Let’s be honest, I couldn’t very well write my own book review. However, in honor of Halloween, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you an inside look at the book. I know, a bit self-serving, but I hope you’ll bear with me as I would love to introduce you to some of my thoughts during the development process.
This book was originally released in 2012, and then re-released in 2015 with all new illustrations by the talented Katrina Glidewell. The new release also contains some updated content, and is now published under Wandalee Press. Let’s take a look at the…
Title: Dani and the Haunted House
Author: K. Lamb
Illustrator: Katrina Glidewell
Publisher: Wandaless Press, Second Edition
Available Editions: Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
Age Category: 6-10
Grade Level: 1-5
Back cover: Dani shivers in the cold night air as her heart races and butterflies dance in her stomach. This is her big moment. She is out to prove to everyone that age doesn’t matter when it comes to solving mysteries. With the help of her best friend, Chloe Marshall, she is determined to uncover the secrets within the walls of the haunted house on the hill. Taking a big gulp, she steps forward. There is no turning back now.
How it begins
Dani and Chloe are standing outside the gates of the scariest haunted house in town. Of course, the mischievous and mystery-loving Dani wants to go inside. The more timid and reserved Chloe wants no part of it. But, as usual, Dani manages to talk her best friend into tagging along on what will soon turn out to be an adventure gone awry!
Here are some of my favorites from the book and why…
“Uh, if you didn’t notice, it’s pitch-black outside and we’re standing in the middle of a cemetery,” grumbled Chloe, pulling her pink sweater tightly around her.
“I think I’m allowed to be a baby!”
Why is it I love this quote? Because here we see the normally timid Chloe standing up for herself, something she finds easy to do with her best friend. There are no judgments here. Chloe knows she’s a fraidy cat. But, she also knows that although her best friend might sometimes tease her about it, Dani will be the first one to stand beside her. These two are complete opposite girls, and quibble like siblings, but when push comes to shove, they always have each other’s back.
“Uh, Dani, there’s a problem with your plan that’s not a plan,” said Chloe.
This is just such a Chloe statement. She can be a little out there sometimes, and a bit ditzy if we’re being completely honest, but don’t let that fool you. Chloe is just as smart and brave as Dani, but in her own way, which is why they make the perfect team! As readers continue with the series, they’ll see more of Chloe’s character development and strength.
“You change your mind like you change your clothes, Chloe— every two seconds!” exclaimed Dani.
Again, this goes to show the differences between Dani and Chloe. Whereas Dani happily lives in overalls, day in and day out, Chloe is always up-to-date in the latest fashions. The quote also shows the humor the two girls share. They will often times hide their embarrassment behind teasing.
“You can! You can do anything, Chloe Zoe Marshall!” encouraged Dani, grabbing Chloe’s hand. “I believe in you. Just the way you’ve always believed in me. Together, we can do this!”
This quote sums up the total relationship between the two girls. The have unending faith in one another. They will always stand united in friendship, despite their quibbles.
Things of interest
- The Dani P. Mystery series is designed for emergent readers, however, I love including challenge words! I think it is important to have a child stretch their minds a little when reading. Not enough to frustrate them, just enough to satisfy inquisitive learners.
- There are comprehension questions in the back of the book along with the answers. It’s a way for children (and parents) to see how much they are able to retain from the story.
- I include an additional Teacher Resource guide on my website, although it is available to anyone who registers. It contains additional activities.
- Within in the next 30 days, it should receive a Lexile score. I recently signed a contract to have the book measured. This will make it easier for teachers or parents to help match the book with their reader’s level. I am also currently researching the submission process for the Accelerated Reader program.
- The characters are imperfect. I did not want sugary sweet, always perfect, children. I want the reader to be able to relate to the characters. They will see the journey, mistakes and all, that these two characters experience. They will also learn along with Dani and Chloe that there are consequences to their choices.
- In respect to the above, I want this series to be a platform to create an open dialog between parents and children. It is an opportunity to discuss the mistakes made, self-esteem issues, and the dangerous situations the characters sometimes get themselves into during their adventures—all wrapped up in a fun mystery children will enjoy!
- Dani and the Haunted House received Readers Favorite 5-Star status. It has also received Inkspokes.com’s 5-Star Select Book Award. Amazon readers rate it 4.9 stars as of the date of this article’s publication.
In honor of Halloween, now through October 31st, the Kindle edition of Dani and the Haunted House is on sale at Amazon. I hope you will consider purchasing a copy for your little trick or treater! If mysteries aren’t quite their cup of tea, find a book that intrigues and inspires them! There are so many options available to choose from—one is sure to delight your child! The gift of reading is sure to be the best treat they receive this Halloween season!
As my own little treat to you, the first five individuals to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the hashtag #KLBlog will win a free Kindle copy of Dani and the Haunted House!