The Ribbajack and Other Haunting Yarns

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What if revenge were a monster of your own creation? If all you needed to summon this monster was enough hatred and enough imagination? Which of you would really be the monster? One boy is about to find out.

The New York Times bestselling author Brian Jacques (Loamhedge; The Angel's Command) spins six all-new tales of horror and suspense. Read on, but be careful of what brews in your heart. You may just find yourself the next victim of the ...

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The Ribbajack: and Other Haunting Tales

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Overview

What if revenge were a monster of your own creation? If all you needed to summon this monster was enough hatred and enough imagination? Which of you would really be the monster? One boy is about to find out.

The New York Times bestselling author Brian Jacques (Loamhedge; The Angel's Command) spins six all-new tales of horror and suspense. Read on, but be careful of what brews in your heart. You may just find yourself the next victim of the Ribbajack. . . .:

A collection of six short stories which feature a variety of monstrous creatures by the author of the Redwall series.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
What would happen if your hatred and your imagination were powerful enough to summon a literal monster of revenge? In "The Ribbajack," a boy discovers the terrifying answer to that question. The master of Redwall in a different light.
Publishers Weekly
Jacques, working more in the vein of his Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales than his Redwall fantasies, offers up a half dozen short horror/morality tales. The title story concerns Archibald Smifft, a truly fiendish 11-year-old being raised at a British boarding school, whose evil plan to conjure a fearsome beast called the Ribbajack backfires in spectacular fashion. In "A Smile and a Wave," a solitary trip through a haunted school library teaches a girl gratitude for her home and mother. "The All Ireland Champion Versus the Nye Add," a neatly constructed fish tale, crackles with the feel of a story told aloud at a pub, thanks to a spirited narrator ("Well, I've told you the tale now, so I'll go on me way an' bid ye good day. But it's a true story...."). The volume closes with "Rosie's Pet," a werewolf yarn that revels in its British trappings and, especially, in its own playful attitude. The plots are familiar and at times feel fragmentary, but Jacques's deft wordplay and masterly tone add compensatory gusts of pleasurable thrills. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Jacques offers six original ghost stories to follow up on Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales (Putnam, 1991). The title story is more grotesque than scary, and the ghost in "A Smile and a Wave" is inexplicably evil, existing only to scare the main character into wearing her detested coat. The most satisfying selections are "Miggy Mags and the Malabar Sailor," in which a mongoose champions a young girl against her abusive uncle, and "Rosie's Pet," a preadolescent werewolf love story. The heavy northern English dialect used in the tellings would work well in an audio book, but may deter some readers. While this is an acceptable addition to general collections, true fans of the scary and strange will find more satisfaction in the short-story collections by Australian writer Paul Jennings, such as Unreal! (Formac, 1992).-Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Jacques turns his storytelling talents from the world of animal fantasy to the sphere of human and animal monsters in this collection of six weird tales. The stories incorporate a variety of horror and occult tropes and/or mythological characters, e.g., conjuring gone wrong in "The Ribbajack," a malevolent ghost in "A Smile and a Wave," naiads in "The All Ireland Champion and the Nye Add," a paralyzing visit from an ancient Greek in Huma D'Este, and werewolves in "Rosie's Pet." Sly humor and suspenseful plotting will keep readers' interest engaged. Short poems introduce each story and an omniscient narrator leads the reader adeptly to the (mostly) surprise endings. Jacques's leisurely approach to narrative works better at a longer length when he uses fewer literary shortcuts (the stereotype British colonial gent, the vaudeville Irish peasant), while his rendering of dialect jars less in his animal fantasies. Lovers of the Redwall and Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series will want to read these stories, which will appeal most strongly to Jacques's fans. (Fiction. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399242205
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/24/2004
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian  Jacques
Brian Jacques
Following in the grand tradition of Watership Down, Brian Jacques’ bestselling Redwall books star animals in medieval England who must protect their home against evil. Equal parts enchanting fantasy and morality tale, these adventure-filled books have captivated readers worldwide.

Biography

The drawings that open the chapters in a Redwall book may look sweet, but Brian Jacques' fantasies are not for the faint of heart. Adventure, peril, betrayal, and downright slaughter abound in these hefty novels about the creatures -- mice, hares, moles, badgers, and sparrows -- who inhabit Redwall Abbey in medieval England.

Brian Jacques has had a life nearly as exciting as that of some of his characters: After dropping out of school in his native Liverpool at the age of 15, he traveled the world as a merchant seaman, visiting ports from America to Asia. Upon returning to England, he held a wide variety of jobs, from railway fireman to boxer among them. In the 1960s, he and his two brothers formed the Liverpool Fishermen, a folksinging group. Jacques also tried his hand as a playwright, producing several stage plays -- Brown Bitter, Wet Nellies, Scouse – about native Liverpudlians.

The Redwall stories, which were to earn him legions of fans, were born out of his time as a volunteer storyteller at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool. Jacques maintains that his detailed writing style was developed here; he was forced to be as descriptive as possible, so his audience would be able to experience his stories as if they could see. He created the first Redwall story as a gift to the children of the school, but never intended to publish it commercially. Fortunately for his many fans on both sides of the Atlantic, a friend sent his first manuscript to a publisher, and the rousing series took off in England in 1986 and in the U.S. the following year with Redwall.

Jacques takes issue with the notion that his books are "fantasy" fiction, a description that he says "smacks of swords and sorcery and dungeons and dragons. . . . I like to think of my books as old-fashioned adventures that happened ‘Once upon a time, long ago and far away.'"

The novels appeal generally to an audience of nine- to fifteen-year-olds, but have admirers both younger and older. The tales pivot on the conflict between good and evil; good invariably triumphs. Indeed, morality issues are always clear in Jacques' books: cruelty, greed, and avarice are eradicated in all forms; bravery, loyalty, and resourcefulness reap rewards aplenty. When it comes to characters, though, Jacques is less simplistic: Martin the Warrior, who through his courage and cunning rose to become the noblest hero in the land, is given to impetuousness, and the miscreant Cluny has both good and bad sides, a la Long John Silver.

For female readers, the Redwall books can be extra satisfying. His female creatures are as adventurous as the males: they don't faint into their male counterparts' arms, but explore, swashbuckle, and rescue on their own. In Mariel of Redwall (1991), the courageous girl mousechild Mariel, thrown overboard by the Gabool, leader of the evil pirate Searats, exacts her own brand of revenge.

Jacques' usually swift pace sometimes comes to a slogging halt with extraordinarily detailed descriptions of the legendary Redwall feasts, right down to the last acorn and drop of buttercup and honey cordial. But the author is redeemed by his delicate interweaving of subplots, his memorable menagerie, his rollicking sense of adventure, and his ability to transport the reader into an entirely different world, a world that, as one critic for The New York Times put it, "is both an incredible and ingratiating place, one to which readers will doubtless cheerfully return."

Good To Know

Brian Jacques wrote his books in longhand or on a manual typewriter, or, if the weather permits, outdoors.

Despite his success as an author, Jacques continued to broadcast the weekly radio show, Jakestown, that he hosted before he wrote the Redwall books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      June 15, 1939
    2. Place of Birth:
      Liverpool, England
    1. Date of Death:
      February 5, 2011
    2. Place of Death:
      Liverpool, England
    1. Education:
      St. John’s School, Liverpool, England
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2004

    Okay, I could go for more.

    Not the best Brian has written. But I'm sure he'll do better. (That's kind of obvious). A great book filled with adventures from 6 different short stories. I would not read it again. I would recommend borrowing it from the library. No offense, but I don't think it's anything worth buying.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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