The Spookoscope (Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble) by Ceci Jenkinson
|The Spookoscope (Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble) by Ceci Jenkinson|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Gina Garnett|
|Summary: Hilarious and wacky. It's a masterfully executed saga of silliness.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 176||Date: July 2009|
|Publisher: Faber Children's Books|
The Spookoscope is one of three books starring Oli Biggles and Skipjack Haynes, two rugby obsessed boys who seem to attract trouble. In this instalment, the boys use Skipjack's brother Matt's ghost detector (the titular Spookoscope) to try to prove the existence of life beyond death (specifically ghosts) in order to win a bet with Oli's sister Tara. By doing this, they happen to help the owners of Spiffing Castle, Lord and Lady Spiffing, find the treasure hidden in the castle along the way.
Ceci Jenkinson is determinedly writing for the 7-12 year old market, and doing so awesomely. The plot is simple and quick to start, perfect for the attention span of that age group (which I will gladly admit to having), and packed full of the silliness which they adore (I'll admit to falling into that category, too!). Quick to start, though, doesn't mean that it peaks too soon. The pace keeps up, and there's never a point where it drops energy or lets your interest wonder.
While original, the main characters are completely relatable; rugby obsessed, pizza munching school boys. Though more relatable for boys, obviously, it is definitely not to say that girls won't enjoy it or be just as engaged. The supporting cast are all recognisable (I laughed my socks off at the accuracy of Skipjack's university student brother who keeps changing his course without telling his parents), with sharp, funny dialogue across the board.
The resolution is logical in a totally absurd way, well executed and worthy of the time and enjoyment you've invested in the rest of the book - which is no hardship! It left me giggling every time I thought of it for some while afterwards (which did get me some odd looks on the train), and while I am considerably older than the intended audience (although definitely not the most mature 21 year old on the planet), I genuinely believe that children of the intended age range will find it as funny as I did, probably funnier.
Having said that, there were little jokes that delighted me that would probably fly straight over the head of a nine year old. This gains the book that all important fifth star out of five because it makes The Spookoscope not only perfect and thoroughly enjoyable for children, but for any parent or teacher who may be required to read it aloud. I am honestly hard pressed to think of anyone in my acquaintance of any age who would not find this book funny and engaging.
If I haven't already made it abundantly clear, The Spookoscope gets a very enthusiastic two thumbs up and a vehement recommendation. Any slip ups are washed away in the tide of silly fun and forgotten before you reach the end of the page. Ghosts have never been more entertaining, or more guaranteed to leave children nightmare free and laughing loudly.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you also need to read Gnomes are Forever.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Spookoscope (Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble) by Ceci Jenkinson at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Spookoscope (Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble) by Ceci Jenkinson at Amazon.com.
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