From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Jon Whitcroft, an 11-year-old English boy, is not getting along with his mother's boyfriend, a pedantic dentist the boy has nicknamed "The Beard" for his silly facial hair. His mother sends him to the boarding school traditionally attended by his late father. Jon is visited by a murderous ghost and his servants determined to take revenge on the descendants of a man whose murder resulted in his hanging centuries ago. Sending this evil ghost to hell and redeeming the heart of a noble ghost knight form the action of Cornelia Funke's tale (Little, Brown, 2012). Jon learns courage and grace from his ghost-hunting experience and his relationship with Ella Littlejohn, whose grandmother is a witch. Some aspects of the plot don't make much sense, and the preteen characters are not entirely believable because they display the emotional maturity and sexual curiosity of older teenagers. Elliot Hill voices first-person narrator Jon beautifully as he develops from a whiney momma's boy to a courageous ghost hunter and knight's squire. He also does an excellent job with the plucky Ella, her quirky Aunt Zelda, Jon's roommates, and a variety of secondary male and female characters. Thankfully, the lugubrious introductory music is not featured throughout. An entertaining listen, but not up to the caliber of the author's "Ink Heart" trilogy.-Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, MEα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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"Funke's consummate way with setting, well interpreted in Offermann's looming illustrations, brings the medieval English town (and all of its ghosts) to life, from the sprawling boarding school campus to the echoes-of-the-past cathedral and eerie cemetery grounds; a side jaunt to Stonehenge even adds some levity. Appended notes discuss Funke's inspiration for the story and provide history about the real-life people and places."—Horn Book
"Funke follows her foray into YA (Reckless) with a simultaneously creepy and romantic middle-grade ghost story that will please her legions of younger fans. Despite the book's length, the story moves quickly, filled with daring midnight expeditions and close calls with death."—Publisher's Weekly
"Historic details about the real Hartgill, Longspee and Stourton are deftly woven into a ripping good story. It's told with self-effacing humor from the perspective of an awkward boy who emerges as honorable and brave as the ghost knight and the contemporary girl he befriends. Black-and-white illustrations add to the Tudor atmosphere and drama. Sword-swinging ghosts will haunt readers of this droll, harrowing and historically grounded ghost story."—Kirkus
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