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Ghostbuster's Handbook 2016 Movie Book Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 12, 2016 at 4:58 PM , Categories: Books, The 2016 Parody Remake

June 14th saw the release of Ghostbuster's Handbook by Daphne Pendergrass, a children's book based on the new Ghostbusters movie. The 5"x7.5" paperback tome is printed with a medium-sized font on glossy paper stock (like the old Ghostbusters II Storybook from Scolastic) and is suitable for the 10-13 year old age range (my personal guess). While not as heavy on large-size text as Proud To Be A Ghostbuster and Who You Gonna Call?, there is still an ample amount of photographs, so it didn't take me very long to breeze through the 96 pages. Released by the Simon and Schuster imprint, Simon Spotlight, this book carries a list price of $6.99, but you can always find it a little cheaper at Amazon, where an eBook version is also available.


Over eight chapters (noted below), Ghostbuster's Handbook is written and formatted as the pocket-handbook of a new Ghostbusters recruit. The background of the pages look like yellow, lined notebook paper, and the text has many "hand-written" corrections. There are a lot of photographs, though two of them are repeated.

1. How to Use This Guide
2. Important Ghostbusters and Their Contributions
3. A Brief History of Our Organization
4. Getting Down to Business: Ghostbusters Protocols
5. Procedures, and Precautions
6. Terminology
7. Famous Cases
8. Codes of Conduct and Perks


We start with biographies of the new crew, and a little bit of their backstory. In my reviews of other books and merchandise, I noted that, much to my chagrin, Sony prefers to never have Jillian Holtzmann referred to simply as "Jillian", even though they are fine calling everyone else by their first names only. (Kevin never gets a last name in the books.) Author Daphne Pendergrass actually addressed this by stating that "she prefers to be addressed as Holtzmann". Thank you, Pendergrass, for providing a official explanation for this quirk. I'll still call her Jillian.


The Handbook was written after the events of the movie, so it contains a lot of spoilers. For that reason, I can't be too detailed about the book's contents. There are brief write-ups on the company, the equipment, their techniques, and their terminology. The seven classifications of ghosts are explained, as are some of the ghosts the Ghostbusters encounter in the movie (and the places where they encounter them). For some reason, a photo of ghostly Flappers (people in 1920s attire) was used for Sparky, the subway ghost (on page 69). That, and the two repeated photos on pages 21 & 58 (stack of books) and 27 & 36 (chinese reataurant), are the only photo issues I found in the entire book.


You'll get a brief Final Test, and if you pass, you'll be awarded with a certificate deeming you an honorary Ghostbuster. Ghostbuster's Handbook reminded me, quite a lot, of The Official Ghostbusters Training Manual by Christopher Brown (PDF available on Spook Central's Ghostbusters Books page), released back in the 1980s as a tie-in for the original film. Both books are written from the perspective of an "employee handbook", and both include a certificate at the very end. However, this book is a vast improvement on that one in length, details, and style. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the new movie, no matter what their age.

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