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Ghost Cadet

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  439 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Twelve-year-old Benjy, in Virginia visiting the grandmother he has never met, meets the ghost of a Virginia Military Institute cadet who was killed in the Battle of New Market in 1864 and helps him recover his family's treasured gold watch.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published May 1st 1991)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Elementary or Middle School students
Shelves: our-favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shally Clark
Jul 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: june-july-2010
After learning about Civil War history from his teacher, Benji is visited by a ghost named Cadet Willima Hugh McDowell. Thie encountering happens because before the cadet's death, he lost an old family watch at which he needs in order to be able to stop haunting the battle field where he died. The cadet was originally killed at the battle of New Market over one hundred years prior which makes it even harder for Benji to help his new friend. Benji has not been depended on for anything and he is s ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
My biggest issue with this children's story was that interspersed was a large amount of pro-Southern viewpoints that are often espoused by apologists. Miss Leota, the matriarch of the story, talked about topics such as the aggression of the North, the greatness of Southern leader Stonewall Jackson, and how Southerners were in the war mainly to defend their homes and possessions. This may all be true to an extent, but the story does not talk about other pressing issues, such as the brutality of s ...more
Probably would have liked this pretty well as a young person. It has a decent enough mystery with a satisfying conclusion. But reading it as an adult, I was uncomfortable with how Alphin seems to be an apologist for the South during the Civil War. I'm not a Civil War expert, but here's my basic understanding: the South wanted to break off from the Union because they didn't want anyone meddling with their "property," aka slaves. I mean, that's the long and short of it, right? You can throw in all ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Odd but great.
Sarah Bierle
Read this book to be familiar with the fiction that's been written about the Battle of New Market.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it

Picture soldiers marching in with large guns or in this case, muskets. Would you want to be there? What would you do? How will you try to survive? Well at least, you have nothing keeping you there. Benji who is the main character in the historical fiction book, Ghost Cadet, was lead into a repetition of the battle of New Market searching for a friend. Benji comes to his conclusion by deciding to help his friend Hugh and make a ghostly friend.
Hugh is a soldier who died. Hugh is “friends”(i put
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was a typical 5th grade chapter book. It is a book on grade level, that several of my students have read. I enjoyed reading this book. It was about the civil war, but spoke about it in a fun way that sort of hid the content within the summary of the book. The book began by explaining the way the family was, there was a little boy and his older sister who used to get along but now that she was older they just fought all of the time. I think a lot of students could initially relate to th ...more
Sep 03, 2009 rated it liked it
This is the second book I have read by Elaine Alphin that involves a young boy, a ghost, and a mystery to solve from the civil war. Why would an author write two such similar stories? This was her first book. Young Benjy is more amenable to being involved in solving a problem for a ghost than the subject of the other Alphin novel. Benjy needs a friend and is ready at this time in his life to reach out and do things that require effort and bravery. The second book covers more historical informati ...more
Andi Masdon
Still one of my favorite books from my youth. Ms. Alphin does a fabulous job of tying historical fact in with fiction to make her story feel real. She brought the Civil War and Battle of New Market to life on the pages. Her characters, young Benjamin and the title character (the ghost cadet McDowell) are very tangible - you sense, as you're reading, that you're right there with them searching frantically for the prized pocket watch that has kept the ghost bound to roaming the earth. Her story li ...more
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am in complete astonished how well written this book was considering it geared towards young teens! I am in my late 20's already and wished that I read more of her books when I was in my teens. This book is about a young outcast boy, Benjy, being forced to visit his grandmother not knowing that he is in for a crazy ride. Along his visit, he learns so much about the Civil War battle of New Market which brings him about his ghost friend, Hugh. From there, Benjy is on a quest to find a missing wa ...more
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
A wonderful historical fiction story for fourth or fifth graders. It is about a young boy named Benjy who visits his grandmother in Virginia. He meets the ghost of a Virginia Military Institute cadet who was killed in the Battle of New Market in 1864 and helps him recover his family's treasured gold watch.

