As it is nearly Halloween I thought I'd bring you a week-end of ghoulish posts and thought this a perfect start.
THE BEASTS OF CLAWSTONE CASTLE by EVA IBBOTSON.
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.