This is book 3 in the 43 Old Cemetery Road series. I read book 2 and loved it and was excited to see this one come out. This continues the story of Seymour Hope, Ignatius B Grumply, and Olive Spence (a ghost). The story is a compilation of letters, newspaper articles, and even a menu from the Ghastly Gourmand, a local restaurant. The town of Ghastly's beloved multi-millionaire died, and his greedy, bickering children come to town to get his fortune. In the meantime, Seymour has found a lost dog (formerly owned by the multi-millionaire), their cat, Shadow, has disappeared, and Olive and Iggy disagree about how to raise Seymour. There are secrets, lies, and rare coins that keep popping up around town.
OK, this sounds like an odd description for a children's book, but it works really well! There are so many puns (M. Balm, Shirley U. Jest, Mac Awbrah) and the illustrations are so well done. The characters are well defined and the writing almost sparkles. There are life lessons (letter writing is good, lies are bad, and be glad you can still change who you are because it's hard when you're a ghost) and limericks (you'll have to read them yourself).
I love this book and I love this series. I can't wait until the 4th one (Phantom of the Post Office) comes out.
on February 21, 2016
My 5th Grader loves this series. My daughter loves how the books are written in letter format, which makes it interesting, and fun to read. She is a big fan of Kate Klise books, and they never disappoint. Now my 3rd grader is wanting to start reading this series. A+ for uniqueness!
Life (and death) at 43 Old Cemetery Road, Ghastly, Illinois (the old Spence Mansion) is once again in an uproar. It seems that Seymour, the young artist adopted by writer Ignatius B. Grumpley and ghost writer Olive C. Spence, has found a dog, Secret. And, well, keeping a Secret can be hard. Olive, you see (or, well, you don't see), is a cat person. Or cat ghost, that is. And her cat, Shadow doesn't like dogs. In fact, he(?) seems to have disappeared.
There's also the issue of where Secret really belongs. Seymour swears no one has come to claim him, which is true, just not the whole truth. And Seymour has never been one to keep secrets (or a Secret) from his adoptive parents, so he's feeling a little rotten about the whole thing. Seymour is fully aware that Secret was a long-time companion of Mr. Noah Breth who has recently passed away. Technically, the dog should go to Mr. Breth's children, Kitty and Kanine, but really, they're too busy squabbling and trying to follow their father's poetic clues to beat each other to their father's fortune to care about a mere dog. If only they could figure out what their father treasured most. And then there's the mystery of the rare and valuable coins that have been showing up in unlikely places around town lately.
This book is fit and proper company for the other books in this endearing series. Like the others, it is told through a series of letters and other writings between and among the punnily named characters, including newcomers Rita O'Bitt, Mr. Breth's estate lawyer, and Sheriff Mike Ondolences. And like the other books, the characters are lively (even the dead ones) and witty, and the various plot lines tie together into a tidy, delightful package. Author Kate Klise and illustrator M. Sarah Klise have created the lovely, if rather far-fetched, world of Ghastly, Illinois as a perfect epistolary escape for your early elementary aged ghost fan. 4.5 stars.
This is the first book of the "43 Old Cemetery Road" series I have read and I think it's a winner. The plot is simple - a rich old man with two less than wonderful children has died and left his fortune up for grabs. He has written his will in rhyme and dangled clues all over the place - offering his vast fortune as reward to the son or daughter who figures out the "secret"...
There is a ghost (or two). Some people with "punny" names (like M.Balm...) And there is even a happy, but not sappy, ending. I guess if I had read the two prior books, I would have already learned about Olive - the real "ghost" writer and the interesting living and communicating arrangements that happen as a matter of course in the mansion. But, unlike a lot of books written as a series, this one was crafted such that you could jump in and have fun with the plot without a lot of prior knowledge. And, while I plan to read the first two books, it's not really necessary to understand this one.
Everything about this book is appealing - the simple prose, clever use of puns, well written limericks, and interesting characters - and should keep kids engaged and encourage them to read the entire series. On a personal note, the first book I remember reading as a kid was "The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree" - it too was illustrated and part of a series of 4 or 5 books. I loved the first and went on to read the entire series. This seems to have the same quality and I hope it encourages kids toward a life long love of reading. I wish the writer and illustrator success in growing this series. It's a winner.
I love this series and the latest installment was not a disappointment. Although stories have been told through correspondence, newspaper stories and such before, no does it better than sisters Kate and M. Sarah Klise. Til Death Do Us Bark is told through letters (that's right, old fashioned letters not emails, texts or instant messages) newspaper stories, recorded conversations and even the menu from the local cafe. Puns and word play abound, especially in the names of the characters like the recently deceased Noah Breth.
Teachers who still present units on letter-writing could incorporate these stories into their lesson plan to liven things up. Fans of this style of story telling might also enjoy the Klise sisters books about the Dry Creek Middle School, starting with Regarding the Fountain.
Although Til Death Do Us Bark is filled with fun and humor, it does manage to put a bit of a message in as well, about the evils of lying and keeping secrets, but also about the grace of second chances.
I hope the Klise sisters will keep this series going for a long time!
on April 30, 2011
Fun-filled romp through Ghastly Illinois that had me laughing until my sides ached!