Activity- Field trip to New Market Battlefield where you can see the name of the fallen cadet that the story was written about.
Readers Theatre for one of the last chapters in the book where t
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One day benjy went on a trip to see a family member and he saw a tree shaking and it was not windy and nobody was there so Benjy went to the tree and he said is anyone there no one answerd him so he went home when he was getting ready for bed he heard someone singing so he looked out of his window and no one was there so he wen t to sleep.When he woke up he ate breakfeast and went to the same tree and it was not shaking anymore so
Jalen Flores
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Ghost Cadet is a tale that's told well enough to make readers want to read it again. It's about a boy named Benjy who discovers a ghost killed in battle while serving his country. The two become very close in the story about friendship and loyalty. When telling "buddy" stories, we can't always have the friends getting along. If they, especially if they see each other every day, the story stops being believable.
Mazzou B
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Picked this book of for free and whizzed through it to see if it was an amazing find despite the obvious ghostly tone. Apart from the fact that (yet again) the Mom is divorced and with another guy this book had an interesting storyline/plot. Also, the author did a good job presenting the main character- Benjy- who as a 12-year old with no father has emotional issues and is trying to get over them. The grandmother is a wholesome, loving character in the story as well.
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is probably THE reason why I love historical fiction as much as I do. It is one of the only books I have read more than once, and I would pick it up again as an adult in an instant. It just started my interest in all things history and got me addicted to buying bargain books with my money as a child!
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Spencer by: My teacher
This is one of the best books I have ever read. In fact, you could just say that. This book sucked me inside and I couldn't stop reading.
Anybody that is reading this I recommend you read it. I promise you that you will like every word in this book and that you will not regret reading this book. YOU HEAR ME!?!! READ THIS AMAZING BOOK!!!!!!!!!!
Liz Gibbs
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Benjy is a lovable, young boy who has been shipped on a vacation to an unknown grandmother with his bratty older sister. While there, Benjy meets a boy ghost, Cadet McDowell, on the New Market battlefield with a mystery to be unraveled. I was surprised by how much I learned about the Civil War through reading this book. I highly recommend it!
Jennifer Ramirez
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked reading this book because it's scary, but not that scary. I liked how a young boy that was going to spend his vacation with his grandmother ends up becoming friends with a ghost and helping him find what he's been seeking for.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, I just finished this today! I can say it a perfect book for kids that are interested in ghosts and at the same time history. This historical fiction can teach you and entertain you. I definitely recommend this to any kids who LOVE spooky things.
Sep 09, 2010 marked it as to-read
i read this book in like 5th grade i think this book is amazing i love how everything he was trying to say turned out to be exactly true that is why that booko has to be one my favorite books i would read this book again if i had the chance
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! I read it in my 5th grade english class and it has stuck with me! I think I loved it so much, because the setting of the book is in New Market, Va. Which is about 20 mins from my house! :)
Mary Bronson
I first read this book in the 5th grade and it was such a great book. The characters and plot were both very well written. This book was read after "Shades of Gray". This is the other book that got me into reading historical fiction and started the spark for loving history.
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kids, Parents
Recommended to Aaron by: School Library
This was one of my favorite books as a kid. Unfortunately it's going out of copyright and out of publication but I have a copy now. I couldn't stop reading this book as a kid. I still enjoy it as an adult.
Aug 29, 2008 added it
101st Airborn
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
its so good i read it twice
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
cute book! I really enjoyed it.
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoy the hometown references!
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
My 4th grade teacher read this to us during class...I could never remember the title (since it was forever ago, lol) so I'm glad to have found it!
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I was born on 30 October 1955 in San Francisco, California, and attended Lafayette Elementary School in San Francisco. Then my family moved to New York City, where I attended William H. Carr Junior High School. This is a school picture of me from my junior high school days. After that we moved to Houston, and I went to Westchester High School and on to Rice University.
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