How to Speak Spook(And Stay Alive) – Ally Kennen

howtospeakspook

Synopsis:

A hilarious new ghostly adventure story from the award-winning writer of BEAST and SPARKS. Donald can see, hear and chat with ghosts. So can his mum, but she isn’t very good at it (not that she knows that, so don’t tell her). She’s often called to help solve ghostly problems, like ridding the local supermarket of a ghoulish flip-flopping display of reanimated fish. Donald actually solves the problems himself by having a chat with the ghosts, but he pretends it was his mum, just to be nice. But now some sort of ancient monster ghost has turned up and seems like it wants to cause a lot of trouble. And this monster ghost doesn’t want to talk.

Summary:

An interesting book loaded with character and humour, a perfect introduction to the world of ghosts and ghouls.

My thoughts:

As a child, I grew up reading a lot of the Goosebumps books by R.L Stine so naturally How to Speak Spook(And Stay Alive) hit a childhood chord with me. Though not intensely scary, actually, not at all scary, the interesting premise of lots of ghosts just casually wandering through Donald’s life, on the walk to school, at his desk, in the bath, is intriguing enough by itself.

Donald our main character is very special. He can taste colours, smell sounds and see and talk to ghosts.

Most ghosts are friendly, and range from normal people like you and me, all the way to birds and worms. Donald sees and hears them all, his mother can too but Donald is a lot better at it and pretty much does his Mom’s job for her. He regularly visits his Dad even though their family has separated, and even though his Dad is dead.

His Mother regularly takes him out to ghostly disturbances and Donald usually solves the problem with a quick chat however, some ghosts can’t be spoken too.

There are a lot of interesting characters in this book, Donald’s Dad being one of them, there is also a ghost dog, a TV celebrity Palaeontologist and a witch named Estella. Each character is brilliantly thought out and even the ghosts have palpable back story and add an extra dose of weirdness to the mix. My favourite scene being when Donald and Merry(his best friend but not his girlfriend) are trapped in the crypt.

Even though Donald seems to find himself in awkward situations involving ghosts and the supernatural, he soon discovers that the most dangerous things of all are often regular people.

Estella is the leader of The Believers, a psychic and clairvoyant group that Donald’s mother is a part of. Estella has invited Donald and his family down to Dorset for what hopes to be the haunting of the century! She needs every able bodied psychic she can muster to help her banish the spirit once and for all. Though it is true that there is a very dangerous spirit roaming around wreaking havoc, Estella has a very different spirit in mind.

For a children’s book, this story is loaded with action and tense scenes, but it more than entertains and delivers for younger children. With seances and fainting and destruction and kidnapping and spells! Everything comes to a head in this short and snappy story. And with a rip roaring ending that somehow manages to mix a hurricane and a dinosaur together, you’re in for one hell of a ride!

Final thoughts:

Definitely a good book to start your children on the long and winding road to some of the best spooky story tellers out there, this funny and exciting story will be devoured in no time!

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars(3 for non-children people like me)
Buy: Yes.
Borrow: Yes
Further Reading Suggestions: 
Goosebumps Series - R. L. Stine
Lockwood and Co - Jonathan Stroud

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