Monday, July 18, 2016

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: THE PECULIAR HAUNTING OF THELMA BEE by Erin Petti

THE PECULIAR HAUNTING OF THELMA BEE by Erin Petti (Mighty Media Press, September 6, 2016)

What It's About:
Eleven-year-old budding scientist Thelma Bee has adventure in her blood. But she gets more than she bargained for when a ghost kidnaps her father. Now her only clues are a strange jewelry box and the word “Return,” whispered to her by the ghost. It’s up to Thelma to get her dad back, and it might be more dangerous than she thought—there’s someone wielding dark magic, and they’re coming after her next.

Opening Lines:
"Thelma Bee dragged still sleepy fingers through her bangs as she marched into the backyard. October was serving up another perfect day--chilly air, crispy leaves, and early sun."

Why I Liked It:
Wow! This is right up there with the spookiest books I've read. There were some truly terrifying scenes--and if my hair was being raised, goodness knows what was happening to the 11-year-old readers'. First off, Thelma's dad disappears into an old jewelry box. Thelma herself gets sucked into the box, and meets an imprisoned ancestor who reveals to her just what is going on. Then, while searching for her dad, the car she and her friends are riding in is attacked by a bull. One of the friends falls into a raging torrent, and the villain has spectacular magic powers, like being able to suspend people in mid-air. His hideous sidekick is a shapeshifter. There are thrills and chills aplenty so... Hang onto your hats!

Thelma is a great creation: a scientist whom we first see trying to grow a Mexican orchid (her experiments are described with a lot of humor: "Steadfast for days, Thelma had eaten only Mexican food, spoken only Spanish, and even played mariachi music around the plant.") Thelma's best friend, Alexander, is a polyglot and there are other delightful supporting characters who make up the Riverfish Valley Paranormal Society (RVPS). They're the source of much of the humor, which leavens the truly terrifying moments. If you like spooky stuff--interspersed with some great laughs-- this is a book for you!

About the Author:
Erin Petti lives by the ocean in Massachusetts with her husband and toddler. She loves to read about magic, dinosaurs, folklore, and ghosts. Erin has a masters in education and a background in improvisational comedy at ImprovBoston.

P.S. This is a great interactive idea. Readers can choose the cover for the book. Vote at and enter to win a Thelma Bee gift box with a signed book,
stickers, buttons, a Thelma Bee journal, and more! The deadline is August the 1st!


  1. Sounds perfect for this year's Halloween season. I'll be looking for it! Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Wow! If this book scared YOU, I'm not sure it's my cup of tea. There are plenty of kids out there who love scary stuff, though. What a great idea, to let kids choose the cover! Wonder why no other publisher ever thought of that (or have they?).

  3. Wow! It must be scary if you include it in your top list. Love that the main character has a science inteerest.

  4. I know some people who love to be scared, but I'm not one of them. Thanks for telling me about this. I know some kids who will love it.

  5. I like that the protagonist is a female scientists. It sounds like an interesting premise for a book. Nice review.

  6. I love spooky books to read aloud with my nieces. This is perfect.


Youse got something to say? Well, say it then. (The Don and I will shoot you... a personal reply, that is. But if we can't find your e-mail, we'll just reply in the comment box.)