Zero to Hero - Ghost Buddy by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

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Zero to Hero - Ghost Buddy by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: The first in a new series, this is a funny and reassuring story for young readers with an endearing lead character with whom many will identify.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 181 Date: June 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9781407132280

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Billy Broccoli has moved to a new house and school and is anxious about fitting in and making new friends. Things are made more difficult for him because his mum is the head teacher of his new school and Billy is also learning to cope with a new stepfather and stepsister. Just when Billy thinks things could not get any more difficult he discovers a ghost in his bedroom wardrobe. Not just an ordinary ghost either. His own personal ghost is Hoover Porterhouse, a teenage ghost with attitude, who is going to help Billy learn not only how to be cool but also how to deal with the obnoxious school bully. This is the first in a new series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver and on the basis of this first instalment it promises to be as successful as their popular Hank Zipzer series.

This is a fast paced and enjoyable story with enough twists in the plot to keep the reader’s attention. At first Billy thinks that it is awful to be sharing a room with a ghost but as Hoover helps Billy gain some much needed confidence and useful social skills he soon changes his mind. Almost inevitably Hoover, or The Hoove as he likes to be known, reminded me of the Fonz of Happy Days but this added to his appeal. Hoover lived one hundred years ago and the story makes the most of the obvious differences in both language and lifestyle between the two boys but their shared obsession with baseball provides them with some common ground. Billy is being bullied at school by a neighbour and Hoover encourages Billy in plotting revenge. However Billy is a kind and thoughtful boy at heart and the way in which the problem is ultimately resolved provides a helpful message to young readers. There are some very funny moments in the book and the developing friendship between Billy and Hoover will be interesting to follow as the series continues.

I enjoyed this book very much and warmed to Billy who is an appealing lead character. As a typical eleven year old boy with normal insecurities and a somewhat awkward manner he is someone that many readers will identify with. Each chapter ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger and this cleverly encourages the reader to read on. The length of the book and the writing style which is both humorous and light in tone make this an ideal read for slightly reluctant readers of about eight and over. This is not surprising as this is the book’s target market but I do think that it achieves this aim very well and would also appeal to both boys and girls. I had not read the first series by this writing duo but I can now understand their success and am looking forward to following the further adventures of Billy and Hoover.

For another book about a boy learning to cope with starting a new school you could try the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

Buy Zero to Hero - Ghost Buddy by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Zero to Hero - Ghost Buddy by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Zero to Hero - Ghost Buddy by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Zero to Hero - Ghost Buddy by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver at Amazon.com.


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