Book Review: DESMOND COLE GHOST PATROL, by Andres Miedoso and Victor Rivas

Recent releases Escape from the Roller Ghoster and Beware the Werewolf are the eleventh and twelfth books in the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series, and there’s a good reason why there are so many of these books. They are great. Each book is about 120 pages, broken up into ten chapters, and packed full of Victor Rivas’s excellent illustrations. The books exist in that somewhat hard-to-define space between early readers and full-fledged Middle Grade novels, and therefore can appeal to a wide variety of readers. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that the books are an absolute blast. They are fast-paced, exciting, and loaded with both down-to-earth, relatable kid content and high-interest, out-of-this world frights. (Though, it should be said, the scary stuff isn’t too scary – it’s more likely to lead to giggles than nightmares.)

One of my favorite things about the series is how author Andres Miedoso named the narrator of the series Andres Miedoso. Andres (the narrator, not the author) is Desmond Cole’s best friend. This narrative device instantly invites readers into the boys’ world in a way that a differently named narrator could not, and continuously prompts readers to wonder, “Did all this wild, spooky stuff really happen?” What’s more, the device also encourages readers to consider what kinds of stories they might be able to narrate, whether or not they add a hefty dose of imaginary fun to their experiences.

These all-around awesome books are a great addition to any elementary classroom or school library. Their content and format guarantee broad appeal, and their accessibility ensures benefits for both thriving and emerging readers of different ages and grades.

Jarrett Lerner is the author of EngiNerds, Revenge of the EngiNerds, The EngiNerds Strike Back, Geeger the Robot Goes to School, and Geeger the Robot: Lost and Found, as well as the author-illustrator of the activity book Give This Book a Title. Jarrett is also the author-illustrator of the forthcoming activity book Give This Book a Cover and the forthcoming Hunger Heroes graphic novel series (all published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin). He cofounded and helps run the MG Book Village, an online hub for all things Middle Grade, and is the co-organizer of the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects. He can be found at jarrettlerner.com and on Twitter and Instragram at @Jarrett_Lerner. He lives with his family in Medford, Massachusetts.

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