring in unexpected wealth, the fortunes of Paisley, Kansas, revive. Readers who can suspend disbelief and appreciate the quirkiness will enjoy Jennings’s story of a ghost town’s unlikely savior."--The Horn Book Magazine

"Paisley, with its numerous spiders, reptiles and vacated buildings, emerges as just as vivid a character as Spencer . . . Spencer's frequent musings on solitude, art and life are thought provoking and often funny . . . it's a fun ride."--Publishers Weekly

"There is adventure and romance, fun and action. Jennings has a talent for humor, and middle school boys and girls will smile as they read his latest effort."--VOYA, (4Q4P)

More About the Author

Richard W. Jennings has published more than fifty essays, articles, and short stories, including The Tragic Tale of the Dog Who Killed Himself, published by Bantam Books in 1980 to widespread critical acclaim, in addition to his recent titles published with Houghton Mifflin -- Orwell's Luck, The Great Whale of Kansas, My Life of Crime, and Scribble. He is cofounder of a popular Kansas City-area bookstore and former editor of KANSAS CITY MAGAZINE. He has five children, four grandchildren, a dog, a cat, and a parrot and lives in Kansas.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Dee Spencer Hentz on December 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Exceptional story. The main character, Spencer age 13, is full of life in a ghost town. His imagination brings the abandoned town to life through his camera lens and what he needs to survive the loneliness. Excellent story that reflects what's going on around you and how u need to look at it. What is your motto for your life?
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By M. Fuka on January 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book had funny, but not laugh out loud funny. This book had sad, but not tears streaming down your face sad. It is definitely a "feel good" book. Imaginary friends, tons of good, or is it bad, luck, a mail-order friend, and photography make this book one I highly recommended to grades 4-10.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By watchful parent on April 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read this book to screen it before my son read it. It sounded really cool! I enjoyed the story. HOWEVER MY SON WILL NOT BE READING THIS ANY TIME SOON! Between a character showing him her breasts, abuse of pain killers, and excerpts from a "sex toy" catalog, I think that the reader should be an adult, not a teen.
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