Ghost Stadium by Tom Palmer

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Ghost Stadium by Tom Palmer

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: What should have been the best night of their summer holidays soon turns into a nightmare for three boys on an abandoned football pitch. Just the thing for children who like to be frightened. This is the type of book that makes boys want to read, as well as being specifically designed to make it easier to read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd.
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781122273

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I usually buy Barrington Stoke books for my son to read on his own. He loves the short but exciting stories, and the easy-to-read text. With this book though, the temptation to turn out the lights and read this out loud by torch light was simply too much to resist. It begins as a boy's own adventure. Three boys, Lucas, Irfan and Jack have come up with the perfect plan to start their summer holidays on a high note. Their local football club has been closed for years, but the boys have a scheme to get into the stadium one last time and spend a night camping on the pitch. My son immediately realised the football pitch would be the perfect place to camp out. It is difficult to get into, but once there, it would be like being in a wilderness. The high walls would block out everything, leaving the boys completely alone in the dark. There is only one problem. Places that are very difficult to get into can also be very difficult to get out of...

This is a short book, but the characters are very well written. You get a feel for the boys' personalities right away, and while they are getting up to a bit of mischief, they aren't bad children. They are careful not to break anything and I could easily see myself doing the same thing in their position. It starts off all fun and games, but a dampener is thrown on the boys spirits early on by the sight of a dark shape plummeting to the ground. Something that looks surprisingly like a man. But they won't let one event spoil their fun. They have food, a campfire, even some Darren Shan books - what more could they want? But after Lucas tells a story about the tragic death of footballer in the stadium just before it was closed for good the mood darkens again. The boys are frightened into their tent by the sight of the figure falling again and a horrible thumping sound coming closer and closer. But what protection does a bit of fabric offer? Fear begins to grow and there is no way out.

Sports fans will love Ghost Stadium, but this book is not just for those who love the beautiful game. You won't need to support your local club to understand the boys' attachment to their club, or to feel the fear build up, little by little until the children are at breaking point. There is more to this than a ghost story. There is a past wrong that must be set right, and a mystery to be solved. This also speaks volumes about friendship, loyalty and courage. The haunting isn't the only thing in this story that will require courage, doing the right thing afterwards may be even more difficult, but this is a story with a moral as well as plenty of action, adventure and just a bit of dark humour as well.

Ghost Stadium is part of Barrington Stoke's line of books written specifically for children with dyslexia. These books follow all of the guidelines of the British Dyslexia Association for dyslexia-friendly text. Working with a team of experts in the field, Barrington Stoke have developed their own font which is especially designed to make reading as easy as possible for children with dyslexia. They also print all of their books on a thick, off white, non-glare paper to minimise distractions which can make reading more difficult. The print is large and double spaced, with short chapters and short stories created to build confidence. The stories are commissioned by Barrington Stoke, usually from very well known authors, and are written to appeal to older children, with a high interest level but a low reading level. Barrington Stoke also has some of the best stories we have come across for older children. These are books you just can not put down. My own child does not suffer from dyslexia, but he has commented on how much easier it is to read the books with this style of print. The double spacing and frequent breaks mean he does not lose his place in the book, and makes reading a far more enjoyable experience. These books can literally be life changing for a child who is struggling to learn to read, but they make reading easier for all young children, whether they have disabilities or not.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy:

Brock by Anthony McGowan

Boys United (Football Academy) by Tom Palmer

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