Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Mr Bickle and the Ghost by Stella Gurney and Sylvia Raga (Evans Brothers Ltd)

Now here's a curious little book, found hiding - almost lost because of its size - between the library stacks on our last visit. We've seen a lot of Stella Gurney's work in early years readers so immediately seized on this one (partially seized on it also because it's about a ghost and Charlotte LOVES a good ghost story).

Mr Bickle is a rather happy and jolly chap most of the time, but at night his house is plagued by a mischievous ghost. While Mr Bickle wants to sleep, the Ghost rattles and clatters around the house.

Things go from bad to worse as the ghost interferes with the well-meaning bachelor's rather neat and tidy lifestyle until one day Mr Bickle snaps and gets rid of the ghost in a rather amusing way (kids, do not try that at home OK?)

Once again, Mr Bickle's life is one of quiet serenity and extreme neatness. But...also loneliness. You see, for all his pestering misbehaviour, the ghost was company of a sort - and Mr Bickle soon actually discovers he misses his spectral pal.

So what can he do?

You'll have to read the story to find out, of course. A great little book with the idea that keeping the word count low and featuring an engaging theme will make it a surefire win for early readers progressing from the rather disjointed stories in most phonics books to something that flows and is engaging - just like the books children will naturally move on to next.

Stella's writing is brilliant, even with such constraints - and Sylvia Raga's artwork is quite unique and eye-catching (though if I'm honest, Mr Bickle actually scares me more than the ghost does!)

Charlotte's best bit: What Mr Bickle does to get rid of the ghost! Eeek!

Daddy's favourite bit: Brilliant idea to have books that have a reduced word count but 'feel' like proper children's picture story books despite this. Awesome find!