Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ghosts Don't Eat Potato Chips by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
80 pages

Ghosts Don't Eat Potato Chips is the fifth entry in the Bailey School Kids mystery series. Unlike the first book, Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots, where the main characters erroneously suspected their teacher Mrs. Jeepers was a vampire, the person that Eddie, Howie, Melody, and Lisa suspect is a ghost does appear to be an apparition in this story. The book opens with Eddie's grandmother asking him to take a casserole dish to his sick great-aunt Mathilda. Along the way he meets his friend Howie and they go to her house together.

Great aunt Mathilda is a grumpy old woman who demands Eddie and Howie to water the plants in her garden while she eats. Howie waters the plants while Eddie caters to his great aunt. While Howie is watering the plant he looks up and sees a man wearing a hat in the attic window. Howie then asks Eddie if anyone lives in the house other than his great aunt and Eddie says that only his great uncle Jasper lived there, but he died three years ago. Howie tells Eddie that he saw a man in the attic window and is frightened when he notices that his garlic chips have fell on the ground and spell out "ATTIC." While Howie is spooked, Eddie finds the situation hilarious.
After Eddie and Howie leave great aunt Mathilda's house and meet their friends Melody and Lisa on the playground, Howie shares his fears about an intruder at great aunt Mathilda's house. Despite Eddie's insistence that there was no one in the attic, the other three agree they must go back to the house to warn his great aunt. Eddie believes that Howie only saw the shadow of the trees. Melody wisely notes that the day is cloudy so there would be no shadows. The four of them then go to great aunt Mathilda's to talk to her. When they get to her house they don't notice anything awry. Howie does see a picture of great uncle Jasper on Mathilda's dresser and claims that is the man he saw in the attic window. Mathilda complains that her food is cold and the kids go to heat it in the oven. They go back upstairs to ask her about the house when they hear thumping and creaking sounds. Eddie once again tries to dismiss their concerns.
The kids play poker with Mathilda while her food is heating up when they smell something burning. They realize it is the food and rush to the kitchen to turn off the oven. All of them are perplexed when the oven is already off and none of them see the shadow of a man wearing a hat in the black smoke. Aunt Mathilda complains that she is starving and that the children need to buy her food since they burned the dish in the oven. Howie, Melody and Lisa go to a favorite fast food restaurant of great uncle Jasper's and buy burgers and garlic chips. Eddie stays behind to clean the kitchen. He is shocked when he goes to the kitchen and sees it is sparkly clean already. When the other three return with the food they tell Eddie that they did not clean it. Eddie has nothing to say about this. None of them can explain how the kitchen was cleaned and they also don't know who took a bite out of a garlic burger they just bought.
Great aunt Mathilda has a serious coughing fit after eating her onion burger and the kids realize she is running a fever. They call an ambulance, but Mathilda protests because she has no money to pay for hospital care. The ambulance arrives and takes Mathilda to the hospital as the children stay behind to close the windows and doors of her house to protect it from a coming storm. When they go inside they are suddenly trapped indoors. All the electricity goes out except for a light in the attic. Eddie, Howie, Melody, and Lisa bravely follow a trail of garlic chips and enter the attic to find a chest. They open the chest  and find an old hat. Howie says that it is the hat he saw the man in the window wearing. The lining of the hat falls open and hundreds of dollars falls out of it. Eddie wants to keep the money, but Melody and Lisa are sure that great uncle Jasper led them to the money to care for great aunt Mathilda in the hospital. The money is spent on Mathilda's hospital bills and house repairs. By the end of the story the Bailey School kids all agree that the ghost in the attic was just a figment of their imagination, reasoning that "ghosts don't eat potato chips."

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