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The Great Ghost Rescue

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The ghosts of Britain need a sanctuary. Castles with central heating, bogs drained for motorways, dismal forests cleared for car parks-there are few places left for a respectable ghost to haunt. Humphrey the Horrible (actually his name is simply Humphrey-he added "the Horrible" to help himself become horrible) is a small, mostly unsuccessful ghost in a family of ghastly ghouls. His mother worries. But Humphrey has enough pluck to befriend a smart, politically aware schoolboy, Rick Henderson, who is willing to take the ghosts' cause right to the top, to number 10 Downing Street-home of the Prime Minister.

167 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1975

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About the author

Eva Ibbotson

57 books2,212 followers
Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy.

She was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, her family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in education in 1965. Ibbotson had intended to be a physiologist, but was put off by the amount of animal testing that she would have to do. Instead, she married and raised a family, returning to school to become a teacher in the 1960s. Ibbotson was widowed with three sons and a daughter.

Ibottson began writing with the television drama 'Linda Came Today', in 1965. Ten years later, she published her first novel, The Great Ghost Rescue. Ibbotson has written numerous books including The Secret of Platform 13, Journey to the River Sea, Which Witch?, Island of the Aunts, and Dial-a-Ghost. She won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for Journey to the River Sea, and has been a runner up for many of major awards for British children's literature.

Her books are imaginative and humorous, and most of them feature magical creatures and places, despite the fact that she disliked thinking about the supernatural, and created the characters because she wanted to decrease her readers' fear of such things.

Some of the books, particularly Journey to the River Sea, also reflect Ibbotson's love of nature. Ibbotson wrote this book in honor of her husband (who had died just before she wrote it), a former naturalist. The book had been in her head for years before she actually wrote it.

Ibbotson said she dislikes "financial greed and a lust for power" and often creates antagonists in her books who have these characteristics. Some have been struck by the similarity of "Platform 9 3/4" in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books to Ibbotson's The Secret of Platform 13, which came out three years before the first Harry Potter book.

Her love of Austria is evident in works such as The Star Of Kazan and A Song For Summer. These books, set primarily in the Austrian countryside, display the author's love for nature and all things natural.

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901 (36%)
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783 (31%)
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148 (5%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 145 reviews
Profile Image for Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore.
762 reviews169 followers
November 1, 2018
In this one, somewhat like the last Ibbotson I read (Dial-a-Ghost), a family of ghosts find themselves homeless after many centuries, for modern humans can never seem to leave any place alone, or any one (human, animal, or ghost) to live their lives in peace, covering everything with concrete, noise, and garbage, and destroying any bit of nature they can lay their hands on. But luckily for this family, headed by the Gliding Kilt and his wife, the Hag, they meet a little boy at his school, Rick, who empathises with his fellow creatures and sets out to help them get a sanctuary for ghosts. Soon news of their ‘mission’ spreads all over, and various ghosts and other creatures begin to join them. The youngest of the ghost family, Humphrey is called Humphrey the Horrible, but is anything but horrible. But when their path to securing their sanctuary turns out to be riddled with far more danger than they had anticipated, it is Humphrey who has to act, to save his family, the other ghosts, and himself.

This was once again a fun read but much more than just an adventure story with ghosts. The author, as I read from her bio had moved to England from Vienna, from where her family had to flee during the Nazi regime, and this book certainly reflects those experiences. There are places where she expressly talks about people who are not wanted because they are different, but really the whole book is about that as well—that everyone, animal, human, even ghost or vampire-bat is entitled to a place where they can live securely and happily. These creatures may be different but perhaps the real horror is caused by humans who seem to keep destroying everything, animals’ habitats, food sources, open spaces, and then target the animals for whatever they do in their desperation; target those who are ‘different’ just for being so. Another point that stands out is how we judge others so readily, yet rarely evaluate our own actions.

But I am making it sound all serious—while these themes are indeed what stand out, this is also an adventure story, where there are ghosts of various sorts in need of a home, a perilous journey to be made to find that home and even a villain to be defeated to finally achieve it, and this book has all those elements and also some touches of humour.

Though more serious than what I had in mind for Halloween, this was still an enjoyable and fun read!

A version of this appears on my blog here: https://potpourri2015.wordpress.com/2...
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,126 reviews104 followers
November 25, 2020
Well, for the most part, I have found Eva Ibbotson's 1975 children's novel The Great Ghost Rescue fun and engaging (full of both laugh out loud and sly humour as well as being imbued with just enough mild icky creepiness, but also presenting much wisdom and many important but never in my opinion too overly didactic messages regarding ecology and especially promoting an appreciation of and for history and that older buildings, castles and such should not automatically be considered as passé, as needing to be modernised or worse, actually needing to be torn down to make room for newer and supposedly therefore better and superior constructions and buildings).

And yes, for a middle grade novel, The Great Ghost Rescue is actually surprisingly nuanced and with for the most part good if not delightful character development. For I do love how young Rick not only immediately takes charge and tries to start working on a plan to recuse the United Kingdom's displaced ghosts and to find them a government ordained official sanctuary (as so many of them are being turned out of their ancestral castles and homes due to modernity, so-called evolution and development) but that Rick is also willing and able to challenge his own beliefs and to make changes as necessary (such as for example, realising that his own consumption of meat is not really all that different from vampire bats needing to consume blood in order to stay alive), not to mention that at the end of The Great Ghost Rescue when all danger is past, when the exorcists have been trounced and order has been restored at Insleyfarne, Rick also makes sure that ghost friend Humphrey receives the accolades and praise he so richly deserves (for having gone to fetch Rick back to Insleyfarne at the proverbial nick of time) by stating that from now on Humphrey should be known as Humphrey the Heroic (that if Rick is to have the moniker of Rick the Rescuer, then Humphrey for his own courage at leaving by himself and indeed very ill and weak due to the exorcisms to search for Rick and tell him of Lord Bullhaven's treachery must now be seen and addressed as Humphrey the Heroic).

