ParaNorman: Meet the Ghosts Review
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When I was just learning to read, I read books about cute, cuddly things—like kitties and puppies and various Sesame Street characters. Now, thanks in part to the popularity of Harry Potter and his wizarding adventures, kids are breaking into reading with creepy stories about things that go bump in the night—like the ghostly tale ParaNorman: Meet the Ghosts, an early-reader book based on the animated film.

The book introduces readers to Norman, a seemingly normal kid who has the not-so-normal ability to communicate with ghosts. No one believes that Norman has this ability, though—no one but his best friend, Neil.

Norman’s gift may seem pretty cool, but, mostly, it just makes him feel different. And when a ghost comes to tell Norman that he’s the only one who can battle an evil witch who’s cursed the town, Norman realizes just how different he really is.

Norman is scared to take on the witch—and he has no idea how a kid can break a curse—but with the whole town in danger, he may have to face his fears.

With its easy-to-read text, accompanied by plenty of animated stills from the movie, ParaNorman: Meet the Ghosts is a simple and not-too-scary introduction to both reading and Norman’s story.

Kids will enjoy reading about this lovable young hero. Norman is just a regular, average kid with some highly irregular, above-average abilities. And although his strange gift makes him a kind of geeky oddball, he takes it all in stride, often stopping to chat with the friendly ghosts that he encounters throughout his day.

The story is written with a good sense of humor, too. It may be the story of a kid who can talk to ghosts, but most of the ghosts are really more silly than scary—like Neil’s dead dog or Norman’s grandma, who complains about the temperature in the living room. It isn’t until the end of the book that things start to get really spooky—and that’s when the story comes to its end.

While Meet the Ghosts offers a good introduction to the character and his story, though, there’s not much more to it. There isn’t a lot of action, and although the book sets the stage for conflict, it doesn’t actually tell the story of how Norman goes into battle against the witch (that’s saved for another book). Instead, it ends quite abruptly, as Norman sets out to save the day.

As an introduction to Norman’s story, then, ParaNorman: Meet the Ghosts is an enjoyable literary adventure for young readers. But the strange cliff-hanger kind of ending will leave some readers feeling just a little bit cheated.

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