Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Ghost Gang Review

New Children's Series of Books: Ghost Gang by James Parkin

James Parkin is a self-published children's author who has written a series of books for 8-12 year olds about the "Ghost Gang".  We were asked by the author to review the first book in the series.

The Ghost Gang are a group of friendly young ghosts who reside in the old abandoned West Tower at Claire Rock Primary.  During the day they float around, braintalk with each other and look out for any children who are unhappy.  At nighttime they can enter a child's dream and try to help them with any problems they have.

The "New Ghost" tells the story of Winston, a young boy who drowned following an argument with his family on a day out at the park.  On becoming a ghost, he wants to become the sixth member of the gang, but his quick temper and habit of calling others cruel names gets him into trouble.  Will he sort out his problems and be accepted by the others?

Both Kizzy and I read this book so we could give both an adult's and the target audience's perspective.  
Kizzy was actually slightly uncomfortable by the premise of the story.  At first she thought it was "a little bit distressing" having a story about dead children, however, she did like the idea of the ghost children helping other children with their problems in their dreams and enjoyed the book. Winston's story was actually quite heartbreaking and from the opening line "'It was about half past three on a Sunday afternoon when my life as a child ended and my life as a ghost began" you feel sympathy for the main character.  Death is not something generally written about so graphically in a children's book, so I think it may take a little getting used to. I couldn't help but  think about all the broken families left devastated by the death of the children who are now in the Ghost Gang.

The settings, situations, dialogue and characters are all really familiar and children will relate to them.  The only difference is that the children in the gang are dead.  They are like a Deceased Famous Five on a mission to help other kids with their day to day problems involving friendship and family.  There are some important life lessons within the pages of the book and the overall message of finding solutions to problems is a good one.  The use of the 'ghosts' in such familiar settings is an unusual twist.  I could almost imagine this as a CBBC series!

You can read a short story and purchase the first three books on Kindle and paperback over at the website


  1. I reviewed it too! My son and I loved the book. Glad you and your daughter enjoyed it :)

  2. I must confess I do not like reading or watching films about ghosts - it just freaks me out.
    However, this book probably handles the subject in a lighthearted manner otherwise
    it could be quite scary for a young child to read.

  3. Good
    morning lovely Wendy

    wanted to get in touch

    To tell
    you how fab you are

    that we like your blog so very much

    review of the book Ghost Gang

    us to get writing

    love to be like James Parkin

    But our
    poem’s nowhere near as exciting

    what we do know

    Is that
    whilst our poetry is tosh

    You probably
    know us better as

    folks behind the brand Bosch

    In your
    and Ian’s household

    You may
    own a Bosch appliance

    object of true beauty

    which you have reliance

    But if
    you look beyond the kitchen

    where Freddy plays outside

    We were
    probably the brand which enabled

    gardening skills to be applied

    when you drive to Northampton

    visit “grown-up” Joe

    fuel-injection system

    your car going with the flow

    And as
    Megan’s studied Management

    She may
    already be aware

    energy efficiency

    important everywhere

    it’s been a while since

    penned your “Hey Wendy!” song

    probably have a follow-on from Ella

    your musical legacy long

    the heat-pump that warms your happy home

    To the
    oven that helped Kizzy bake

    proud of our engineering prowess

    the products we make

    In the
    heart of Shropshire

    you’ve been living your domestic dream

    by your loved ones

    make up you Tiny Testers Team

    like to extend our gratitude

    To both
    you and your tecchie spouse

    And let
    you know that we’re big fans

    Of the
    awesome Wendy House

    thanks, oh queen of blogging!

    yourself crowned)

    like Winston in the Ghost Gang

    Bosch is All Around

    you enjoyed that (come on over and say hello on Facebook
    or Twitter)!



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