Friday, May 4, 2012

Ghosts Away

Ghosts Away (Ghost School #2)
S. Purkiss, illustrated by Lynne Chapman
Stone Arch, 2005
$22.60, LB
February 25th, 2012

Genre: Humor, Horror
Age: 7+
Description: Spooker and his other ghost friends, Goof and Holly, are hand picked by their new teacher to head to a haunted castle in Scotland and film a How-to-Haunt video. Unfortunately, the castle is full of humans preparing for a big celebrity wedding and the new teacher turns out to be Sir Rupert in disguise—Spooker’s old nemesis. It’s up to Spooker and his friends to determine if the tales of a curse in the castle are true or if something else is responsible for the string of hauntings.
Opinion: I’ve read a lot of Stone Arch books (probably because my own children’s librarian only does collection development from two vendors of which both supply very little in the way of fiction publishers so Stone Arch is overly represented in our children’s collection, but I digress) this year and these were the ones I probably enjoyed the best. Most Stone Arch books are eye catching with their covers but once one reads them one is left pretty disappointed as most of the stories aren’t really well-written. I also don’t like Stone Arch’s idea of genre labeling (this series is labeled “fantasy” which it is not) which most of the time is completely off base. I think one reason why this series worked better is because they were originally published in the United Kingdom—not by Stone Arch—so they don’t follow the usual format for a Stone Arch book. This series is actually longer (100+ pages) so the reader feels more invested in the story and doesn’t feel rushed through nothing but non-stop action. This series is a humorous take on ghosts having to learn the art of haunting and I’d recommend giving it to kids and tweens who like spooky stories but aren’t ready for really scary ones quite yet.

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