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The Chatswood Spooks
Author: Notti Thistledore
Illustrator: Nela Krzewniak
A Frightful Recipe published January 15th, 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Sheets and Ladders published February 17th, 2013 by Crooked Chimney Books

Goodreads Summary (A Frightful Recipe): The Chatswood Spooks are in trouble. If they don’t improve their scare tactics they’ll have to find somewhere else to haunt. But the spooks have lived their entire afterlives at the Chatswood Manor, and are determined to show just how scary they can be.

Unfortunately, they haven’t counted on having to scare Ivan the Fearless…

The Chatswood Spooks: A Frightful Recipe is the first in the Chatswood Spooks series. Each story is illustrated with detailed line drawings and is bursting with silliness.

Goodreads Summary (Sheets and Ladders): With his sheets, chains and pet spider, Jingo likes to look the part of the classic ghost. So when someone puts their red knickers in with Jingo’s favourite white haunting sheets, Jingo is devastated.

Feeling hurt and unloved, he decides to run away to join the local Carnival. But what Jingo has in spooking skills he lacks in street smarts, and he soon finds himself in trouble…

My Review: A cute (non)scary ghost story early chapter book that features 3 very different ghost personalities. I loved the vocabulary throughout this book that was not overwhelming yet showed that the author was obviously not writing down to her readers. She also had allusions to fairy tales, word play, and onomatopoeias making the narrative more interesting. I also found the author’s humor really rang throughout.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I could definitely see these books being used as a read aloud in a classroom as well as a great mentor text to introduce narrative elements since it has a perfect plot arc, conflict, and interesting characters as well as an introduction into figurative and descriptive language and allusions.

Discussion Questions: Book 1: What do you think the ghosts are going to do to be scarier?; Book 2: Do you think Jingo did the right thing by running away?

We Flagged: “On Tuesday evening Toby, the caretaker of Chatswood Manor, called a meeting. All three Chatswood Manor ghosts were there, as well as two crows and a stone gargoyle.
“That gargoyle is worse than Hansel and Gretel,” muttered Winifred as she swept a trail of rocks from the carpet.
“Ahem!” Toby adjusted his half-moon spectacles and consulted a sheet of paper with a squiggly graph on it. Now, listen up, spooks. You’re here because my research shows that you’re all lazy to the bone!”” (Book #1, Location 5)

“Hauling his battered suitcase along behind him, Jingo wandered out onto Bridges Road. All the way he kept telling himself that the Chatswood ghosts were very disrespectful and didn’t deserve to work with him.” (Book #2, Location 34)

“The moon was starting to drag across the sky when the Ghost Bus appeared. Jingo stuck out his thumb to flad it down. The Ghost Bus was the sort of old-fashioned car that had to be started with a hand crank, and its headlights could only be turned on with a switch near the grille.”(Book #2, Location 40)

Read This If You Loved: Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watts, The Witches by Roald Dahl, Ivy Bean and the Ghost that had to Go by Annie Barrows

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**Thank you to Notti Thistledore for supplying copies of these books for review**

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