fiction and other writing

I don’t usually review children’s books but I’m going to make an exception for this book of ghost stories. I first read it to children when I was teaching. The class were nine to eleven year olds and without exception sat enthralled. I would be wary of reading this to younger children, because in spite of it being intended for children several of the stories do not have a happy ending. Some are quite haunting (forgive the pun).

My copy of the book went missing from the classroom. I was disappointed because I thought I might read it again sometime, but if a child ‘borrowed’ it, then that can only mean that more reading followed, which must be a good thing. Browsing on Amazon the other day for a completely different book, this one was advertised for one penny plus postage and so I treated myself. (As far as I can tell you can’t buy it new anymore.)

There are forty-two stories in total and some are better written and more exciting than others. The stories are short, easy to read and enjoyable. My favourite one was, ‘The Ghostly Gardeners’ by Ruth Cameron. I even remember it from reading it years earlier. A young boy finds a secret door in a wall. I won’t tell you what happens next as I don’t want to spoil your reading.

Most of the protagonists are children and this helps children identify with the main character. Mary Danby, who edited the book, chose the tales well, as they are varied, which is quite an achievement with over forty stories.

I would highly recommend this book for young people and although I’m not young, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a book of quick reads, entertaining, scary, but not too scary. It would be great for reading round a camp fire.

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