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Cover image for The funeral director's son
The funeral director's son
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, ©2008.
Physical Description:
134 pages ; 18 cm
The last thing twelve-year-old Christopher "Kip" Campbell wants is to take over the funeral business that has been in his family for generations, but he is the only Campbell heir and seems to have a calling to help the dead and their survivors in a most unusual way.


Call Number
J Paratore, C.

On Order



This family business is for life... In the small town of Clover, when you die, you are put to rest by Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. Unfortunately twelve-year-old Kip Campbell happens to be the only "son" in that title. And that's a problem for him since the funeral home business is the last thing he wants to inherit, even if he has a "gift" for it. See, it just so happens that Kip can talk to the dead. Well, they talk to him, really. They tell him what they need in order to move on to the great beyond. Kip wants to move too. Straight out of Clover. He's about to give notice -- he's done helping the dead -- when he's offered a surprising deal: Find out the secret that is holding back old Billy Blye, and Kip will receive his weight in gold. That would be enough to take him far away from Clover, and Campbell and Sons Funeral Home.

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Kip, 12, is unhappy with the prospect of one day running the family business, Campbell and Sons Funeral Home, and longs to escape his small New England town and explore the world. However, he has a unique ability that should make him a natural in the profession: he can hear the voices of the newly dead that have not yet passed on to "the good" and help them resolve the issues that are keeping them anchored to this world. Eager to go to summer camp with his three buddies, Kip needs to raise money for the fee. When a grouchy fisherman suddenly dies, the voice tells Kip that he can earn his weight in gold if he helps the departed man pass on. The story's action speeds by quickly and events are not smoothly linked together. Many plot and character details are introduced but not fully developed, and Kip hops breathlessly from one place to another. The writing attempts to be humorous and philosophical, but ends up more confusing than enjoyable. Chapters open with quotes from Charles Dickens's works, but most young readers will be unfamiliar with these books and will miss the point of their presence. This rushed story never really gives readers a chance to settle in and get to know the characters.-Bethany A. Lafferty, Las Vegas-Clark County Library, NV (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Since 1875, Campbell and Sons Funeral Home has been taking care of the dead in the tiny, depressed town of Clover. Twelve-year-old Kip, Paratore's resourceful good-kid protagonist and the reluctant heir to the franchise, has an unusual talent: He helps the dead lighten their hearts so they can sail into the next world. But now Kip is ready to sail away himself and wants only to make enough money to attend summer camp with his three best friends. The plot tries to kick into gear when the interior voices that guide his talent offer Kip his weight in gold if he'll continue to help the dead for one more year. His first challenge is Billy Blye, a mean one-eyed lobsterman who has always terrified him. Getting Billy aloft requires ingenuity and teamwork, as Kip doesn't know the source of his heavy sorrow. Despite the action that follows as Kip struggles to unravel the mystery of Billy's distress, the story fails to engage, leaving the reader flat on the ground. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.