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The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively
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The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973)

by Penelope Lively

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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378940,759 (3.77)46

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» See also 46 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I loved this delightful, charming book about a boy and his ghost. I bought it as a gift but could not stop reading once I had started. Lively's prose is, well, lively (sorry), and the book is shot through with generosity of spirit, wit, humour, and warmth. This was light without being trite. It's how a children's book should be. It also makes me want to seek out more of Lively's writing. ( )
  subabat | Mar 19, 2018 |
What a delightful, fun ghost story. What I really enjoyed about this story is not so much the ghost aspect - which was still fun - but the great way that Lively captures the wonderment of being a young boy and living with his parents and sister in an old cottage in a small Oxfordshire town. Its a quaint, more simplistic life than is presented on the pages than the hustle and bustle of today and I can see why this book would be a popular one for children young and old..... I consider myself one the old ones. ;-)

As for the writing style, I love that Lively does not dumb down or talk down to her reading audience, which give the story such a great audience age range. It also has a somewhat timeless quality to it. Even the small town of Ledsham is going through its growing pains, with the older center of town finding itself being surrounding by newer housing communities, leaving James' sister Helen pining to live in one of the newer houses like her friends do and not the centuries old East End Cottage her family now calls home.

Overall, a quick and rather enjoyable read. ( )
2 vote lkernagh | Jan 4, 2015 |
The charming story of an intelligent, sensitive boy with a vivid imagination, and a rather cantankerous, disillusioned ghost. In many ways it reminded me of my childhood, with the puddings and country lanes, the way we were before computers and multimedia. A lavishly illustrated edition. ( )
  overthemoon | Dec 10, 2014 |
Wonderful language! Poor kid, this is a true tale of injustice. The central character has to endure punishments for the actions of a ghost and no one believes in ghosts. A great story and terrific writing. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Another childhood favourite. Not scary at all but a warm, sweet evocation of childhood. The relationship beween the young protagonist and the annoying, opinionated medieval spirit that attaches itself to him is fraught with embarrassment and difficulty, causing him nothing but trouble yet we feel great sympathy for the ghost, as does James, when the spirit confides he is tired of the modern world and wants to rest. The ending, with the ghost released from his earthly confines through bell, book and candle with the assistance of a local blue-collar exorcist, is deftly handled and very moving. This is simply a superb book for children of all ages and all who fondly remember their childhoods ( )
  drmaf | Aug 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Penelope Livelyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Maitland, AnthonyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
James is fed up. His family have moved to a new cottage - with grounds that are great for excavations, and trees that are perfect for climbing - and stuff is happening. Stuff that is normally the kind of thing he does. And he's getting blamed for it. But it's not him who's writing strange things on shopping lists and fences. It's not him who smashes bottles and pours tea in the Vicar's lap. It's a ghost. Honestly. Thomas Kempe the apothecary has returned and he wants James to be his apprentice. No one else believes in ghosts. It's up to James to get rid of him. Or he'll have no pocket money or pudding EVER AGAIN.
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A mishief-loving ghost makes a young boy his unwilling apprentice in a series of pranks.

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