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*Araminta Spookie 1: My Haunted House* by Angie Sage, illustrated by Jimmy Pickering - tweens/young readers book review

Also by Angie Sage:

Araminta Spookie 2: The Sword in the Grotto

Septimus Heap, Book 1: Magyk

Septimus Heap, Book 2: Flyte

Septimus Heap, Book 3: Physik


Araminta Spookie 1: My Haunted House
by Angie Sage, illustrated by Jimmy Pickering
Ages 7-12 144 pages Katherine Tegen Books July 2006 Hardcover    

Envision a child’s idea of a fun haunted house to live in: now you have Araminta’s house. Inside Spookie House, a key slips into Araminta’s hand. With this key, she hopes to locate and enter the secret balconey because from here, she can unleash her Awful Ambush on the unsuspecting potential house buyers below. Will bats, Jell-O and spiders be enough to scare them away? Araminta doesn’t want to leave Spookie House; there are ghosts to find!

This is not a haunted house children would be frightened to sleep in - it’s one they would want to explore, as Araminta does. Araminta lives with her Uncle Drac (and his bats) and her aunt Tabby (and her antics with the boiler). Araminta is lucky enough to have a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday bedroom. Her only chore seems to be putting Sir Horace’s clunky body together again.

The enemies in this book are the ones who respond to Aunt Tabby’s “House For Sale” signs. They get the Fiendish Stare from Araminta, and they experience some of her tricky tactics. The one family who won’t be scared off eventually bonds with the Spookie family. They bond over bats, the boiler, and a blue juice session.

I love Jimmy Pickering’s way with a pencil in this book and found myself anticipating the pictures. I really wanted to see Edmund as I turned the page, and much later on, I wanted to see that frog again. But he only appears once, and that near the end. The drooping cobwebs, the crumbling walls, and the melted candles draw you into the story of the Spookie household.

There is such powerful fun in this author’s work. Angie Sage, who wrote the Septimus Heap series, has shown spooky houses are really fun and intriguing places to visit; places waiting to be explored and shared with friends - just like this book is meant to be, too.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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