‘Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog’ is a delightful debut from Claire Barker with fantastic illustrations provided by the very talented Ross Collins, which help bring the story to life. I’ve just managed to get my hands on this book as it’s been in my daughters To be Read pile which is just like mine increasingly out of control and in danger of toppling over. She gave it to me after I’ve been waiting patiently (not very) for her to finish reading it. “Its fab Mummy you need to read it and put it on your blog”, she told me, which is all very well and I would have read it ages ago if I had been allowed.
The book itself virtually leapt off the shelves into my hands because it looks so vibrant and inviting. In vivid shades of jade and orange it is perfectly spooky combined with Ross Collins beautifully detailed illustrations, on looks alone it is divine. I’m pleased to stay that the story itself matches the looks in being as equally as lovely.
Our story opens with Knitbone Pepper the family dog, discovering that he is dead and finds himself very unimpressed with the reality of his situation. His family The Peppers live in a tumble down mansion Starcross Hall and are totally crackers, wonderfully eccentric and are blissfully unaware of their home crumbling around them. When Knitbone dies it leaves a shadow over the family and Winnie (his favourite Pepper) is inconsolable and he doesn’t know what to do so he pretends not to be dead and carries on as if nothing is happened.
This blissful ignorance doesn’t last for long when Knitbone receives a mysterious invitation to join the ‘Spirits of Starcross’ and discovers that he Is the latest addition to the ‘Beloveds’ whose ‘love for their special human is so strong that they do not fade away.’ They include Gabriel the goose, Valentine the hare, Orlando the monkey and Martin the hamster. The Beloveds are the guardians of the estate and their duties up until now have been to keep the Pepper family safe from harm from dangerous things, such as out of date toothpaste, but all that is about to change.
We soon get to meet our dastardly villians Mrs Nora Sockpuppet head of the town council and Krispin O’ Mystery, ghost hunter extrordinare who plot together to try to get Starcross Hall from The Pepper family by fabricating an enormous debt. After Lord and Lady Pepper’s attempt to pay off the debt with 247 jars of honey and mega monster marrows fails, it’s up to our intrepid ‘Beloveds’ to try and save the day. The fun and chaos is then unleashed as they fight to the very end to save Starcross Hall and protect their family. This is a story jammed packed with thrills, spills and a nail biting finale.
I love all the characters in this story, Lord and Lady Pepper are warm, loyal and brilliantly eccentric you can feel the joy that fills their home on a daily basis. Winnie is fierce and loyal and combined with the Beloveds would make any would be wrong doer quake in their boots, This is such a great story and is truly irresistible you can’t help but get caught up in the world of the Pepper family. I would hightly recommend that you invite the Pepper family into your life and enjoy the rollercoaster of the ride that this adventure provides.
I’m obviously delighted that we have more fun and adventure to come with a release of a new Knitbone Pepper story in Spring 2016, when the great Circus Tombellini arrives at Starcross Hall.