A Frightful Recipe (The Chatswood Spooks, #1) by Notti Thistledore, Nela Krzewniak (Illustrator)
The Chatswood Spooks are in trouble. Their boss Toby has told them that if they don’t improve their scare tactics, they’ll have to find somewhere else to haunt. But the spooks have lived their entire afterlives at the Chatswood Manor, and are determined to show Toby just how scary they can be.
Unfortunately, they haven’t counted on having to scare Ivan the Fearless…
The Chatswood Spooks: A Frightful Recipe is the first in the Chatswood Spooks series. Each story is illustrated with black-and-white line drawings and detailed drop caps.
Age Group: 7 and up
Print Length: 28 pages
Publisher: Crooked Chimney Books (December 30, 2012)
If your kids are into spooky (but not too scary) things, then they will enjoy this short novel. A Frightful Recipe is about a group of ghosts that are having trouble with spooking. Their fearless guest isn’t making things any easier on them, either.
With short chapters and several illustrations dotted throughout its pages, this children’s novel is perfect for kids just moving into more complex reading. There are several opportunities for kids to expand their vocabulary without it getting overwhelming. The story is short and entertaining enough that they will be able to make it all the way through in a couple of sittings.
My daughters love spooky themes, and this book was right up their alley. They loved the decorative drop caps at the beginning of each chapter and the illustrations throughout. The artwork was fun and perfectly geared toward young readers.
Since it is such a short book, some of the minor characters create a little confusion when it comes to remembering names. I felt like some of them could have been omitted quite easily and the story would have been better off. However, the plot was humorous and my kids laughed at the ghosts’ attempts at scaring Ivan the Fearless. They loved the solution that the ghosts came up with to solve their problem.
Interview With The Author:
What is your favorite season and why?
I become a virtual recluse during the colder months, so summer is by far my favourite season. I love the feeling of being outside with the sun on my arms and face, of sitting beneath a tree with a book, of being woken by ever earlier sunrises and enjoying the ever lengthening sunsets. Summer thunderstorms are a peculiar beast, too, and there’s something wonderful about watching them roll in across the evening sky.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere I look! Books, particularly non-fiction books, and newspapers, the people around me (on whom I shamelessly eavesdrop), and also words. Wordplay is key to coming up with an odd twist on an idea. Travelling is also tremendously inspirational. Being somewhere unfamiliar and strange makes you observe so much more keenly.
Why did you decide to write children’s fiction?
I’m not sure that I deliberately decided to do so, actually. It seems that the stories I want to tell seem to be for younger readers. I’m an avid reader of children’s books myself, so perhaps on some level I want to be able to give back to a world that has given so much to me.
Writing is something I’ve done all my life, and I don’t think that anyone at all from my kindergarten or primary school years would be at all surprised to find out that I’ve gone down this path! I wrote my first “novel” in grade three, and I’ll never forget my grade six teacher’s encouragement to keep writing. Teachers can be hugely influential, and I think that many people can trace the formation of a dream back to a teacher who encouraged them.
Notti Thistledore writes very silly books for young readers. She lives in a rickety old house that may or may not be haunted (she hopes so, because that might increase its value) and which is full of dusty old books and cats and probably termites.