Ghost Gang is a new series of children's books, targetting 8-12 year olds, written by self-published author James Parkin. He kindly sent us through the first book, The New Ghost, to review and we (me and 11-year-old Sophie) read the whole thing on the way to the airport and on the plane on the way to Tunisia !
It's an interesting and original idea which instantly made me think of a modernised version of Famous Five with a bang-on-trend paranormal element. (I smirked when the Famous Five actually got a cheeky mention in the text.) The plot follows the story of a group of children, tragically killed before their time, who become ghosts and enter the dreams of unhappy kids to help them get over their troubles.
The new ghost of the title is Winston, a young boy who has just drowned and is on an other-worldly voyage of self-discovery, finding his feet (or lack of feet!) as a ghost and working out how it all works at the same time as the reader. The text instantly grabs you, both because it is action-packed and because the central character is so endearingly childish. Right from the opening lines, the reader is yanked into Winston's story and you can't help but empathise with him : "It was about half past three on a Sunday afternoon when my life as a child ended and my life as a ghost began. I was running away from me Mum and me Dad and Jasmine was running after me ..."
As well as a being a fun story, the book offers some great life lessons, such as the importance of saying sorry, realising that parents and siblings do care however it may seem and the importance of friendships and helping others. The books could also be a nice way of helping young readers come to terms with the loss of a friend or loved one.
You can read all about the ghostly characters on the Ghost Gang website and also watch a trailer for the series here :
The author explains that due to printing and postage costs, print copies are relatively expensive to buy, but you can buy a Kindle edition for 99p per book or £1.99 for a special 3-in-1 edition. You can also read a complete short story - The Boy and the Babysitter - on the www.bigredsock.com website.
The target audience is 8-12 year olds which sounds about right, but I have to say that I enjoyed it too ! I can't wait to find out more about the gang of friendly ghosts in the other adventures.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : 99p on kindle
for more information : http://www.bigredsock.com/
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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