Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell (Macmillan)– http://bookwagon.co.uk/product/goth-girl-ghost-mouse/
Ada Goth must be heard and not seen. She is compelled to wear heavy boots to announce her presence to her father so he may hide. Lord Goth grieves for his dead wife, Ada’s tightrope walking mother, whom she resembles closely. Ada is constantly watched throughout their sprawling gothic estate, from Marylebone- the invisible lady’s maid who lays out her clothing every day, to the kitchen staff, and the suggestively evil Maltravers, the indoor gamekeeper (who smells of wet carpets).
This fabulous story, the first of the ‘Goth Girl’ series, set in the fittingly Romantic Ghastly-Gorm Hall, includes a host of wonderful characters drawn from history and classic literature; from Ada and the poetry writing Lord Goth (representing Byron and his daughter), Ishmael Whiskers, who longs for his story to be told, the Polar Explorer (Ancient Mariner) or Dr Cabbage, employed to create a Chinese calculating machine for Lord Goth.
You can sense Chris Riddell’s’ delight in his creation when reading this book. While much of the wordplay, puns, characters and devices reminiscent of other eras and literature may go over the heads of younger readers, they will enjoy the fun and nonsense, and sheer improbability of the Children’s Laureate’s creation. From William Cabbage, who delights in being able to match his ghostly appearance to any of his surroundings, including flock wallpaper, the slew of familiar nannies (including Nana Darling the sheepdog), to Great Uncle Clock- ‘Little Ben clock maker trained mice to run up the clock and wind them up.’ There are asides and laughs to be had up sleeves throughout the story.
Despite these and the dazzlingly wonderful illustrations the pace and drama are not undermined. We are enthralled as Ada and her newly found friends, Ishmael, Emily and William Cabbage and the staff children- ‘What happens in the Attic Club stays in the Attic Club’- seek to curb Maltravers’ evil plans for the night of the Metaphorical Bicycle Race and the Indoor Hunt. Bronnie