Monday, 18 August 2014
Review: Araminta Spook - My Haunted House by Angie Sage
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: January 2nd, 2014 (new edition)
Araminta Spook is just like any girl. She likes bats, ghosts, werewolves and vampires. One of Araminta's greatest ambitions is to see a ghost, and living in Spook House with her aunt and uncle there is a fair chance she will. Then her Aunt Tabitha drops a bombshell: they are moving. The boiler is a MENACE, plus there are a few other issues relating to dust and spiders. Tabitha is not going to take this lying down and devises an array of Cunning Plans. She is determined to stay, and perhaps there is still a chance her greatest ambition will come true too...
Araminta Spook: My Haunted House is the first book in a children's series written by Angie Sage, the lady responsible for the bestselling Septimus Heap books. Originally published in 2006, the whole series has had a makeover and a re-release in the UK, and that's how I'm just now reading them. My favourite children's books are ones about ghosts and vampires and other creatures, so this series is perfect for me!
Araminta Spook lives with her Uncle Drac and Aunt Tabitha in a huge haunted house, because her parents ran off to hunt vampires and never returned. Even though it's a haunted house, she's never seen a ghost but has seen plenty of bats, courtesy of Uncle Drac's fascination with the winged wonders. One day Aunt Tabitha announces she's selling the house because of a problematic boiler, and Araminta starts to think of the worst ways to scare prospective buyers and not have to move. Think Minnie the Minx in a spooky old house and you've got Araminta!
Araminta is a fantastic character, really funny and absolutely determined to meet a ghost. She's naughty and mischievous just like any kid her age, but she's also resourceful and not particularly scared of anything. Big spiders? No problem. Bats? Loves them! Ghosts? They don't even pose a threat. She's a kooky little girl in an even kookier family, and that's why she's so endearing. In fact, I'd quite like to go ghost hunting with her myself!
These books are well written and great fun to read, plus they're illustrated too, by the extremely talented Jimmy Pickering. His angular depictions of Araminta and co. add to the gothic feel of the story and I've never seen anyone draw a scared cat as well as he has! All in all this is a good start to the series for younger readers and I'm glad it's being reprinted. Hurrah for Araminta!