This was such a cute book. The main characters are Mr. Grumply (an aged, widowed writer), Olive (a ghost writer in the literal sense), and Seymour (a little boy that they adopted). The book is written in letters, newspaper articles, and limericks.
Olive & Grumply like the fine art of letter writing. So they insisted that ALL communication take the form of letters. So when Seymour finds a dog and wants to ask if he can keep it, he must write a letter to Olive & Grumply.
This book will have your kids rolling with laughter. If you have a reluctant reader, this should help get them interested in reading.
Well, I am off to buy the first two books in the series for my Godson, Ben. I know that he will love them!
In conjunction with the Wakela's World Disclosure Statement, I received a product in order to enable my review. No other compensation has been received. My statements are an honest account of my experience with the brand. The opinions stated here are mine alone.
on November 27, 2011
Seymour, Olive and Ignatius have worked hard to overcome obstacles and keep their little family together, but adding a dog to the mix (especially one that barks all the time) may prove to be too much. So Seymour takes Secret and disappears.
Secret's owner and Ghastly's eccentric millionaire, Noah Breth has just passed away and left a cryptic will written in limericks for his two miserable children to squabble over. Neither of them could care less about their father or each other. Once they were a family, but that doesn't seem to be the case now. In the meantime, Olive and Ignatius search for their missing son.
Again, Kate and M. Sarah Klise have constructed a wonderful story out of letters, newspaper articles, legal documents and delightful drawings. The mystery of a lost coin thickens the plot.
Will Seymour and Secret return to Spence Mansion? Will Ignatius lighten up on his dislike of dogs? Will Olive's cat pose a problem? Will Olive, Ignatius and Seymour reunite in time to meet their fans' demands for the next three chapters of "43 Old Cemetery Road"?
Will flaring tempers, angry words and feuding get in the way of everyone's happiness?
Read the book and you'll find out.
Have I mentioned my never-ending love for these sisters in a while? No? Well, it always needs repeated. I am a 20 year old senior in college. I was introduced to their books in the 5th grade. How is it that they are still two of my absolute favorite writers? I'm pretty sure I'm no longer in their target demographic. So, this particular series. You may recall I wasn't the greatest fan of the first book in the series. The second one was a huge improvement. And then came this. Seriously, Klise sisters, how do you do this? This surpassed any and all expectations. It's the same epistolary story pattern that the two of them have worked hard to perfect, and perfect it they have. We still have an abundance of plot twists, endearing characters with funny (and punny!) names, and in the end, a story that truly resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. Never stop, Klises, never stop.
Having absolutely loved the first two books in the 43 Old Cemetary Road series: Dying to Meet You and Over My Dead Body, I had little doubt I would love this one, and I was not disappointed.
At the end of the second book, our typical nuclear family (for Ghastly, IL) regularized their relationship as the court terminated the parental rights of the despicable Les and Diane Hope and granted the request by Ignatius B. Grumply, a single person, and Olive C. Spence, a free spirit, to adopt Seymour Hope. As our story begins, this typical family must now face a typical family situation: a dog has followed Seymour home, and he wants to know if he can keep it. The trouble is that I. B. Grumply is a dog person, Olive was a cat person when she was alive, Shadow, Olive's cat has vanished, and Seymour isn't being entirely truthful. In addition Ghastly's beloved millionaire, Noah Breth, neither the first, the last, nor the worst of the soul crushing puns contained herein, has died, leaving only mysterious limerick clues to the location of his missing fortune, to the frustration of his ever feuding children, Kitty Breth and Kanine Breth.
Chaos and hilarity ensue.
The gimmick of having the story told entirely through written communication works about as well in this book as it does in the previous books because Grumply is still more comfortable communicating that way, Olive has no choice, and Seymour is more comfortable since he's trying to conceal something. Can our heroes get past their mistakes and misunderstandings (with a little help from Beyond)? Can the missing fortune be found? Well, the answers are obvious, but it is an enormous amount of fun getting there! The only nit I have to pick is that I thought some surprise ending character improvements seemed a bit abrupt, but it's a minor point.
I shall be eagerly awaiting the next volumes in this delightful series, soul crushing puns and all: The Phantom of the Post Office,Hollywood, Dead Ahead, and Greetings from the Graveyard!
on April 23, 2011
The Klise sisters have done it again with their 3rd installment in the 43 OLD CEMETERY ROAD series. TILL DEATH DO US BARK continues with our main characters (Seymour, Olive, and Mr. Grumply)writing letters to one another. This time, Seymour has found a dog named Secret and wants to keep him. Olive is a cat person (or cat ghost). Mr. Grumply is a dog person (and allergic to cats including Shadow - Olive's cat). Their story is intertwined with the death of Noah Breth (the original owner of Secret). When Seymour runs away from home with Secret, Grumply & Olive learn a little something about working things out and being good parents from the ghost of the recently deceased Mr. Breth. Mr. Breth's children also learn something about being family and about greed.
The characters have grown on me and I love seeing the new twists that come with each book. I love the various points of view and the mix between letters and newspaper articles. Sarah Klise's illustrations are just the perfect touch to the novel resulting in a cross between chapter book and graphic novel that should appeal to even reluctant readers. I am excited to share the latest installment with my students. And I am thrilled to hear that there will be more in the series.