The Sword in the Grotto (Araminta Spookie Series #2)by Angie Sage
Sir Horace is about to turn five hundred years old! Araminta and Wanda need to find him the perfect gift. Araminta finds an ancient sword in a grotto hidden under her haunted house—and it should be a cinch to get it. But she wasn't planning on the nasty surprise of a portcullis-trap and a rising tide in the grotto. Will Araminta and Wanda make it to Sir Horace
Sir Horace is about to turn five hundred years old! Araminta and Wanda need to find him the perfect gift. Araminta finds an ancient sword in a grotto hidden under her haunted house—and it should be a cinch to get it. But she wasn't planning on the nasty surprise of a portcullis-trap and a rising tide in the grotto. Will Araminta and Wanda make it to Sir Horace's birthday party?
Araminta Spookie lives in a sprawling haunted house. She spends her days hunting for ghosts, avoiding her cranky Aunt Tabby, and helping her nocturnal Uncle Drac. In the first book, her aunt wants to sell the house and the little girl does all she can to scare away potential buyers. Things turn out better than expected when the ghost-loving Wizzard family shows interest but decides instead to move in with the Spookies. In the second book, Araminta and the Wizzards' daughter find themselves in danger when they try to retrieve a sword from a cave for the house ghost's 500th birthday. These straightforward stories are filled with exposition and description but little action, until their funny and fitting finales. Reluctant readers may have lost interest by then, however. What the books lack in action, though, they make up for in setting. Kids who use "weird" as a compliment will delight in the charming details of Araminta's life. Trapdoors and secret passageways get her into forbidden places. Frogs, bats, and ghosts are part of the family. Pickering's full- and half-page illustrations and cobwebs dangling from the page corners add the perfect mood. However, Araminta is less interesting than her surroundings. She speaks with a consistent, peevish tone, remaining unchanged throughout her adventures. These books offer few surprises, but will be fun escapism for readers who like their spooky without the scary.
Amelia JenkinsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Araminta Spookie 2: The Sword in the Grotto
By Angie Sage
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Angie Sage
All right reserved.
Spookie House, which is where I live with my aunt Tabitha and my uncle Drac, has recently gotten pretty crowded. First of all I found two ghosts living here, and then the Wizzards turned up and decided to live here too. So now that makes eight of us, as there are three Wizzards -- Wanda and her mom and dad, Brenda and Barry.
Our two ghosts are Sir Horace and Edmund. Most people think that Sir Horace is just a boring old suit of armor -- which is what I thought for ages -- but he is our biggest ghost. Then there is his faithful page, Edmund, who is shy and acts like he's a bit of a wimp. Wanda really likes him, but she would, as she can be a bit of a wimp too, as you will see.
Sometimes I think Sir Horace likes Wanda better than me. Not that I am jealous or anything, even though Sir Horace was my ghost first. But after the Wizzards came to live here, they repaired Sir Horace so that he looked almost like new, and Wanda got rid of all Sir Horace's rust with her bike oil, which he was really pleased about. After that, Sir Horace walked around a lot more than he used to. He didn't creak anymore either, which was a bit weird, as sometimes you might be just hanging around planning an ambush for Aunt Tabby orsomething, and suddenly there would be Sir Horace, standing right behind you.
But last month Sir Horace stopped walking around and started getting sulky. He took to lurking behind some revolting old curtains on the landing, and one night he really frightened Uncle Drac when he let out a horrible groan just as Uncle Drac was coming out of his turret.
Another time Sir Horace deliberately took his head off and left it on the stairs. Aunt Tabby tripped over it and blamed me. When I gave him his head back, he was not polite at all. He told me that he was trying to forget something and he didn't want his head just then, thank you very much. But I made him put it back on. After that he disappeared. We looked everywhere, but we couldn't find him, so Wanda and I went down to his secret room to see if he was there.
To get to Sir Horace's room, you have to go through a secret passage and then down in a funny old elevator, called a dumbwaiter, which you have to work yourself by pulling on a rope. Wanda and I are not allowed to go there, as Aunt Tabby says the elevator is dangerous, and she does not like us hanging around in secret passages. But the real reason is that Aunt Tabby does not like people being anywhere where she cannot see what they are doing, as she is extremely nosy.
