Review Detail

Kids Fiction 322
Air Boo & Boo!
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Danny's family lives in a two bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. The family has struggled financially, with his filmmaker father doing contract work, and in order for Jake and Danny to have their own space, Danny ends up with a closet bedroom. When Jake heads off to Cornell on a scholarship, Danny hopes to get his own room, but the parents decide to rent it out as an Air Hotel room. Danny's not happy about this, but there isn't much he can do. Odd things start to happen as his mother works to set up their new business, though-- the web site won't take the listing, customers have to call support to book, and the bed keeps falling apart. Even stranger are the sightings of ghostly faces in pictures and in the window. Danny consults his friend Gus, whose family runs a butcher shop, and his friend Nat, whose family has had a deli for over a hundred years. They agree with Danny that the room seems haunted, but aren't quite sure what to do. Suggestions come from Danny's grandmother, who thinks there is a dybbuk who needs to be understood to be dispatched. The kids do some research and find that a tragedy occurred in the apartment. After some parental dissent, Nat is able to stay overnight and help talk to the ghost, find out what is tying her to the room, and figure out a way to help her move on.
Good Points
This is more of a love letter to Brooklyn than a scary ghost story, but it is quite fun nonetheless. The details of Danny's every day life will seem super exotic to my students, most of whom can't walk to stores, schools, or anything else! For some reason, the various Air Hotel guests were funny and fascinating, and reading about Nat's family deli was also enjoyable. The family's financial struggles were realistic; there are a lot of odd expenses associated with college, and I can't think of a single middle grade novel to address families hosting hotel guests! (In their own home. There are books about actual hotels and motels.) The ghost story is well constructed, and i thought the reason for the dybbuk to hang around was very sweet. Like this author's The Game Masters of Garden Place or Click Here to Start, this is a fun novel with just a little bit of the supernatural.

This is similar to Cummings' Trace or Barrett's Cold in Summer, in that the ghost story was historically based and a bit sad. When she possessed the hotel guests, it was more humorous than frightening. This makes the book the right level of scary for me!

Fans of Mary Downing Hahn and Betty Ren Wright will like the slight ghost mystery, and readers who want humorous books or books set in New York City will enjoy this one. The cover is very appealing!
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