The Haunted Serpent

By Dora M. Mitchell (Author)


Format Hardcover, Jacketed


The Haunted Serpent

by Dora M. Mitchell



Barnes and Noble Indiebound
“Fans of Dan Poblocki, John Bellairs, and R.L. Stine will all be right at home and smiling at the shivers (and the jokes).” –Kirkus

Welcome to Thedgeroot, where Spaulding Meriwether is on a quest to make friends, become cool . . .  and figure out why dead people are running around.

“You know how people always tell you ‘just be yourself?’ That’s terrible advice. You won’t survive middle school that way. Trust me.” 

Spaulding Meriwether, Thedgeroot Middle School's new resident weirdo and son of questionable television ghost hunters, just wants to fit in. But after a revenant chases him through the woods, Spaulding suspects there’s something afoot in Thedgeroot. (At least he thinks it’s a foot. Maybe it was a hand. It’s hard to tell when you’re running away.) Then he notices the chimneys of the abandoned factory at the edge of town puffing smoke—and his dead next-door neighbor materializes, along with David, the missing pet boa constrictor that supposedly ate him. Spaulding can’t help wondering if these strange happenings have anything to do with his undead friends in the forest. Of course, Spaulding just has to investigate—but he may be biting off more than he can chew . . . .

 Kids will love this hilariously creepy illustrated middle-grade novel!

“A spooky, high-interest adventure…”—School Library Journal
. . . engaging and goosebump inducing.” —Booklist
“Ghosts and zombies and boa constrictors, oh my! Spaulding Merriweather has moved around a lot with his great-aunt Gwendolyn. She used to home-school him between writing her bestselling mysteries, but now that they have moved to her girlhood hometown, Thedgeroot, he has started attending sixth grade at public school. Making friends is not his strong suit; he's a little odd, just like his parents, who have a specious paranormal-investigations television show that keeps them too busy to care for him. Complicating matters, he is pretty sure he saw a zombie—er, revenant—in the woods outside of town, and someone is stealing bodies from the local cemetery. Then he meets the ghost next door, Mr. Radzinsky, who was eaten by his own boa constrictor. Spaulding contacts his parents, but he has cried spook before; they won't come. He decides to go it alone and investigate the zombies and the not-so-abandoned Slecht-Tech factory nearby…well, not alone. There's fourth-grade neighbor Lucy Bellwood and her older sister, Marietta, and another classmate, Kenny Lin—and Mr. Radzinsky seems keen to help as well. Author/illustrator Mitchell's debut is spooky and sarcastic. Her occasional illustrations (purportedly culled from Spaulding's notebook, complete with funny captions) are an added bonus. They depict Spaulding as white and Lucy and Marietta as black; Kenny is cued as Asian. Fans of Dan Poblocki, John Bellairs, and R.L. Stine will all be right at home and smiling at the shivers (and the jokes).” —Kirkus Reviews

“Spaulding Meriwether is new to Thedgeroot, the town where his parents, television ghost-busters, have sent him to live with his great-aunt Gwen. Never one who fits in, Spaulding dreads beginning sixth grade, and, unsurprisingly, his new teachers and classmates waste no time in making fun of him. But something far more threatening is happening in Thedgeroot. Between the revenant in the woods and a run-in with his (dead) neighbor’s boa constrictor, Spaulding’s new home is getting creepier by the day. When he stumbles upon disturbing things in the vicinity of the old Slecht-Tech plant, he persuades two sisters to help him investigate. If the sisters harbored any doubts about Spaulding’s unusual claims, witnessing decomposing bodies rise from graves in the local cemetery convinces them that something weird is indeed happening. Together, the trio work to uncover several of the strange mysteries plaguing Thedgeroot. Mitchell’s well developed kid characters and excellent caricatures (both written and visual) of the evil adult despots make this paranormal read engaging and goosebump inducing.” —Booklist

Mitchell’s tale infuses mystery, horror, science fiction, and a tinge of humor to entice a wide variety of genre readers. The author’s strong description of the main character’s actions paired with comic-style illustrations, clipped from Spaulding’s research journal, stimulate empathy as well as curiosity. Readers will feel as though they are investigators alongside Spaulding as nonstop hints and clues are sprinkled throughout. . . . . A spooky, high-interest adventure for reluctant readers and fans of action-packed tales.” —School Library Journal


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Dora M. Mitchell is a writer, illustrator, and children’s librarian living in a small Northern California town that dates back to the Gold Rush. She writes surrounded by dark woods where the evidence of mining days can still be found hidden away among the trees—the inspiration for the setting of The Haunted Serpent. Her latest illustration work can be seen in The Boatman by Kat Hawthorne (BookFish Books, 2015). Visit her online at

Pub Date: 6/5/2018

ISBN: 9781454927853

Price: $14.95 / $19.95 CAN

Format: Hardcover, Jacketed

Pages: 240 pages, b-w illus. throughout

Trim: 5.125 x 7.625 Inches


Category: Juvenile / Middle Grade Fiction

Age Range: 8 to 12

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books