Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Spotlight on Eva Ibbotson

The Great Ghost Rescue

Humphrey and his family of ghosts are in big trouble; their dingy home is being renovated into a movie theater. Forced to move, they travel Britain looking for a new home, but soon realize that dank castles and broken down homes are being turned into hotels, discos, and even motorways. As they search, they meet Rick, a sympathetic schoolboy who wants to help look for a home, not just for Humphrey and his family, but for all ghosts. He takes his case for a ghost sanctuary all the way to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister isn't sure he can help, but a lord says he knows the perfect place - an old remote and desolate estate off the coast of Scotland. Delighted, ghosts from all over come to the new sanctuary. But their happiness is short lived as they quickly learn that they have been lured into a trap. And the helpful lord in actuality wants to rid Britain of ghosts forever!

Not Just a Witch

Hectate Tenbury-Smith is a witch who wants to do good in the world. She has decided to turn all wicked people into animals. She befriends a boy named Daniel who helps Heckie turn a mean nursing home owner into a warthog and a cruel chicken farmer into a fish. But soon a cunning furrier named Lionel Knapsack learns of Heckie's amazing power. Realizing that Heckie's Lionel's ticket to creating rare coats, the rascal begins courting her, promising to marry her if only she'd rid their community of 300 terrible men by turning them into snow leopards. Now it's up to Daniel to save 300 prisoners from becoming snow leopard skin coats for the nefarious Lionel, and even more, to prevent Heckie from having a broken heart.


The Wilkinson family lost their lives in World War II and have just lost their beloved home. Miserably, they are forced to live in an underwear shop until their adopted daughter Addie discovers a strange building called Adopt-a-Ghost, an agency that pairs ghosts with families that want them. At the same time, a young orphan named Oliver has just learned that he is direct heir to Helton Hall, a dreadfully lonely and frightening place. What's worse, his cousins Fulton and Freida Snoddle-Brittle are determined to get the Hall for themselves. Fulton goes to Adopt-A-Ghost asking for the most frightening and ghoulish ghosts they have. The ladies at the agency know just the pair: a horrible couple known as the Shriekers who strangle children in their sleep. Poor Oliver doesn't stand a chance against this gruesome couple! Or perhaps the agency isn't as well organized as it seems.

Assessment: These books are sure to please kids looking for more magical fun. They are filled with magical beings and spells, but are very funny and enjoyable to read. Ibbotson does a wonderful job creating various threads of her story, then weaving them together in various, often funny, complications that tie up to satisfying resolutions in the end. What is also enjoyable is the way the author inserts social commentary into the stories; such as, even though prisoners have done wrong, is it right to turn them all into leopards or is it fair to judge people in death for what they had done in life? Ibbotson is a delight to read and I will certainly look out for her other titles.


Stacy Dillon said...

I LOVE Ibbotson's books! Always a winner with my students, and I enjoy them too! Make sure you check out "Star of Kazaan".

Editor said...

I will be sure to do so. Thanks!