But even though Aunt Tabby is so nosy, she does not know everything. For example, she does not know that I have the key to the door to the secret passage. So yesterday, when Wanda and I were sure that Aunt Tabby was safely out of the way, we opened the secret door, which is in the paneling under the attic stairs. We walked along the secret passage. I had to go first because of the spiders -- which Wanda does not like -- then we went down in the creaky elevator -- which Wanda does not like -- and went into Sir Horace's room.
The room was very small and dark -- Wanda did not like that, either. But I don't know what else she expected, as there are no windows in it because it is a secret room in the middle of the house. I shone my flashlight into all the corners to see if Sir Horace was sulking there while Wanda looked scared.
"He's not here," said Wanda. "I hope he hasn't run away."
"Why would he do that?" I asked. "He likes it at our house. Can I have the cheese and onion chips?"
Wanda was carrying our Secret Passage Kit, and she gave me my bag of cheese and onion chips. Then she lit the two candles above the fireplace. They cast strange shadows on the walls, and I made a big monster shadow loom over her.
Wanda, who is even more nosy than my aunt Tabby, started looking through all the old books that were piled up. They were very boring, and I didn't know why she was bothering, but Wanda likes boring old stuff -- which is why she likes Sir Horace, I suppose. Anyway, suddenly Wanda snorted like a pig inhaling its food and started rolling around the floor. I didn't take any notice, as I know that this is Wanda's way of laughing. So I let her do her pig impression for a bit, and then I asked her what was so funny.
"Oink oink oink," snorted Wanda, "oh, oink!"
"Oh, come on, Wanda. Tell me."
Wanda shoved a funny old book into my hands. "Shirley," she snorted. "Oink oink. Shirley!"
Inside the book was an old piece of paper with a picture someone had drawn of a cute baby lying on a rug. Underneath the picture was some spidery writing. It was not very easy to read.
"Go on . . . oink," snorted Wanda. "Read it."
"Er . . . 'Horace Cuthbert Shirley George, age foure monthe,'" I read out. "Their spelling was terrible in the old days, wasn't it?"
"Not as bad as yours," oinked Wanda. "See? He's called Shirley."
"Well, maybe his mom wanted a girl or something. Anyway, I think he looks sweet. But that can't be Sir Horace. He was never a baby."
Wanda managed to sit up. "Everyone was a baby once," she said. "Even my dad was a baby once, although that was ages ago. Probably about the same time as when Sir Horace was a baby."
"Your dad may be old, but I don't think he's nearly five hundred years old," I said, staring at the date in the book.
Excerpted from Araminta Spookie 2: The Sword in the Grotto by Angie Sage Copyright © 2006 by Angie Sage. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
ANGIE SAGE was born in London and grew up in the Thames Valley, London, and Kent. She now lives in Somerset in a very old house that has a 480-year-old painting of King Henry VIII on the wall. The seven books in her original Septimus Heap series are international bestsellers. She is also the author of the Araminta Spookie series. Visit her online at www.septimusheapblog.com or follow @AngieSageAuthor on Twitter.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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A great follow up to My Haunted House. Araminta Spookie is such a great character and the trouble she gets in and out of is so fun to read about.
I love this very much, its a mysterious, wounderful tale
I really like your bboks they are so interesting I'm not a type of person that likes reading but once i started reading the books that you wrote I'm getting interested but I thought that you probaly only had wrote 2 books when I went online and found out that you had a wole series I've been looking forward to reading all of them.In school we do what is called a book talk I've been took out the book and presented on it. I tried to purseade people to read that book when I told them how cool and interesting it was I asked how many had gotten interested in reading that book I was really happy that so manny people were interested.I want to say thanks for writing this book its a 5 star book.The boks below are some of my favorite.
Returned shocked to see a cat in her cave. Her eyes widdened and she dissapeared. In a split second al odf her poistions and stuff were gone. She moved to a different location and she whispered. Im sorry Icetail.