3 out of 4 stars
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When we were children, we could see a few houses lying abandoned with an eerie and haunted appearance. We had the unique ability to imagine ghostly figures wandering in and around such places. They stimulated our older siblings and friends in their teens to tell us the most creative stories on why the spirits of some dead people continued to dwell in these buildings. Children of my generation would scream and experience nightmares after hearing about a ghost. Sometimes, the eyes of cats glowing in the dark were enough to frighten us. It is not so with today’s kids. A good number of them seem to enjoy horror movies, video games and Halloween nights of fun and thrill.
Chuckaboo Billy is about something similar that happens during the latter half of the nineteenth century, in the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee. Authored by Seldon V. Johnson, Jr., it is a very engaging story written in 118 pages. William Hawkins is a kindhearted businessman who has a beautiful wife and two children. He meets with sudden death on Christmas Eve. The story then shifts its focus to a doll that has a history of being thrown away, landing in attics, warehouses, and the showcases of antique stores and homes for almost a century.
The doll finally captures the attention of a little girl called Skylar who names it Chuckaboo Billy because he is her new best friend. The doll looks very creepy, but the little girl enjoys talking to him. Billy seems to enjoy being with her too. He goes to school with Skylar for a costume party on Halloween. One night, some burglars break into their home, and they are so scared of the spooky doll that they run out of the door and actually beg “for the police to take them in.”
What happens on Christmas Eve? Why is Skylar so close to Billy? Why were the thieves so alarmed? The story is full of wonderful characters and mixed emotions. There is a parallelism between the stories of two generations. The truth about Billy is finally revealed and brings tears to the eyes of all the characters. Are they tears of joy or sorrow? I don’t wish to spoil the story by giving out the details. One must read the book to enjoy it.
Chuckaboo Billy is written in simple words, and it is suitable for children as well as adults who love children. I am pleased to rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I had to take away one star because I found several grammatical errors which made me pause while reading. Overall, I enjoyed reading the story. The only scene I did not like was when Billy was lying alone in the attic of one home because the kids of that generation found him too scary. My favorite part comes at the end, and I won’t reveal it! The children of this generation will love to read the book.
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