Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review - The Whispering Lake Ghosts: A Mystery About Sound


The Whispering Lake Ghosts: A Mystery About Sound

By: Lynda Beauregard
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1467707343
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 16, 2013

Lightning bolts lit up the sky as rain poured down around Camp Dakota. Jordan was ready to head out to eat, but Braelin hid under the bed. No way he was going to venture out in that storm. Jordan tried to reassure him that it would be fine because the lighting wasn’t close. He thought about it and said, “I think there’s a way you can tell, by counting the seconds between the flash and the sound.” Kyle, a camp counselor, came to hustle them off to the camp cafeteria and then gave them the formula for figuring out just how far away that lightning was. By using his calculations there wouldn’t be a problem. Once everyone worked through them they knew the storm was more than a mile away. The sound of thunder really got to Braelin, but the sound of something else was getting to some of the other campers. It was the Lake Ghosts.

Everyone started to debate whether or not the ghosts were “real,” but no doubt there was something strange going on down by the water. It was time to wrap up their dinner and Kyle got them off the subject of ghosts as he began instructing them. This time the campers would learn how to make a flute. Loraine wanted to know just how the flute worked. Kyle explained to her that “The air vibrates inside the flute, which makes a sound covering the holes where vibrating air comes out.” After they made their flutes the campers headed out to sit by a log near the lake to practice. There was a lot of noise from the flutes, but suddenly a strange sound began to come from the lake. “Mmrmur mmrmur.” It had to be the Lake Ghosts, but if they were real, how would the Camp Dakota campers find them?

This is a fascinating mystery that will intrigue young science detectives. Told in a graphic novel format, this science mystery will appeal to a wide range of readers, including the reluctant one. The science lessons introduce various concepts of sound and how they work. The mystery is fun and the science is woven into it, but doesn’t overwhelm the story. There are numerous informative sidebars scattered throughout the book that explain what happens. For example, we learn that “Sound travels faster in fluids and solids than it does in gases.” Undoubtedly, most youngsters who read this mystery are going to want to try one or both experiments in the back of the book. There are step-by-step instructions on how to make a sound cannon or a telephone. There is also a list of “Mysterious Words” and some additional tips that might have helped solve the mystery of “The Whispering Lake Ghosts.”

Quill says: If you have young science detectives in your classroom, the "Summer Camp Science Mysteries" series is one you should be looking at!