Author: Erin Petti
Publisher: Mighty Press
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
GoodReads Summary: Eleven-year-old Thelma Bee is never bored. In fact, she has curiosity and adventure in her blood. She spends her time running science experiments, practicing Spanish, and daydreaming about exotic landscapes. But Thelma gets more than she bargained for when a strange woman sells a jewelry box at her father’s antique shop. That night, a ghost kidnaps her father, and the only clues are the jewelry box and a word the ghost whispered in her ear: “Return.” Now it’s up to Thelma to get her dad back, and it might be harder than she thought—there’s someone wielding dark magic, and they’re coming after her next.
What I Think: I'm all about girl power books and especially books with girls and STEM. Even though The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee is a ghost story, it's also a story of a brave girl who uses her scientific skills to her advantage when she encounters a ghost...and maybe a little bit of trusting her intuition too. As a mentor text, Thelma is a great character to use as an example of how to use the scientific method in real life. She takes note of what she observes and uses the information to understand the world around her. Student writers can take note of what they observe in the world around them and think about which might be important to include in their own writing to help readers.
I also love The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee as a mentor text when getting to know characters. Main characters and secondary characters need to grow or experience some kind of change throughout the story. Knowing your characters inside and out is important when it comes to story. The first snatch of text below is an example of two sentences that give us insight into Thelma Bee and her heart's biggest desire. She wants to be an adventurer and is fascinated by mysteries so here we learn about her and a little about her personality. But also we learn about her mom and that her mom is off adventuring. It's important for writers to know their character's deepest desires but also to be able to make sure readers understand this as well in a show-don't-tell almost seamless way.
Snatch of Text:
"Thelma often dreamt of the day when she would adventure through the world like her mom, Mary Bee. Uncovering nature's mysteries and making important discoveries in the wild - what could be better?" (p. 3)
"...Thelma reached up and grabbed for the mini flashlight that she kept tied to a long shoelace on her bedpost. She clicked it on and propped it on her nightstand. In her notebook, under "Ghost Facts (according to E)" she created a new heading: GHOST FACTS: OBSERVED." (p. 42)
Writing Prompt: Free write about your main character and what he or she wants more than anything. Now try and zone in on his or her deepest desire and pare down your words to 2-3 sentences that show your reader what your main character cares about most.
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*Thanks to Mighty Media Press for
a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review!*
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