Seven Strange & Ghostly Tales

by Brian Jacques

Paperback, 1996



Local notes

PB Jac





Puffin Books (1996), Edition: Reprint, 144 pages


A collection of seven creepy stories.


Original language


Physical description

144 p.; 5.1 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member TigerLMS
As the title suggests, this is a collection of seven short stories, each with an element of spookiness or of the otherworldly sort. Many of the tales offer moral underpinnings; don't lie, don't steal, don't ruin things with graffiti. Perhaps my favorite story of the bunch involves a young man who
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believes he can outsmart everyone by leaving his graffitied name-- an anagram of his real name-- anywhere he wishes, including on ancient artifacts in the town's museum. This collection is appropriate for upper elementary through junior high, although with a more targeted cover the book would conceivably hold the interest of some high schoolers.
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LibraryThing member datrappert
My seven year old daughter insisted I read this. She seems intent, after starting with Redwall, of reading everything the author has written. Jacques is a good writer (other than the simplistic poems that introduce each tale, which are in stark contrast with the general sophistication of his style)
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and a couple of these stories are indeed pretty ghastly and may be beyond the understanding of younger readers: A girl thief learns the consequences of stealing a treasure from a WW II survivor ("Allie Alma"); and a little girl lives with her despicable uncle, some nice ducks, and a strange presence beneath the lake ("Bridgey"). A couple are mostly silly and humorous, such as one about a boy who lies constantly selling his soul to the devil ("The Lies of Henry Mawdsley"). The next-to-last story in the book, "The Sad History of Gilly Bodkin" is the most satisfying to me as it seems to achieve exactly what it sets out to do and is quite touching in the bargain. Most of the other stories, while enjoyable, still feel like Jacques is holding back, knowing that he is writing for a younger audience. While he certainly doesn't hesitate to use some unusual words and have characters speak in dialect, the doesn't always plumb the depths of the horror he could have found in some of these stories.
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LibraryThing member JalenV
Seven Strange & Ghostly Tales is a children's book. The tales are as follows:

'The Fate of Thomas P. Kanne': a museum caretaker attendant is determined to put a stop to a prolific graffiti artist.

'Jamie and the Vampires': Jamie's gang dare him to sit in front of what they claim is a vampire's tomb.
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For my edition, this is the cover story, although the boy on the cover looks a bit cleaner than Jamie is described inside.

'Allie Alma': when she's being 'Alma', young Ms. Budleigh is a very good girl, but when she's being 'Allie,' watch out!

'The Lies of Henry Mawdsley': Henry would rather lie than tell the truth, then he meets the Father of Lies.

'Bridgey': little Bridgey has been living with her abusive alcoholic uncle since her parents died. He thinks the ducks are her only company besides himself.

'The Sad History of Gilly Bodkin': Poor Gilly wants so much to taste a sweetmeat (candy). How long must he wait?

'R. S. B. Limited': the three bullies are demanding money and Jonathan can't pay -- what will they do to him?

Each story has a poem on the page before it starts. I think the one that's a riddle is the best. The stories are better than the poems. Three of the seven are comic encounters with the supernatural. The other four fall into the 'cautionary tales' category -- think Der Struwelpeter (or Shockheaded Peter). Do not imitate those jerks or their awful fates might be yours!

The author is British and I suspect some effort has been made to Americanize the stories in this Avon reprint because of the use of American spellings instead of British. In the last story the money is still described as 'pounds' instead of dollars, but I think the bullies may have been originally described as sixth formers (usually 16 to 18 years old) rather than sixth-graders (usually 12 years old).

Good for kids who like ghost stories and not bad for adults who still enjoy children's books.
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(24 ratings; 3.3)
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