4 out of 5 Stars
My husband was on a business trip in England when he heard about a book called “Mountwood School for Ghosts“. It is written by Toby Ibbostson, but was thought up by his mother Eva Ibbotson. I wasn’t familiar with Eva Ibbotson but it seems she has written lots of books for children that are most beloved and from what I have read, she may have inspired such writers as JK Rowling and the like. She likes to write about ghosts and hags and children who come across this and based on my reading this book falls in line with the same layout. Before her death, Eva and Toby put together the idea and Toby wrote the book.
The books starts with 3 Great Hagges who decide the ghosts of the world are no longer doing the job they are meant to do. Namely, scaring people to death. They decide they need to do something about this and decide to set up a school for ghosts to attend where they can learn to be scary again. Lots of ghosts from around England hear of the school and decide to attend. On “moving day” when they are being transported to the school, one young ghost, named Percy, misses his bus and is left behind. He gets very scared and ends up befriending 2 children who decide it would be best if they helped him out and got him back to his parents. Percy’s mother is so happy when they bring her son home that she offers to help them in any way she can forever. Turns out, the kids need her help saving their town a little sooner than anyone expected. What will happen? Have the ghosts learned enough? Can she and the other ghosts help?
I found the book delightful. Some other reviews I read said this book is very much like the other books she has written, so you already know about twists and turns and how their books finish. As this was my first read of an “Ibbotson book” I found it really fun and charming. One thing I was thinking was that Harry Potter fans will enjoy this book, but I would say it is a step down from the intensity and slightly younger, which might be great for kids on the younger side. It isn’t very scary at all, so kids 6 and up will do well with it being read to them, older kids will do well reading it on their own (my son is reading at a 5th grade level and only has troubles with the names, but so did I!). I took a picture of the first page of the book to give you an idea of layout. There are no other illustrations other than the cover. Chapters tend to be on the shorter side which makes it feel more manageable for kids. The book was recently released in paperback too!
We would recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Eva’s stories in the future!