BOOK REVIEWS

Haunted Histories: Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons, and Powerful Palaces (Christy Ottaviano Books) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2016-07-02 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 11 user ratings
ISBN:0805089713
LANGUAGE:English

"Marilyn Scott-Waters, (The Toymaker's Workshop, The Toymaker's Christmas, Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself) may be the only illustrator I know who can draw skeletons that show personality. She is also adept in creating expressions that convey character, from those of the narrator, Ghostarian Virgil Dante, to the persons who inhabited various castles, towers and dungeons through the centuries. Her diagrammatic drawings of these places are a helpful adjunct to the tales spun out by historian J.H. Everett, who provides fascinating background information for the venues Virgil explores, and fills us in on little-known facts. Did you know, for example, that a child's job during the siege of a castle might be to hurl rocks at the enemy (or insults)? How about the Top Ten Torture Devices, or Daily Workhouse Activities for Kids? This is a well-researched and charmingly illustrated history of some of the darker locations of our past." said.

"As a teacher, finding a book that approaches history from a subject oriented view instead of the same old (boring) "one darn thing after another" format is refreshing. Wonderfully detailed and fun illustrations make this not only enlightening but infinitely entertaining. I would like to see more of the promised ghosts actually telling their own stories!" said.

"This book has not left my car yet. It is the perfect read while I wait for my kids in the school parking lot - and for my kids while they wait for me. I love the way my son reads a little section, and then mulls over what he just learned. This little book definitely raises interest in a kid, making him curious to learn more!" said.

"I tell you- this is the way to learn! Great illustrations to- so charming. This book would be a great addition to any classroom, and a great gift for an elementary/middle school student." said.

"I recently purchased this book on a whim for two reasons: 1. I love history, and 2. I love paranormal literature. I was excited to read how the book's main character, a ghost whisperer if you will, would converse with ghosts who lived in the various castles, dungeons, and prisons the protagonist visited. Instead, we are given an interesting, but dry description of the locales, one of which I've visited in person, but found the facts regarding the place somewhat lifeless and flat.

My main complaint with the book is that paranormal premise isn't played out at all. I believe the protagonist talks with two or so ghosts during the book, leaving the rest of the narrative to be pushed along by facts. Don't misunderstand me - I love facts. But if you can deliver facts through an interesting narrative lens, like ghosts, then why not do so? Why not allow the various personalities of the ghosts take over the narrative, enabling children the chance to see how many of these famous folks were viewed during their time, as well as how they're viewed now? I would have liked to have seen the main protagonist take us to a locale, introduce us to a famous ghost, and then listen to that ghost's story. Instead, there are a few poor attempts to string together such ghosts, but they are as lifeless as a traditional history book, which is what this book essentially is.

Is the book worth a read? If you like history, then I would tell you to go for it - just don't put out much hope in the paranormal promise issued in the book's beginning. Otherwise, you'll find yourself disappointed like me.

Keith
" said.

"I thought that is arrived at a great time it arrived 2 days after purchase thats again I will order again" said.

"Very spooky and mysterious! My 10-year old LOVES this book, and as soon as his (also 10 year old) cousin saw it, she grabbed it and wouldn't let it go! They both highly recommend it!" said.

"I got this for my kid trying to engage his reading disinterest. I like it, the history is entertainingly presented and the graphics are great. Him, not so much! I think kids who like graphic stories, history &/or suspense." said.

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