Knitbone Pepper- Ghost Dog by Claire Barker.
Being faithful and loyal is a dog’s role and so when Knitbone dies, he finds himself remaining at Starcross Hall with his much loved owner, Winnie Pepper. He finds he is part of a group of animals- Beloveds- whose role in death is to heroically protect the Peppers from out of date muffins and the like!
However, events take an alarming turn when the Pepper family find they may be forced to move and leave Starcross- and Knitbone- behind!
There is a real joy in holding and reading a lovely book- and this is a lovely book! It’s a satisfying size for little (and large!) hands, has a textured spine with a spider (little hint of things to come!) embossed in the margin, a silky blue bookmark attached and quality paper for the pages! The illustrations are humorous and in plentiful supply. The publishers have really invested in making this a stunning little book; the attention to detail- the end papers, chapter headings, the use of bones as the letter ‘i’- is wonderful!
A whole host of characters awaits the reader. The ghost Beloveds are entertaining- a spoon stealing monkey, a podgy hamster- and well developed, and the villains are quite horrible; Winnie’s parents are delightfully batty and disorganised, allowing this awful situation to develop; Winnie and Knitbone are devoted to each other. The plot moves along at a satisfying pace, holding the reader’s attention and exploring feelings of loss and the loneliness of losing a pet sensitively. These are not spooky ghosts- they are warm and loving, supporting their humans as devotedly in death as they did in life.
This is a charming, amusing story- with moving moments- that has been well written. Perfect for enjoying as a great read aloud with a class, this is also a book that could be used for inspiring writing. Can’t wait for the next one!