Posted by: kidsbooksreviews | April 28, 2008

Wait Till Helen Comes, by Mary Downing Hahn

Mary Downing Hahn is a master at the scary story, and this is no exception.  Very reminiscent of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark‘s twisted folklore, Wait Till Helen Comes tells about a blended family that moves to an old church, complete with graveyard, and seven-year-old Heather’s fascination with one of the graves, marked only with initials and a date.  Heather is an expert an manipulating her father against her new step-siblings and step-mother, and when her new brother and sister try to defend themselves, Heather threatens to unleash Helen, the ghost of a girl killed in a fire over 100 years ago.

This book is a wonderful read aloud, with lots of foreshadowing and creepy atmosphere.  The book references Richard Adams’ Watership Down, and students who are advanced enough to have read it can expand their thinking by comparing the characters of both books.  It’s also a good look at the struggle newly blended families have getting along and acclimating to new living arrangements.



  1. wait till Helen comes is kind of a scary book it is about this house it caught on fire and Helen parents die in the fire Helen was near the swamp and filled in the swamp and drowned and die. i thank that 3-10 can read it.

  2. Wait Till Helen Comes was the first ghost story i ever read. From that day on i fell in love with Hahn’s stories. Even as an adult i still love her work and find joy in being able to share her stories with my own children who thanks to these stories have developed a love for reading.

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