Nine-year-old Tom is not exactly the most graceful boy around. After an especially disastrous day, all he wants to do is retreat into his bedroom, but his mother asks him to go down to the cellar for orange juice. Tom is terrified at the thought, and for good reason: a ghost resides down there. His fears are confirmed when he enters the cellar, and the haunt very unpleasantly makes its presence felt. Yet nobody believes Tom–not his father, his mother, or his know-it-all big sister, who ridicules him every chance she gets. Granny is the only person who takes him seriously. When she comes for dinner on Sunday, Tom wastes no time in telling her about his experience in the cellar. “ ’This is serious business, but I’m afraid I can’t help you...However...I do have a friend who knows about ghosts.’ ” With these words, Tom’s Granny sends him to Hetty Hyssop, a world-renowned ghosthunter. Hetty agrees to help the desperate boy and teaches him how to rid the cellar of the ghost. But when Tom confronts him, the spook tells a surprising tale: how he was evicted from his previous abode by a more sinister ghost, and if he is forced to leave, he will have nowhere to go. Hetty and Tom have no choice: they must vanquish the dangerous specter.
The talented author of Igraine the Brave, Dragon Rider, Inkheart and sequels, and many more outstanding novels has penned a delightfully spooky series. Humor, action, and suspense combine to make the Ghosthunters favorites with readers who like their stories scary (but not too scary) and kids who enjoy an entertaining read. Tom is a character many will identify with and cheer for. Funke's comical, expressive black-and-white illustrations perfectly match the tone of the stories. A winning series all around. 135 pages. Ages 7-10
Recommended by Basya Karp, Librarian.