The Ghosts Who Danced and other spooky stories by Saviour Pirotta and Paul Hess
|The Ghosts Who Danced: and other spooky stories by Saviour Pirotta and Paul Hess|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Ten vividly illustrated tales, of five pages each, that produce a brilliant 'my first ghost story' book – just be prepared for what happens in future when the endings aren't all as cheerful as herein…|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 64||Date: September 2015|
|Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Ghosts are all over the world, don't you know. I don't know of any as of yet but I dare say that people have fixed ghost stories to be set on Antarctica; they're certainly common on all the other continents. York has 500 spectres to itself allegedly, all corners of all civilisations claim to know of spirit world entities – and people even go as far as being so undignified they see them in Auschwitz. The lesson from this excellently put-together book is that ghosts are worldwide, and any one from just about anywhere can have a very interesting story to tell.
We start in a low-key fashion, however, with a tale of derring-do on a boat approaching America that seems to have more to do with pirates than our subject. It's only later-on that we see the ghost actually turn up. This certainly made me approach the book the wrong way – I was sure that from early evidence, such as that tale and the one that follows, where the unexplained provides help to a traveller in the Russian winter, that we might see ghosts, but we and our characters would not be haunted by them. How wrong I was.
Here is a young lad being dragged down into a grave by its own occupant, here is an African tree spirit seeking revenge in a 'yes we have no bananas' scenario, here is an entire Chinese ghost army. Rest assured however that all the stories on the whole end well – certainly safely, as the first tale again didn't convince me that everyone got out as they should. People who chance their luck sleeping rough, as they only do in folk tales, and people who disabuse the spirit world, either use their wits to win (as an Indian barber does here) or find out that just by a quirk of fate they did the right thing.
So in a way I pity the adult who buys this for a nearby youngster. The book is great, don't get me wrong – the variety of locales, types of spirit and different plots is exemplary – I just see a time when the young reader turns to an innocent ghost story somewhen in the future on the base of this and finds a less than happy story. Before then any purchase of this will provide the correct result – I didn't find much favour with the watercoloured artworks, and the writing style doesn't vary that much between the ten different tales here, but what you get has been put together in a sterling fashion – just witness the footnotes to the tales at the end, which reveal just how far back and how rarefied their sources have been. Tales from many decades before the audience reading them here were even thought of will provide a spooky haunting of their own across the ages. That is what I call a happy ending.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley should be first and foremost amongst what you do buy the young to scare them.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Ghosts Who Danced and other spooky stories by Saviour Pirotta and Paul Hess at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Ghosts Who Danced and other spooky stories by Saviour Pirotta and Paul Hess at Amazon.com.
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