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Ghost Knight Hardcover – May 1, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316056146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316056144
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jon Whitcroft feels like Harry Potter must have felt when he lived under the stairs with the Dursleys. He has been sent off to a boarding school in Salisbury of all places. Yes, it is true this was his late father's school --- but somehow Jon suspects that the real reason he is there is because his mother has fallen for this dentist guy Jon calls "the Beard." Jon has been the man of the family since he was four years old, but now with The Beard around, nobody seems to care what happens to him. His mother is certainly too distracted to pay attention to him, so what can he do? The fates are against him.
At first, he is not too impressed with Salisbury. Yes, the cathedral is world famous, beautiful and full of history, but so what? Let all those tourists have fun because Jon is "Banished. Homeless. Mother-, dog-, and sisterless." He lives in a building that was known as the Bishop's Palace. There are endless corridors, rooms, doors and staircases, plus lots of strange faces. He has been put in a three-room, meaning he has two roommates: Angus Mulroney and Stuart Crenshaw. So here he is, like it or not. Now what will he do?

The "now what" is soon filled with the most unexpected adventure any boy could ever imagine --- even Harry Potter would find this exciting. Jon is going through his long days being somewhat interested in the colorful histories of the area, meeting his new teacher, Mr. Rifkin, getting better acquainted with the Popplewells who supervise the quarters, and catching insights into his quirky but nice roommates. However, on his sixth night at the school, Jon is awakened by noises outside his window. When he looks, he sees three ghostly figures on horses: "They looked like men who'd had their blood sucked out by the night.
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Format: Hardcover
Ghost Knight is a hard book to categorize. It's squarely within the boy-goes-to-English-boarding-school, has-supernatural-adventure genre (Funke acknowledges the parallels to Harry Potter). It's got murderous ghosts, demonic possessions, and a nearly scary-for-real amount of gore. It is written at a fifth-grade reading level, with illustrations and naivete that make it definitely more "Juvenile" than "Young Adult." I found Jon (the narrator)'s sarcasm and whining to be more grating than funny. But the setting is great -- the world of Salisbury, England (Cathedral, villages, Stonehenge) is brightly drawn by someone who has obviously been there and loved it.

Overall this is a fun modern-kid ghost story, but a little too mundane to compare to the dark and ethereal The Thief Lord or her nearly-transcedent Inkheart Trilogy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to admit that I have been a long time fan of Ms. Funke for many years now. I absolutely loved this book. It is like reading poetry and the imagery that she creates is stunning. I highly recommend this book. While some themes may not be suitable to younger children it is still worth checking out. Jon is such a likable character. Ella is strong and brave. Zelda is hysterical. And William is tragic and kind. Truly remarkable. I hope that there are many more to come with these characters.

Well done!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I listened to this story on audiobook. I really enjoyed it, but when I saw this hardcover edition at our public library, I had to have one for my own bookshelf. Cornelia tells a great story, but the way the illustrations are woven into the text makes this truly special. This story is listed as juvenile fiction in libraries, making it appropriate for elementary ages, but it is still engaging enough for older readers.
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Format: Hardcover
Ghosts, Knights, swords; moms, sons, step-dads; friends, girls, families; Ghost Knight, by Cornelia Funke, has them all.

Set in Salisbury, England, Funke tells the story of an eleven year old boy named Jon who is sent to boarding school by his mother. As we expect, Jon is unhappy about going to the school. He feels his mother is sending him away so that she can continue to grow her romantic relationship with a dentist known to readers only as, "The Beard." This is the nickname Jon has, quite un-affectionately, given to the man.

After wallowing in his misery at the school, a strange thing happens. Jon is approached by three ghosts. The story begins to unfold revealing that Jon is known to the ghost world by his mother's maiden name of Hartgill. From here, the story takes off and fills with ghosts of all types, adventures that could kill our characters, and maturing relationships on various levels.

While you may enjoy the pure fun of meeting ghosts, dueling knights, and even a little kidnapping, I think you'll mostly enjoy the relationships that Funke develops in this quick read. The story is told from Jon's point of view. From the language used, you sense he is re-telling a story that happened some time ago. It is as if Jon may be in his forties telling you of his first adventure with ghosts when he was eleven. From time to time Jon will say things that indicate the relationships formed at this young age are still important to him as an adult. In fact, one relationship in particular is referenced as though it has deepened considerably over time. This depth building leads me to believe that a sequel or perhaps a trilogy is in the works for these characters; although I have yet to see one announced.
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