Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales

( 2 )

Overview

Redwall fans will love the ghostly side of Brian Jacques!

Filled with humor, adventure, and imagination, these seven short stories go from the lighthearted to the bizarre. From a teenager who drives a museum curator to mummify him for signing Phantom Snake (an anagram of his name) all over his exhibits, to a boy who's dared to visit the tomb of a vampire at midnight only to ...
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Overview

Redwall fans will love the ghostly side of Brian Jacques!

Filled with humor, adventure, and imagination, these seven short stories go from the lighthearted to the bizarre. From a teenager who drives a museum curator to mummify him for signing Phantom Snake (an anagram of his name) all over his exhibits, to a boy who's dared to visit the tomb of a vampire at midnight only to discover that the vampire boy he meets has a mother who nags just like his own, the eerie and chilling settings and characters will captivate readers.

"Well crafted and smoothly written...While suitable for reading aloud, the tales are even better under the covers with a flashlight." --Booklist, starred review

"Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall books, proves to have a surprising gift for amusing, sometimes horrifying, sometimes quite poignant ghost stories....An excellent choice for reading aloud." --The Horn Book

A collection of seven creepy stories.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ghost story aficionados may add yet another title to their increasingly crowded reading lists. This collection features seven original stories about the requisite apparitions, vampires and satanic incarnations, all spun with a distinctly English flair. Jacques's ( Redwall ; Mattimeo ) ethereal creations are tame when compared with the violence and gore often found in the genre. Despite a lack of blood, mysterious deaths and hauntings abound: Gilly Bodkin's soul will not rest until he gets some sweets; Thomas P. Kanne is embalmed and mummified while still alive. Chills and thrills are fewer than the book's title might suggest, and the author has infused his own brand of humor into tales about a vampire with a nagging mother and a compulsive liar who dares to tell a whopper to the devil. A few lengthy descriptive passages slow the pace, and a story focusing on an older woman's experience during WW II may be too sophisticated for younger readers, but this is still a good choice for flashlight reading under the covers. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jacques's collection of original ghost stories features "the requisite apparitions, vampires and satanic incarnations, all spun with a distinctly English flair," said PW. Ages 8-12. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Jacques, the author of the animal adventures of Redwall, focuses here on telling Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales. In this book, Jacques proves that he can tell a story about anything-from a graffiti artist who's mummified to a boy who escapes a vampire by a strange twist of fate.
Children's Literature - Carol Raker Collins
Though never dogmatic, important moral lessons are embedded in these eerie tales. Each story is prefaced by a poem that gives a clue or warning about what's to follow. There is the graffiti artist who is mummified in an Egyptian exhibit because he defaces the museum. The girl who steals senior citizens' most precious possessions finds her demise in a prized egg. There are the school bullies whose extortion racket ends in a ghostly comeuppance. A mean-spirited uncle finds his end in a lake inhabited by the mysterious Grimblett. An inveterate liar tricks the devil and the angel Gabriel but is ultimately bored with lying. In a lighter vein, a boy has a fearsome run-in with a vampire whose mother ends up reminding him of his own nagging mother. In the most gruesome tale, a sad boy ghost haunts the spot where he died trying to eat forbidden candy, and after hundreds of years finally finds satisfaction. The English author is especially good at creating a variety of characters whose different classes, countries, dialects, accents, and personalities interact in these seven distinct plots. These are not just slightly scary tales for children; many of them have severe consequences. 1999 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-- A collection of seven competently told tales set in modern-day Britain, ranging from a funny ``pact with the Devil'' story to more traditional vampire and ghostly fare. There is a satisfying amount of spookiness in each, even though the conclusions are telegraphed ahead of time. Each story is preceded by an original poem that is intended to pique interest in the tale that follows; as poetry, these selections are mediocre, but they do add a nice balance of humor to what is otherwise the same old stuff. The subject will be popular with a wide audience, although the lack of illustrations and the fairly dense blocks of text may intimidate some readers. Leach's Thing at the Foot of the Bed (Philomel, 1987) and Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Lippincott, 1981), to name only two, will not be eclipsed by this newcomer. --JoAnn Rees, Sunnyvale Public Library, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399221033
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1991
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 137
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.32 (w) x 6.12 (h) x 0.68 (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
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2002

    Definetly a keeper

    Very good all the tales are cool.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2000

    Seven tales of the Supernatural

    I liked this book; it was funny spooky and made you think a lot about different morals, ethics or whatever you wanna call them. I liked the one about the little guy who out witted the frustrated devil and the good angel and then got bored with lying. You gotta read this; it's not as good as the Redwall series but it can hold its own.

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