The Beasts of Clawstone Castle

The Beasts of Clawstone Castle

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by Eva Ibbotson, Kevin Hawkes
     
 

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When their parents go to America for the summer, Madlyn and Rollo are sent to their great-aunt Emily and great-uncle George at Clawstone Castle, home of the legendary and mysterious Wild White Cattle of Clawstone Park. But times are hard at Clawstone, as the fancier castle down the road attracts all the tourist traffic. Determined to save the castle and the herd,

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Overview

When their parents go to America for the summer, Madlyn and Rollo are sent to their great-aunt Emily and great-uncle George at Clawstone Castle, home of the legendary and mysterious Wild White Cattle of Clawstone Park. But times are hard at Clawstone, as the fancier castle down the road attracts all the tourist traffic. Determined to save the castle and the herd, Madlyn and Rollo audition a cast of ghosts to add some thrills to the Clawstone tours, and soon visitors are pouring through the gates. But just when things are looking up, the ghosts and children find themselves facing a great mystery, and some very sinister enemies. Will Madlyn, Rollo, and their ghostly friends find a way to save the day?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
There's more spooky hilarity in store for fans of Ibbotson's previous ghost stories (Dial-a-Ghost; The Great Ghost Rescue). However, animal lovers may have trouble digesting some of the darker moments of this book. While their parents are in America, British siblings 11-year-old Madlyn and nine-year-old Rollo stay at Clawson Castle, an estate owned by the children's mild-mannered Great-Aunt Emily and Great-Uncle George. Uncle George takes great pride in his snow-white cattle, but unless more money can be earned by attracting tourists to the castle, the precious herd (and the castle) may be lost. Madlyn suggests that they draw more visitors by filling the castle with ghosts. Business booms after they hire a crew of frightening phantoms-a bloody bride, a skeleton taxi driver, a severed circus lady, a pirate and a rat that gnaws at his heart, and a Scottish pair of feet that dance to Highland reels (all cunningly depicted in Hawkes's illustrations). But when Uncle George's cows are kidnapped, it is up to the children to save them from the clutches of a greedy doctor, who mutilates critters for fun and profit. The book offers a plethora of tangled threads and comic characters and perhaps more gore than is customary for the author. However, things end on an up note: there are no serious injuries to the protagonists (human or otherwise) and the villains get their just deserts. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Madlyn and Rollo are sent to the country to stay with Great-Aunt Emily and Great-Uncle George while their parents are away for an extended time. The children are excited about the prospects of living at the ancient castle, and the legendary herd of white cattle that freely range the land around Clawstone fascinates Rollo. The crumbling castle has little to offer tourists and Great-Uncle George depends on the income to maintain the herd. Certainly Clawstone is no match for Tremblow Towers, the castle just down the road that attracts more foot traffic. The children decide that what Clawstone needs is ghosts, and they embark on a mission to find four marvelously spooky specters to liven things up. Just when it seems that the ghosts are indeed good for business a rare illness is detected in the cattle and the children are caught up in a sinister plot to bring Clawstone to ruins. Suspense, plot twists and turns aplenty, and evil doings combine to create a thoroughly engrossing tale. Ibbotson's ghosts perfectly blend humor with ghoulishness and are frightfully endearing. Each retains a bit of its quirky human nature that plays on the reader's sympathy. Fans of Ibbotson will quickly snatch this one up.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Victims of busy parents, Madlyn, 11, and Rollo, 9, go to stay with an eccentric cast of relatives at Clawstone Castle. Along with Great-Aunt Emily, her brother Great-Uncle George, and no-longer-living Cousin Howard, the real attraction is the legendary and noble Wild White Cattle herd. The children join the family's endeavors to support the animals by turning the place into a museum, but when the bovines are cow-napped, each family member plays a part in their return, along with Ibbotson's usual cadre of banshees and ghosts, as well as a pair of Scottish feet. Everything readers like about this author is present in good amounts. From the first chapter, they will make an emotional connection with Madlyn and Rollo and with the impoverished, yet creative castle denizens. While a ghost with a rat munching on its heart may not leave a pleasant feeling in one's stomach, it cannot be denied that it is memorable, even more so when Ibbotson convinces readers to pity the rat. She deftly brings in such contemporary issues as land development, animal rights, and the environment without creating an obvious message. The story's quest pattern (find the cows!) makes the plot easy to follow and well structured, accompanied by humorous and disgusting details aplenty. Hawkes's whimsical, full-page line drawings are scattered throughout. More of a page-turner than some of Ibbotson's recent stories, this novel will find a following among readers of Suzanne Collins's Gregor the Overlander (Scholastic, 2003) or Angie Sage's "Septimus Heap" series (HarperCollins).-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142409312
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
09/06/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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The book offers a plethora of tangled threads and comic characters. (Publishers Weekly)

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