Fantasy Friday: 43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise

43 Old Cemetery Road (series)
written by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Harcourt Children's Books, 2009-2011
Grades 2-5
Reviewed from personal copies.

This series revolves around the experiences of three characters, Ignatius B. Grumply, a famous author of children's books, Seymour Hope, an 11-year old boy who has been abandoned by his parents and his cat, Shadow, and Olive C. Spence, an unpublished author and resident ghost.  Book one, Dying to Meet You, begins with Ignatius looking for a house to rent for the summer while he wrestles with writing a new children's book in his Ghost Tamers series.  Unfortunately, or so Ignatius thinks, he discovers that the house that he rents has other residents, namely Seymour and his friend Olive.  Ignatius becomes increasingly frustrated with what he believes is Seymour's pranks and references to his ghost friend, Olive.  But when Olive inserts herself into his increasingly frantic efforts to overcome his writer's block, he is forced to admit there is more to this house on 43 Old Cemetery Road then meets the eye.

Book two, Over My Dead Body, finds Seymour Hope, placed in an orphanage after it is discovered he is not living with his parents, Ignatius ends up in an insane asylum because of his recurring references to a ghost, and Olive must find a way to get her new found family back together, before Seymour's parents return to claim their son.

In Book three, Till Death Do Us Bark, Seymour runs away after being told by both Ignatius and Olive that he can't keep the dog that followed him home from the grocery store.  Ignatius and Olive clash over the dog and the disappearance of Shadow, the cat.  It seems the unusual family may not last.  The death of a local citizen who happens to be a millionaire adds mystery to the story.

Things I like about this series:
  • the humor--with the variety of interesting names that Klise comes up with, the reader can't help but smile (examples include: Anita Sale, a real estate agent, Paige Turner, Ignatius's publisher, Les and Diane Hope, Seymour's Parents, etc.)
  • the format--the story is told through brief newspaper articles, letters, memos, Seymour's drawings, lists, and various other documents (I love this kind of format)
  • plot--rather nonsensical plotting makes for an entertaining light read
Things I don't like quite so well:
  • plot--plot twists and turns that are not very believable or even possible 
  • don't really work as read-a-louds
  • shortness--the stories are too short for me :)
Overall, a fun series for those willing to suspend belief and just enjoy the humor, wordplay, and affection between the characters. Recommended.  Other books by the Klise sisters include:


  1. Oh, I like this series, too! But I like Regarding the Fountain even more.

    Anyway, if you want your prize from the Halloween giveaway, please send me your snail mail at kate AT katecoombs DOT com. :)


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