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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 bigredsock.com.


3 comments:

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

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good
    morning lovely Wendy


    We
    wanted to get in touch


    To tell
    you how fab you are


    And
    that we like your blog so very much





    Your
    review of the book Ghost Gang


    Inspired
    us to get writing


    We’d
    love to be like James Parkin


    But our
    poem’s nowhere near as exciting





    However
    what we do know


    Is that
    whilst our poetry is tosh


    You probably
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    The
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    In your
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    You may
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    An
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    Upon
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    But if
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    To
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    We were
    probably the brand which enabled


    Your
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    And
    when you drive to Northampton


    To
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    Bosch
    fuel-injection system


    Keeps
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    And as
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    She may
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    That
    energy efficiency


    Is
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    Although
    it’s been a while since


    Ian
    penned your “Hey Wendy!” song


    You’ll
    probably have a follow-on from Ella


    Making
    your musical legacy long





    From
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    To the
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    We’re
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    Behind
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    In the
    heart of Shropshire


    Where
    you’ve been living your domestic dream


    Surrounded
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    That
    make up you Tiny Testers Team





    We’d
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    To both
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    And let
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    Of the
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    So
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    (consider
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    Just
    like Winston in the Ghost Gang


    Bosch is All Around





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

    ReplyDelete

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