Fans of the author of the award-winning Redwall series will loves these spooky tales!
Filled with humor, adventure, and imagination, these seven short stories go from the lighthearted to the bizarre. From a teenager who drives a museum curator to mummify him for signing Phantom Snake (an anagram of his name) all over his exhibits, to a boy who's dared to visit the tomb of a vampire at midnight only to discover that the vampire boy he meets has a mother who nags just like his own, the eerie and chilling settings and characters will captivate readers.
|Publisher:||Penguin Young Readers Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.71(h) x 0.34(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
"I sometimes think it ironic for an ex-seaman, longshoreman, truck driver, policeman, bus driver, etc., to find success writing children's novels," says Brian Jacques (pronounced "Jakes"). Yet it is all too true. With the publication of his first children's book in 1987, the award-winning Redwall, Jacques' fresh talent has received exceptional praise from reviewers in the United States and England. Newbery Award winner Lloyd Alexander called it "a fine work, literate, witty, filled with the excitement of genuine storytelling. Young people will surely be captivated. I hope they give their elders a chance to share the delights."
A well-known radio personality in his native Liverpoolas well as an actor, stand-up comic, and playwrightBrian Jacques is the host of "Jakestown" on BBC Radio Merseyside. Ever the performer, Jacques is well-known for applying his acting and entertainment background to his lively presentations to legions of young fans at schools across the United States and England.
Brian Jacques was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact.
He grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks. His interest in adventure stories began at an early age with reading the books of: Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Thomas Malory, Robert Michael Ballantyne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Kenneth Grahame. He attended St. John's School, an inner city school that had its playground on the roof. On his first day at St. John's, at the age of ten, he had an experience that marked his potential as a writer. When given an assignment of writing a story about animals, he wrote about the bird that cleaned a crocodile's teeth. The teacher could not, and would not, believe that a ten year old could write that well. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story, he was caned as "a liar". He had always loved to write, but it was only then, that he realized that he had a talent for writing.
Some teachers at St. John's proved to be good role models. As Mr. Jacques recalls:
"My favourite teacher was Mr. Austin Thomas. He looked like Lee Marvin. Big Man. A Captain in World War II. He came to school on a big bush bike with the haversack on back. He was a man's man. Always fair. I was fourteen at the time when Mr. Thomas introduced the class to poetry and Greek literature. (Because of him, I saved seven shillings and sixpence to buy The Iliad and The Odyssey at this dusty used book shop.)"
This interest in poetry extended to Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Goldsmith.It was also at St. John's that Brian met a teacher, Alan Durband (who also taught two Beatles, Paul McCartney and George Harrison), who, more than thirty years later would bring about a major change in his life.
After Brian finished school at fifteen, he set out to find adventure as a merchant seaman. He travelled to many far away ports, including New York, Valparaiso, San Francisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he returned to Liverpool where he worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable 216D), a postmaster, and a stand-up comic.
Penguin mourns the passing of celebrated children’s book author Brian Jacques
Date of Birth:June 15, 1939
Date of Death:February 5, 2011
Place of Birth:Liverpool, England
Place of Death:Liverpool, England
Education:St. John¿s School, Liverpool, England
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My seven year old daughter insisted I read this. She seems intent, after starting with Redwall, of reading everything the author has written. Jacques is a good writer (other than the simplistic poems that introduce each tale, which are in stark contrast with the general sophistication of his style) and a couple of these stories are indeed pretty ghastly and may be beyond the understanding of younger readers: A girl thief learns the consequences of stealing a treasure from a WW II survivor ("Allie Alma"); and a little girl lives with her despicable uncle, some nice ducks, and a strange presence beneath the lake ("Bridgey"). A couple are mostly silly and humorous, such as one about a boy who lies constantly selling his soul to the devil ("The Lies of Henry Mawdsley"). The next-to-last story in the book, "The Sad History of Gilly Bodkin" is the most satisfying to me as it seems to achieve exactly what it sets out to do and is quite touching in the bargain. Most of the other stories, while enjoyable, still feel like Jacques is holding back, knowing that he is writing for a younger audience. While he certainly doesn't hesitate to use some unusual words and have characters speak in dialect, the doesn't always plumb the depths of the horror he could have found in some of these stories.
As the title suggests, this is a collection of seven short stories, each with an element of spookiness or of the otherworldly sort. Many of the tales offer moral underpinnings; don't lie, don't steal, don't ruin things with graffiti. Perhaps my favorite story of the bunch involves a young man who believes he can outsmart everyone by leaving his graffitied name-- an anagram of his real name-- anywhere he wishes, including on ancient artifacts in the town's museum. This collection is appropriate for upper elementary through junior high, although with a more targeted cover the book would conceivably hold the interest of some high schoolers.
I remember reading this book in Middle School and loved it. I have been looking for this book in ebook form every since. I also love the Redwall series.
Very good all the tales are cool.
I liked this book; it was funny spooky and made you think a lot about different morals, ethics or whatever you wanna call them. I liked the one about the little guy who out witted the frustrated devil and the good angel and then got bored with lying. You gotta read this; it's not as good as the Redwall series but it can hold its own.