Thursday 7 March 2013

Review: The Wimp's Guide to the Supernatural

Today is World Book Day, an annual event run by a charity with the aim of encouraging children and young people to read more books. I don't normally review children's books on my blog - not having youngsters of my own - but today seemed like a good excuse to make an exception.

If you've got kids who are into things that are a bit spooky, The Wimp's Guide to the Supernaturalmight keep them occupied for a while. I know I would have loved this book if it had been out when I was a child. The title caught my eye when I was browsing the shelf of new books at my local library so I borrowed it and enjoyed reading it even though I'm an adult.

With lots of cartoon-like drawings, The Wimp's Guide to the Supernatural offers facts about ghosts, zombies, werewolves and vampires taken from legends, movies and fiction in a highly entertaining fashion. Being a witch, I pride myself on being moderately well informed about the supernatural, but I still learnt a thing or two.

Did you know that horror writer Dennis Wheatley had a terrifying childhood encounter with a ghost when he was at school in Kent? He claimed to have seen a white, bloated face on the stairs as he was on his way to bed. The school was searched, but no intruder was found. It later turned out that the teachers had been holding a seance and thought they might have summoned up the spectral figure. I guess that incident set him on his way to writing such novels as The Haunting of Toby Jugg.

The guidebook also suggests haunted places to avoid if you are a wimp when it comes to spooky things. Visitors to  Glamis Castle, in Scotland, are reported to have been scared by a vampiric lady, the ghost of Earl Beardie who is doomed to gamble forever with the Devil in one of the rooms, and other ghosts including a butler, a boy who was imprisoned there, a grey lady and even King Malcolm II of Scotland.

Author Tracey Turner offers scientific explanations for the mysterious phenomena as well as the gory details, and suggests what to do if you see a ghost or monster (mainly be polite and then run away as fast as you can). So that you can see just how wimpy you are, every monster comes with a wimp rating and there's a quiz at the end to see how easily you scare. It turns out I ain't afraid of no ghost, to quote the film Ghostbusters :)

The World Book Day website explains how to get £1 book tokens that can be used to buy children's books. The Wimps Guide to the Supernatural might be a good choice.

Publisher Franklin Watts says on its website: "Tracey Turner has written more than 30 books for children on a variety subjects, from rude words to the entire history of the universe. Her books include the best-selling 101 Things You Need to Know, and the acclaimed Comic Strip series. She lives in Bath with Tom and their son Toby."

Links and previous related posts
The Supernatural (EDGE : The Wimp's Guide)

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