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The Great Ghost Rescue by Eva Ibbotson
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The Great Ghost Rescue (1975)

by Eva Ibbotson

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Showing 5 of 5
This was our first time reading Eva Ibbotson (and coincidentally, her first book, written in 1975). She was recommended to me because of my love of Diana Wynne Jones and I have to say that I found the same sort of intelligent fantasy that I hoped I would, though for a slightly younger reader.

Rick is a young boy at a boarding school who wakes up early one morning to find he is sharing his bed with a ghost. It's Humphrey, the youngest in a family of ghosts that have been driven from their home by developers who have turned it into a vacation resort. There are no longer damp cellars or broken windows or boggy marshes to haunt -- only modern plumbing and a game room. Rick decides that what the ghosts need is a sanctuary and his friend Barbara thinks that the only man who can help is the Prime Minister. So Rick sets off to London, picking up a few others along the way who are also seeking sanctuary. Rick can only hope that he's successful before the British Isles lose all of their fantastic ghosts (and other creepy creatures).

Z and I both loved this story. It was a bit scary and sad at times but that is to be expected in a ghost story. The plot was more complex than I expected with a seemingly pleasant resolution about two-thirds of the the way through the book that, alas, wasn't permanent. The characters were quite amazing too. Z's favorite was Humphrey's older brother, George the Screaming Skull. I rather liked Aunt Hortensia who had been beheaded by Henry VIII and whose head regularly travelled separately from her body.

http://webereading.com/2011/11/last-rip-read-great-ghost-rescue.html ( )
  klpm | Nov 11, 2011 |
A family of ghosts is forced to seek a new home when they have to leave their old one because of progress in the human world. New houses with central heating are bad news for the ghosts because their old haunts (sorry) are being knocked down, paved over or modernised.
The ghosts spend the night in a boarding school and are discovered by Rick when he spots youngest ghost Humphrey's elbow floating at the end of his bed. He and his friend Barbara try to help the ghosts find a sanctuary and in turn meet an extended ghostly community including a shuck and a colony of vampire bats (lead by cousin Susie). A betrayal and a twist at the end kept me gripped through the book and I loved George the Screaming Skull so much I used to play at being one (sorry Mum and neighbours). It's still a lovely, funny and sad book for children and is still on my bookshelves. ( )
  Jodyreadseverything | Mar 16, 2008 |
If the Addams family had been ghosts...well, this might have been what they were like! We start out here with a "family" of ghosts living in an old castle...the mother, a hag looking, well, like a hag and smelling of the worst things (always changing to suite her moods, naturally); the father, a Gliding Kilt (legs lost in a battle); their son, the screaming skull (and boy can he scream); their daughter (a wailing ghost); their second son, Humphrey the Horrible...who it turns out is less horrible than he and his family would really like and of course Aunt Hortensia with her phantom coach and missing head!

As it turns out, ghosts all over the world are being turned out of their dark, dank, horribly perfect homes by...PROGRESS. Human's, the living, are doing what we always do...paving over, knocking down, renovating, and making things livable for US. Unfortunately for the ghosts this is very, very bad! In fact, it's downright harmful. Our family of intrepid ghosts is ousted from their home to make way for a resort...quite revolting a development for these horrible haunts!

On the move, our hauntless family meet up with Rick at a brief stop over at a boarding school, who with the help of his super smart friend Barbara determined what needs to be done to right the ghost's homeless situation. A short time later, the ghosts (and Rick) are off to London to meet with their member of Parliament to set up a Ghost Sanctuary. This story is all about their adventure to London, what they have to do to get in to see the Prime Minister, where the ghost wind up...and there is even a twist at the end...just when you think all is going to turn out splendidly!

This story manages to tie together grossness, creepy settings, morbid details, humor and family values into one romping good adventure that even manages to include a message about being yourself and accepting who you are. The Great Ghost Rescue is great for young readers who have made the transition to chapter books but still need a relatively simple plot and minimal drawings (there are a number of black and white/pen & ink drawings to bring some additional life to the story...heh). I know when my daughter made the transition to longer chapter books, she needed one's that were both entertaining but with minimal plot twists so that she could read the words AND get to enjoy the story...this book allows for that in spades. Aimed at ages 9-12, I'd say ages 8-10 would probably enjoy it most as the plot and writing style might be too simple for older readers to find engaging. I rate this at four stars, it's just the right blend of gross details (given a humorous twist), morbid bent, a bit of mystery and a liberal dash of adventure that is perfectly engaging for young readers!! ( )
  the_hag | Jan 17, 2008 |
A young boy has to help out a bunch of spooks and monsters that are down on their luck and lacking in real estate. An excellent kid's book. Headless types, vampires, ghosts, they all need somewhere to stay. When redevelopment and eviction loom, the local inhabitants need a human helping hand to settle their future.

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2006/12/great-ghost-rescue-eva-ibbotson.html ( )
3 vote bluetyson | Dec 3, 2006 |
found it boring and didactic
  cbaybooks | Aug 7, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eva Ibbotsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stern, SimonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Humphrey the Horrible was a ghost.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The ghosts of Britain need a sanctuary. Castles with central heating, bogs drained for motorways, dismal forests cleared for car parks-there are few places left for a respectable ghost to haunt. Humphrey the Horrible (actually his name is simply Humphrey-he added "the Horrible" to help himself become horrible) is a small, mostly unsuccessful ghost in a family of ghastly ghouls. His mother worries. Nobody knew what had gone wrong with Humphrey. Perhaps it was his ectoplasm'. Humphrey the Horrible sounds scary, but he's actually a very friendly skeleton, with twinkling eye sockets and jangling finger bones. Humphrey dreams of being ghastly, like his brother - a screaming skull - or terrifying, like his bloodsucking vampire-bat cousins. But when Humphrey discovers an evil plot to exorcise his family he finally realizes you don't have to be spine-chillingly fearsome to be a hero. But Humphrey has enough pluck to befriend a smart, politically aware schoolboy, Rick Henderson, who is willing to take the ghosts' cause right to the top, to number 10 Downing Street-home of the Prime Minister.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142500879, Paperback)

Humphrey is a small ghost with a big problem. His family has lost their home, and they're off to find a new haunting ground. But soon Humphrey and his parents discover that ghosts all over the country are being turned out as dank castles are converted to cheerful tourist hotels. Humphrey knows something must be done to help the homeless ghosts. And with the help of a sympathetic schoolboy named Rick, maybe he can do something to aid all the ghosts of England after all. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:40 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A young English boy decides to establish a sanctuary for an assortment of ghosts when the homes they have haunted are replaced by highways and other modern "improvements."

» see all 3 descriptions

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