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The Ghosts of Follonsbee's Folly by Florence…
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The Ghosts of Follonsbee's Folly

by Florence Hightower

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From inside cover:

The Stackpole family, with Angela towering in their midst like a major peak among foothills, gazed mutely at the new house. They were waiting for her judgment. Ever since Mrs. Angela Gittons from Barbados had come to work for them some years before, the no-nonsense authority in her voice had ruled the placid but sometimes erratic Stackpole household. Fortunately for eleven-year-old Tom and his sister Elsie, she accepted the eccentricities of the hundred-year-old American Gothic mansion. Otherwise they might never have unearthed the fascinating history of Follonsbee's Folly or become acquainted with Tom's new friend Joe, the mysterious vagabond with whom he spent many idyllic days on the nearby river....Black and white line drawings by Ati Forberg represent a highly individualized American family and the reader a true feeling for the Thoreau-like New England countryside. -----

I was disappointed at first to discover that this isn't a supernatural tale involving ghosts. But it's such a well-written tale filled with unforgettable characters, humor, fun, drama, history, and some fine mystery elements, I soon forgot all about ghosts in my general enjoyment of it. This is a great book to read aloud or enjoy at any age. The only problem for our own times is its use of the word "negro," but considering the 1958 copyright date, there are very few stereotypes, and the strongest characters are Anglea, from Barbados and Joe, a capable, kind, and knowledgeable African American WW2 GI with amnesia, who works with Tom to repair a boat and teaches him all about the area's wildlife and how to survive outdoors and have a great time doing it.

This book needs to be back in print with only a few things edited out. I'm undecided about the illustrations--other readers will come to their own conclusions. They're as unforgettable as the characters and convey Amanda's strength of character and physical power...but some people might be offended by them; I'm honestly not sure.

The Ghost of Follonsbee's Folly makes me think of Elizabeth Enright's and Eleanor Estes' books. ( )
1 vote Sasha_Doll | Aug 12, 2007 |
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Book description
The Stackpole family uncovers two mysteries in their old mansion which once served as a station for the underground railroad.
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