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Dial a Ghost - Eva Ibbotson

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Author: Eva Ibbotson / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 12 October 2001 / Genre: Children's Horror & Ghost Stories / Publisher: Pan Macmillan / Title: Dial a Ghost / ISBN 13: 9780330398268 / ISBN 10: 0330398268

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      09.09.2008 18:10
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      A brilliant ghost story for children

      Dial A Ghost is a story for children written by Eva Ibbotson. It was first published in 1996 but is readily available now from all good bookshops and online.

      The book is a story about ghosts but not one in which the ghosts are terrifying and dreadful but in which the ghosts are friendly and have feelings the same as you and me.

      Fulton Snodde-Brittle is an evil man and when his nephew Oliver inherits the family mansion Helton Hall he is one unhappy man and hatches a plan to seize the hall for himself. His plan is to hire some seriously terrifying ghosts to scare his young nephew Oliver to death and so he goes along to the Dial A Ghost agency with only his evil plan in mind. Fulton believes his plan to be foolproof, the agency never make mistakes. That is until now....

      A mix up at the agency sends the shrieker ghosts he hires to a convent and sends Oliver a peculiar pleasant group of ghosts instead. And to make matters worse Fulton hadn't figured into his plan the fact that Oliver actually likes ghosts and especially the ones he meets at Helton Hall. The Dial-A-Ghosts immediately take a liking to Oliver and Oliver and so promptly decide to help him to play the wicked Snodde-Brittles and their own game with an aim of ultimately outwitting them.

      This story is extremely humorous as the series of events that follows the ghost's arrival unfolds. The comedy of errors is taken to the extreme and ranges from plan's being foiled to Ghost Busters being hired and everything in between. It is this however that makes the story so interesting to read, as something new is always happening or about to happen all the way throughout the novel.

      Furthermore the story is written in such a way as to make the topic of ghosts seem not at all frightening and most of all fun and entertaining. The characters of the ghosts are described brilliant in a way only Ibbotson could do and so really come to life in an exciting and inviting way that is bound to have children captivated in the novel.

      The book itself is broken down into manageable chapters ensuring that a child will not become bored by having to concentrate on the novel for extremely long periods of time. In this way the novel is great for reading at bedtime or whenever the child in question has five or ten minutes free, as it is perfect for dipping in and out off.

      The writing itself is not greatly complicated and in my opinion is suitable for children aged 8 and above. It is however too simple and so should easily satisfy without patronising children as old as 14. I myself at the age of 18 even enjoyed reading this a few nights ago as a bit of light reading although it did of course take me much less time to read than it would a child of younger age.

      All in all I can certainly recommend this book to everyone. It is a light and humorous book that turns what could be a scary subject into one filled with laughter and entertainment.


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