Royal Mail Elastic bands harm hedgehogs. If my British followers could sign the below petition I'd be really grateful.

Postards to hand to the postie and letterbox size stickers are also available by email from

29 Oct 2010


As it is nearly Halloween I thought I'd bring you a week-end of ghoulish posts and thought this a perfect start.


When Madlyn and Rollo are sent to ancient Clawstone Castle they fall in love with it - especially with the mysterious white creatures that roam the grounds. But the owners are practically penniless and the castle is crumbling away. A magnificent money-making plan is Clawstone's only hope.

Helped by a gang of hilarious ghosts - including a one-eyed skeleton, a sawn-in-half circus girl and a pair of dancing feet - the children turn Clawstone into a genuine haunted house! Soon the money is rolling in, but just as things start looking up a terrible fate befalls the beasts. Madlyn, Rollo and their phantom friends now face some very sinister enemies.
....... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: There are children whose best friends have two legs, and there are children whose best friends have four - or a thousand, or none at all.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Ranulf's rat was gagging badly: rodents are good on ships but motor transport doesn't agree with them.

Giving that it's nearly that time of year again - the time when things supposedly go bump in the night I thought that this would be a good book to read - scary enough to thrill junior readers but, fingers crossed, not scary enough to frighten a 42 year old with an overly active imagination.

After getting over my annoyance that the author mentioned feeding a hedgehog with milk (a big no-no) I really started to enjoy the book with all of it's twists and turns. Though to be honest I thought that some of the issues dealt with (the culling of animals after the supposed outbreak of an infectious disease to name but one) could perhaps prove a little too adult for young children.

However, I loved just about all the characters from Madlyn, a 'person who could always be cheered up by a serious bout of shopping' to the animal-mad Rollo and their three 'guardians' - one of whom was certainly not what he at first seemed but I'll say no more about that. My favourites though were the ghosts - all of whom had to apply for the job in Clawstone Castle - my favourite of all being 'the feet' with no body whose story was extremely sad.

A bit of a hit-and-miss story with some parts being very good and other parts, well, not so good and a bit lengthy. The Beasts Of Clawstone Castle, I'm sure will be liked by most junior readers for it's funny and pacy story.

Ex-library stock, this novel was purchased from our local library.


Nina said...

That cover is just fun. I really like the sound of it, the library probably won't have it, but still a great read for Halloween!

Christina Lee said...

Sounds like a fun read! I'm keeping a list of titles for when my little guy is of age!

Stranger said...

The brief outline is quite interesting. Should try to get it next time I visit library..

Kelly said...

This sounds like a really fun book! (despite the hedgehog fauxpas)

Dorte H said...

Clawstone Castle - nice touch. And a one-eyed skeleton must feel rather privileged :D

Ashlie Swainston said...

i would have never thought to look at this one. I love how motor-transports makes the rat sick haha. Irony is one of my favorite things in a story. I also loved the misunderstood penguin thing up top haha!

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

I linked to you today!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

It sounded very of those "acquired" taste type of books. Thanks for the review!

StarTraci said...

Yet another intriguing review! I always love to hear of a story through your perspective and I am truly interested in this one. My kiddos are still a little young but I have started a "list" for them of all the books that I want to read but saved to read with them.

Also, you never cease to amaze me with your knowledge -- I had no idea that a hedgehog should not be fed milk. I feel so much smarter now.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Arti said...

Looks good enough to be made into a movie...
Have a lovely weekend:)

Misha1989 said...

Thanks for the review! I used to be a fan of Eva Ibbotson when I was younger. I outgrew her books eventually.

dr.antony said...

Wow..Again ghosts and spirits!!
I never knew you were so fond of witches and ghosts there.

Marinela said...

This sounds fun book. Thank you for the review!

GMR said...

Uh oh...I think Madlyn and I have something in common with the shopping bit. O_O Sounds like an okay book for a quick read this Halloween season. Thanks for sharing!

naida said...

sounds like fun. I'm glad it wasnt too scary :)