Monday, 17 December 2018

Sunny and the Ghosts by Alison Moore

'Sometimes, when you open a door or lift a lid, you find exactly what you expected to find: coats in the coat cupboard, bread in the bread bin, toys in the toy box. And sometimes you don’t.'

illustrated by Ross Collins

review by Maryom 

Sunny's parents like old things - clocks and pianos, books and ornaments - so bought an antique shop, with a flat above where they live. Sunny helps in the shop by polishing mirrors, brass coal scuttles and copper kettles, out of which he always thinks a genie might appear. It isn't a genie he finds hiding among the old blanket chests and wardrobes, though, but a ghost ... then another ... and then a third is found locked in a cupboard! The ghosts all seem friendly, and hardly any trouble at all (unless you count playing the piano at night), but someone seems to be causing trouble in the shop. Books are thrown off their shelves, an ornament broken, dozens of cats let in to wander round the shop, sit on furniture and cushions, sleep in pots and pans. Sunny suspects there must be another ghost, a naughty one, playing pranks and getting up to mischief, but how can he make the ghost show himself, and then leave?

You'll probably have heard of Alison Moore as an award-winning author, listed for the Booker and such, but this is her first book aimed at a younger readership. 
It does share some characteristics of Moore's 'adult' novels - an interest in the meanings behind words and phrases, a brevity of words to describe people and situations, but it most definitely isn't a grown-ups novel dumbed down for children. It's a light-hearted and fun read, with line-drawings by Ross Collins bringing characters and situations to life, eminently suitable for children who find scary, hide under the bedsheets ghost stories just too frightening. The plot moves along quickly, and once Sunny finds one ghost, more seem to appear every day, popping up in all sorts of odd places around the shop. It's all jolly, apart from the puzzle of who, or what, is behind the trouble in the shop. Sunny's parents seem inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, and don't blame him for it, but I'm not sure they really believe his tale of ghosts either. With a little help from his spectral friends though Sunny manages to track down the trouble maker, and find a way to settle the problem. 
Further stories are planned so this looks like being the beginning of quite an adventure for Sunny and the Ghosts.

Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Salt Publishing

Genre - children's ghost stories 9+

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