* Prices may differ from that shown
I have recently introduced my eight year old son to Humphrey Carpenter's 'Mr Majeika' series of stories - books I can remember from my own childhood.
Originally created in the 1980's, the books feature a friendly former wizard, Mr Majeika, who has turned his hand at teaching! Class Three at St Barty's Primary School know that magical adventures are never far behind with a wizard for a teacher and this particular story is no different.
Here, Class Three have been learning about the Romans and are planning a trip to Hadrian's Wall. Unfortunately, Mr Majeika's arch enemy, Wilhemina Warlock, is determined to get revenge on Class Three and has enlisted the help of a genie to ruin their school trip!
Obviously, the trip doesn't go as planned and the class end up spending the night at a Haunted Hotel! Don't worry though, there is nothing particularly scary about this story and nothing to give even the most sensitive of souls nightmares at bedtime. Indeed, this book is more silly than scary with this one being the only one so far to genuinely make me laugh out loud as I was reading!
All of the familar characters from previous books are here but, even though this is a series, I don't think there is any need to be concerned about reading them in chronological order. There are some references to events that have happened in previous stories but the concept and story is so simple that even a reader totally new to the Majeika series would be able to follow the story without any problems.
As well as the usual favourites, the 'Haunted Hotel' introduces a rather peculiar (and hilariously funny) police officer, PC Buttonbottom. I think he has to be my favourite character so far with fun lines and just general silliness.
...'There's a lot of children missing' said Jody.
'Aha' said PC Buttonbottom. 'What are they missing? Their shoes and socks? I missed a bus last week.'...
The attraction of the Majeika series is that the stories are very simple and easy to read but full of interesting characters and imaginative adventures. This makes them perfect for even the most reluctant young readers, as there are no complicated or confusing words to trip them up and the fun stories encourage them to want to continue reading. I read this one aloud to my son at bedtime but, as a confident reader, he would be more than capable of reading this independently without any problems.
I would recommend the Mr Majeika series, in general, for children from around six to ten years old and think this 'Haunted Hotel' story is one of the best and funniest from the series as a whole.
This paperback can currently be purchased from Amazon for under £5 or, for much better value, the entire set of 14 paperbacks can be picked up from the Book People for just £12.99. I would suggest buying the complete set as it is such a bargain.