The Beasts of Clawstone Castle
by Eva Ibbotson
Madlyn and Rollo are not, at first, happy to be sent to spend the summer at their great-aunt and great-uncle's rundown castle in the north of England. But Rollo, who loves animals, soon falls in love with the herd of otherworldly, white cattle who live on the castle grounds. And Madlyn personally takes charge of the campaign to save Clawstone Castle from falling into the clutches of a greedy gravel magnate who wants to turn it into suburban sprawl.
It's going to be tough to fight off the grasping Lord Trembellow. He knows how to manipulate the system. And he also has enough money to create a tourist trap that steals all the business from Aunt Emily and Uncle George. So Madlyn does what any reasonable child would do - she holds auditions for a haunting and hires several ghosts who, with a bit of practice, could be quite terrifying.
But then something dreadful happens to the white cattle. Something even more mysterious than dreadful...until somewhat later, when it becomes even more dreadful than mysterious...and the only hope for saving Clawstone Castle lands in the lap of three small children (counting the caretaker's son) and a bevy of oh-so-helpful ghosts.
Once again, Eva Ibbotson chases away a child's fear of things that go bump, with a story full of warmhearted silliness and people who are much scarier alive than dead. It can also be very gratifying to kids who care about animals, the fate of political refugees, and the preservation of historical buildings. Light reading to be sure, but who hasn't needed something bright and bubbly now and again?
Recommended Age: Age: 10+
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