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For this month’s book report I read a book called ‘Emer’s Ghost’ by Catherine Sefton. This book was about a girl named Emer who lives in Northern Ireland. She knows a man named Mr.Bannon who has a hidey-hole where he keeps things, and it is a very secret place. Emer finds a wooden doll that is old and worn, and noticed that there was something strange about the doll when she picked it up. That night when she went to sleep, she awoke only to find a ghost of a young girl. Emer was frightened but she wanted to help the girl. The girl disappeared and when Emer tried to tell her sister, Breige, she only laughed and made fun of Emer. The same thing happened a few days later. Emer’s other sister, Kathleen, wanted to go to the fortune teller, so Emer went along with her. When they arrived the fortune teller first told Kathleen’s future. Then when she got to tell Emer’s, all the fortune teller did was to look into Emer’s eyes for a very long time. Then the fortune teller gave Emer a drawing and asked her if it looked familiar. At this time Emer had never seen it before, so the fortune teller told her to keep it. Later on in the book, Emer sees the drawing on the window and wonders what it means. Kathleen’s friend was digging around a church that had been burned down a long time ago by the Vikings when they were looking for a chalice. Finally Emer sees the ghost again and sees the drawing. She finally knew what the drawing meant; it was a map of the hidey-hole! Emer and Breige go into the hidey hole and discover that the wall was where the roof of the hidey-hole had caved in. Emer and Breige frantically dug through the stones and crawled through to the other side, and then the wall collapsed. Emer was choking and thought she was going to die, but she was able to crawl out of the hole. She then realized that Breige was still in there, so she went and dug Breige out, but Breige wasn’t breathing! Finally Breige started breathing and Emer found the chalice. All of the town was happy and the ghost never bothered Emer again.
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I thought this was a very good and interesting book. The writer somehow kept me interested in the book at all times and I couldn’t put the book down. The writer described things well, but she didn’t use difficult vocabulary so it was easy to understand. One example of the author describing something is when she was telling about the doll Emer found. She wrote, “It was a small figure, a doll, no size at all, with a face battered by time and rock.”
Although I cannot relate to much in this book, I can understand the feelings of Emer when she saw the ghost. I can also understand how she feels about school. Breige also torments Emer a lot and Emer finds it annoying. One example is when Breige kept imitating ghosts after Emer told her about the doll.
The setting for this book was Northern Ireland. The time period wasn’t mentioned, but it seemed to be pretty modern. Emer’s family lived in a part of Northern Ireland that was called ‘Bloody Headland’ because when the Vikings burned the church down a lot of people were killed. The setting made the book seem mysterious and dark. The author added to this feeling by making it snow in April.
There were a lot of characters in this book. The main character was Emer. Emer was a girl that didn’t pay attention during school. She was a very determined person, and she was very brave as well. One example of Emer being brave is when she met the ghost. Emer wasn’t afraid of the ghost, and only wanted to help it. Kathleen was Emer’s oldest sister and she was a high-school student. She was very strict but sometimes fun, like when she took Emer to the fortune teller’s home. Emer didn’t get along with Kathleen, because she was so much older than her, but she got along best with Breige. Breige was Emer’s other sister. Breige was annoying at times in the book. One exapmle of this is when Breige was making fun of Emer because Emer had seen a ghost and Briege didn’t believe it and only thought it was dumb. However, certain parts in the book showed that she was also very caring, such as when she was worried about Emer because Emer was looking very pale after she saw the ghost. Breige also showed that she really cared about her sister when they went into Mr.Bannon’s hidey-hole to try to find the other hidden chambers. Emer’s Mom was also in the book. She was not described well, but Emer thought of her as a good mother and is was also mentioned that she was always working late because the father was dead. I thought that when the mother did appear in the book she was very strict, but a little nicer than Kathleen. Mr.Bannon was an old man that everyone thought was crazy because he didn’t talk to adults that much, but Emer thought he was perfectly normal. Mr.Bannon also helped Emer out a lot. An example of that is when Emer’s chickens were sick. He told her to clean out the chicken coop and he took the sickest chickens away from the rest so that all the chickens wouldn’t get sick.
The main conflict in this book was Emer trying to figure things out about the ghost. I think this because Emer wanted to help the ghost,but she didn’t know what the ghost wanted. No one believed her except for Breige at the end of the book. This conflict was resolved when Emer discovered the meaning of the design that the fortune teller gave her, and she found the chalice.
I thought this was a very good book, because the author wrote it in such a way that it was difficult to put down. The author described things well, and I could picture the things in my mind. An example of this is when the author was describing the ghost. She wrote, “ She was grey against the white of the snow, almost colorless, and I could see right through her, to the wall of the back lane.” I could relate to some of Emer’s feelings, like being annoyed by her sister. I also like the setting of this book. I thought it was very appropriate for the story of the book, and it enhanced the mysterious feel of the book.
One weakness in the book was that it was a bit short, and it went too quickly. The author seemed to jump to the climax too quickly which reduced the possibility of extra excitement. Also, the author didn’t introduce the characters well enough. Sometimes she put characters in the book that had no effect on the story.
I also didn’t think it was necessary for Breige to get hurt in the book, because it seemed like the author was only putting it in there to fill up space in the book. Breige getting hurt had no effect on the plot at all, so it was pointless. I suppose that it did add a bit of excitement to the resolution, however.
One thing that I did like in the book was the fact that the ghost was a young girl, because it made more sense that Emer would want to help a young girl. If the ghost had been scary looking, I wouldn’t have understood why Emer would want to help it. Another thing that I liked was that they made Breige’s personality change from being an annoying, stuck- up sister to being caring, and helpful. It made Breige seem like she was nicer than how she was first described in the book.
Another thing that was nice about the book was the school. The school had a lot to do with the plot; the only reason Emer was looking for the chalice was because the Bishop was coming to their school and the nuns wanted to have it by the time that he arrived. It was nice that Emer found the chalice instead of the archaeologists, because it added a small twist to the story. The twist is that professionals were looking for the chalice and they couldn’t find it, but Emer thought about it carefully and discovered where it was.