Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
Scholastic, 2012. ISBN 9781407132280.
Recommended 8-12years. Henry Winkler (yes The Fonz from Happy Days!) and Lin Oliver have collaborated on the Hank Zipzer series since 2003. This book begins a new series starring eleven year old Billy Broccoli.
Billy has just gained a new stepfather, stepsister Breeze, and moved into an old house in a new neighbourhood. He is reluctantly about to start at Moorepark Middle School where his Mother is Head Teacher.
After a less than welcoming meeting with neighbour Rod Brownstone, the last thing Billy expects to find in his pink bedroom is a ghost coming from his wardrobe wearing his baseball top and smelling of oranges. Enter Hoover Porterhouse the Third, aka 'The Hoove', a 14 year old boy who for ninety nine years has been haunting the property and is invisible to all but Billy.
The Hoove helps a far from confident Billy navigate his issues around starting in a new school and making friends and together they manage to handle the bullying of neighbour Rod, with more sensitivity than Hoove had planned.
Readers will relate to Billy's struggle to be accepted by his peers and enjoy the humorous situations and witty dialogue as Hoove does his best to help Billy become cool. There are echoes of The Fonz in the voice of Hoove, not that the targeted audience will recognise it.
With a sneek peek chapter of the next Ghost Buddy book included to whet the appetite, Billy and The Hoove are destined to become popular characters as we see if Hoove can achieve a passing grade in Helping Others.