When Ellie and her family move into Inchwood Manor, Ellie quickly discovers strange things are happening. Who is the mysterious boy at the window? What secrets lie within the abandoned nursery? Who is the woman who haunts Ellie's dreams and why has she returned to the Manor, after more than a century?
Ellie finds herself entangled in a Victorian mystery of ghosts and tunnels and secret documents and discovers that life all those years ago isn't so different from the world she knows today...
. . .
"Childish Spirits has all the elements of a classic ghost story... but it also has a very modern setting that readers will feel at home with [and] it's a breeze to read. Simply written with an accessible vocabulary but never simplistic, and there are plenty of jokes to balance out the scary parts. Recommended. School librarians: this good-hearted novel would make a great addition to your shelves. I'm already looking forward to book two!"
"Entertaining, suspenseful ghost story for kids."
"...suspense is subtly built up. A particular strength is the book's use of speech, which adds depth and character, and there are also some great twists."
"It is written with a target audience of eight to twelve year olds, it is still a great read for adults, too. The language is highly appropriate to readers of that age, the daring escapades will appeal to them and I know many children of this age will love escaping into this story. With Ellie as the main female character and Edward as the main male one, this story is likely to appeal to both genders and could easily be used in classes to inspire, motivate and encourage children to enjoy reading. It has well developed characters, a fast pace and is a great introductory novel in this superb series, complete with plenty of danger to keep readers reading, wanting to know what happens next. I have no hesitation in highly recommending this to children and adults alike – and for teachers to utilise with their pupils."
Splashes Into Books
'A good introduction to ghost stories for upper primary age children.'
The School Librarian
'The language used in this story is quite accessible for younger readers which is brilliant. There's plenty of action, adventure and excitement which will make this book appeal to both young girls and boys alike... The book also represented a dysfunctional family well with the parents still going through the process of divorce and the conflict Ellie feels directly as a result of this. There are fabulous links to the Victorian era throughout the story and I thoroughly enjoyed the historical elements of the story which were woven in throughout...
If you or your child enjoys adventure, scares and thrills then this will be the book for you!'
Anna (BooksandBookends), via Goodreads
'Childish Spirits is a wonderful, exciting story about how friendship can be found in the most unusual circumstances... I found myself engrossed in the story, which actually surprised me, seeing as it is a book for children... The book has a natural flow to it and you can't help but root for Ellie and Edward, and keep your fingers crossed that everything will come good in the end. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, and see what adventures Rob Keeley has in store...'
'[O]nce I started, I couldn't put it down. I read it in 4 hours and my eyes were glued to every page...
The mystery... leaves you on the edge of your seat and we share Ellie's confusion at events that unfold. The darkness continues and grows until the climactic point when the truth is revealed!
... this was very enjoyable and I will be keeping this in mind when I choose next year's class novel! I would recommend it to any primary teacher - children love ghosts!'
Crowvus Book Blog
'To start off with I must say this one thing: please don't read it at night!! I kept jumping at every shadow in my room. This book reads a bit like an Edgar Allan Poe novel, dark and twisted with elements of spooky secrets and vengeful spirits!! I won't be going into detail but it's destined to be another classic!! It has everything right: plot, characters and eerie setting.'
- Miss Mahee's Library of Reads, New Zealand
. . .
Reviews of the audiobook edition
'I loved how brilliant it was to hear it all brought to life, and loved the drama, mystery and humour throughout! ... Ellie has this boundless enthusiasm that is infectious! She's willing to throw herself into solving the mysteries of the Manor as well as helping Edward and it's also a great way to learn about the differences between growing up now, and how Edward grew up in the Victorian years. There are some scary moments alongside quite emotional times when Edward is remembering his family and this was all brilliantly portrayed in the audio version too! It's a great mix for readers (and listeners!) of all ages!'
- Karen Mace, blogger
'This was a great listen... I really did enjoy following Ellie and her escapades with the mysterious boy at the window and the woman haunting her dreams... I didn't want to stop listening...I loved the way the story went with the twists and turns along the way making me smile and nod in approval...The narration is by Sally Millest... who reads the story expertly. I especially like her portrayal of the ghosts.
I definitely recommend this if you enjoy children's ghost stories and I can't wait to read or listen to the other books in the series.'
- Secret Library Book Blog
'This is the first book of Rob's I have listened to and I must say it was a great listen... I really liked how the story was written and it kept me hooked throughout as I wasn't sure who they could trust and what would happen at the end.'
- Simon, Audible Reviewer
'[T]he narrator's voice was perfect for this ghost story. Her voice brought the words to life, she really did a fantastic job. It also works well as an audiobook because it's short and the writing is great!...
I loved the descriptions in the story about the large house and what Ellie sees. My son sat with me for a bit while I listened to the story and he told me it sounded spooky...
Ellie starts to experience strange occurrences in the manor and soon enough we meet a ghost named Edward who is ten years old. He's mischievous and kind of bratty. We find out his back story and in a way, Ellie and Edward become friends or should I say allies? Because there is something else at work here at Inchwood Manor and Ellie tries to find out what's really going on.
I enjoyed the mystery and action in the story. I thought Charlie, Ellie's brother was a pretty funny character and typical of an older brother picking on his younger sibling. Edward, the ghost, also grew on me and Ellie was so patient with him, bless her heart for wanting to help him since at times he was such a terror.
I'm sure it would have been a quick read if I had the book because the writing is good and there was always something happening that moved the story forward and kept me interested. Also it's not scary at all. My daughter, who is two years old, laughed out loud when Charlie's character would say "Boo!". Instead of a scary ghost story, it was [a] tale of a broken heart, a lonely ghost and a girl trying to deal with moving into a strange house and her parents' divorce.
The audience for this book is middle grade readers, I believe, though I think it would be great for young adult and adults too. Overall, this audiobook was enjoyable to listen to and I think in ebook or physical book form would be a fun reading experience as well.'
- Starting Small Reads
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Childish Spirits reviewed by Glebe Primary School
Now available in audiobook, read by Sally Millest. Hear a sample here