Reviewed by Jackie Marchant
This is a beautifully packaged book, with glossy purple edging and shiny silver bits all over the inside covers. It even has a free little book (written by a mouse) tucked into the end. All this you’d expect from an illustrator as acclaimed as Chris Riddell, but what I discovered with this book is that he’s a pretty good children’s writer as well.
Told with warmth and humour, this is the tale of Ada Goth, who lives in Ghastly-Gorm Hall with her grief-stricken father, who believes that children should be heard but not seen. As she hardly sees him, Ada has plenty of time to explore her rambling old home and pick up some interesting friends (and enemies) on the way.
This book is full of fantastic characters. As well as Lord Goth, who loves to gad about on his hobby horse, shooting gnomes with his blunderbuss (rendering him mad, bad and dangerous to gnomes) there’s Mrs Beat’Em the fearsome cook, plus a host of other servants, not to mention the ghosts, including the ghost mouse of the title. Then there Goth Hall itself, which is full of places to explore such as the Broken Wing, the Dear Deer Park and the Lake of Extremely Coy Carp, all delightfully illustrated with wit and humour.
This whole book is a delight – a worthy winner of the Costa children’s book award.
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