The Werewolf and the Ibis (Something Wickedly Weird) by Chris Mould
|The Werewolf and the Ibis (Something Wickedly Weird) by Chris Mould|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: As the youngest relative of Great-Uncle Bartholomew Swift, eleven-year-old Stanley Buggles inherits Candlestick Hall. But his new home contains a terrifying mystery, and Stanley must act quickly and bravely if he wants to survive his first visit!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: May 2010|
|Publisher: Hodder Children's Books|
The Something Wickedly Weird series is a splendid mix of Gothic horror and cartoon-style fun. The scrawny young hero, young Stanley Buggles, who lives in a 'darkened industrial town', as the first page tells us, is plunged into an adventure from the moment he arrives (all alone, as tradition dictates) at Crampton Rock. He has inherited his great-uncle's mansion, a vast old pile on an island linked to the mainland by a long winding footbridge. The right atmosphere of isolation and claustrophobic unease is created immediately, especially when we learn that letters are only collected from the island once a fortnight. Whatever is on this island, Stanley will have to deal with it alone.
Several questions trouble our plucky hero. Why do the villagers scurry to be indoors before darkness falls? Why do all the dogs only have three legs? And why is he told never to go into the sweet shop? Add a talking fish (a stuffed one, in a case) and the scene is set for laughter, mishap and mayhem.
Stanley is befriended, if that is the right word, by a bunch of menacing pirates, who force him to help them with their evil plots. He rids the island of a werewolf called Cake, but instead of being a benefit to the island, this action only paves the way for more dastardly deeds. The search is now on in earnest for the ibis, an ancient and beautiful amulet which his great-uncle hid somewhere in the old house before his hideous demise.
The Werewolf and the Ibis is a book which can easily be read alone by the emerging reader, and will appeal to both boys and girls. The language is simple, the font is large, and many of the chapters are satisfyingly short. Readers are presented with an engaging plot which hurtles along and will make even the slowest reader feel they are making good progress. Because of its readership the book is more focused on lively dialogue and action than character development, and this is where Chris Mould's distinctive, scratchy pen-and-ink illustrations (which are slightly reminiscent of Ronald Searle), add immeasurably both to the humour and to the story. The villains are ugly, the werewolf is mangy and flea-ridden, and an enchanting little crab, who seems to have no other function in the plot, wanders his way whimsically through the pages. Grim and ghoulish events are recounted with dry humour, and young readers will laugh out loud at the cheerful absurdities of the story.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: Readers who enjoy this book will be glad to know there are several others in the 'Something Wickedly Weird' series, including The Treasure Keepers.
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