Furthermore and indeed, the only (and while minor still somewhat annoying) reason why I am rating The Great Ghost Rescue with a high three stars and not yet with four stars is that personally and from a textual and narrational point of departure, I do find the entire scenario that Insleyfarne is meant to be a trap and Lord Bullhaven not only a villain but a total and utter cardboard-like flat arch-evil entity par excellence a bit facile, a bit too one-sidedly out of the blue and unexpected. For while Lord Bullhvaven's treachery and his nefarious ploy to have all of the ghosts of Great Britain exorcised out of existence does I guess set the necessary stage in The Great Ghost Rescue for a final showdown and battle, and of course also for Humphrey to show his personal mettle and heroism, I definitely would much prefer it if the Insleyfarne trap and Lord Bullhaven's villainy and treachery were not so totally unexpected, in other words, that there should definitely be a few more obvious indications of potential evil and villainy provided by Eva Ibbotson right when we first set eyes on and meet up with Lord Bullhaven in the Prime Minster's office.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,250 reviews
October 26, 2009
So much fun, yet surprisingly thoughtful and touching, too. It's my perfect dose of "Halloween-ness" since it's a bit creepy and icky and we have ghosts and skulls and headless aunties, but it's all sort of cozy somehow and so humorous and it's like a real "family" despite the fact the mom is a hag, the father is the ghosts of a Scotsman whose legs were cut off in battle, and the son is a ghost named Humphrey who TRIES to live up to "the Horrible" tag at the end of his name. YAY! I LOVED this book! Absolutely loved it! I truly think fans aching for more along the lines of Harry Potter will enjoy this book because what makes HP come alive for me, made it truly exciting and moving and special, is the characters and all the little nuances and how before you even know it, you feel that you have met them and you are fast friends (or enemies!) and Ibbotson has that same glorious skill in creating her characters, even though the overall plot complexity of this novel is much less epic and detailed than HP. I can't wait to read more from Ibbotson and I hope this isn't a one-off but just a shining example of more treasures to come.

Thank you so much, Abigail, for making me take notice of Ibbotson!
Profile Image for Lena.
344 reviews238 followers
October 30, 2022
5 ⭐

Name a cooler thing than reading spooky kids books right before Halloween. I'll wait.

The Great Ghost Rescue is definitely one of the best ghost story I know and no, I am not just saying that because I read it all the time as a kid, but because the story is still so fun to read even if you are an adult like me.
(the fact that I am now legally an adult is hysterical)

If you are curious what this book is about:

It's about the (not so scary) ghost Humphrey the Horrible and his (very scary) ghost family who are searching for a new home, after loosing their beloved old castle to new owners and dreadful modernization.
A task which turns out to be a lot more difficult than anticipated, as it has to be a dark and very old place perfect for haunting, and those places are rare to find in these days.
But luckily, their new human friend Rick is here to help them with the perfect plan...

Doesn't the story alone sound amazing? I promise you the real thing is even better.

I've seen a few reviews where people said that this book was too preachy for them, probably because the author was an environment activist and it shows.
I honestly don't mind though, as I don't see anything wrong with teaching kids that caring about the environment is cool in a fun way.

Also The Great Ghost Rescue was written in the 70s and the 70s were just built different.

Speaking of which: Even if this book is almost 50 years old it sure doesn't feel like it, besides that it's way cooler than any recently published kids book I know.
Profile Image for Ann.
510 reviews
February 2, 2011
What a thoroughly enjoyable book!
Ibbotson has such a way with words. Not only in her ability to select words that sound fantastic, but the images she's able to conjure are truly vivid and fantastic!

"The Great Ghost Rescue" deals with a young boy, Rick, who must try to get the Prime Minister to create a Ghost Sanctuary as a place for all the haunts to go to as their homes/habitats keep dwindling. Obviously, this is loads of fun as we meet all sorts of Ghoulish beings and their stories. But added to this are themes of prejudice, environmentalism, etc. Sometimes I did feel that these messages were a tad 'heavy handed' but overall I didn't mind as the story and characters were so enjoyable. Also, sometimes I found Ibbotson's explanations were contradictory, and it's really only these two things that kept me from giving this book five stars (something I very much wanted to do!).

As sweet and charming as this tale is, it's not without some slightly icky descriptions (which are thankfully told in a very lighthearted way). Also, the book could also raise some concerns among young readers who will find themselves questioning non-vegetarian diets, environmentalism, etc. All good questions, but know that the issues are raised.

All in all this is a fun and fast read and I'm already delving into other Ibbotson works! :) Highly recommended!


Finally reading this! I've meant to for the past year and a half or so. I'm quite excited :D Seems like it will be a good way to start of 2011 reading :)
Profile Image for Qt.
503 reviews
November 2, 2010
Another pleasant, humorous ghostly story by Eva Ibbotson; I quite liked this one, and it was a good Halloween read for me. The various ghosts were interesting and I liked the British setting :-)
Profile Image for Guguk.
1,312 reviews65 followers
April 28, 2018
Aksi menyelamatkan para hantu dari kemodernan manusia XD
Khas Ms. Ibbotson, yang kisahnya penuh humor menggelitik serta sarkasme atas kelakuan semena-mena manusia.
Profile Image for Robbie Cheadle.
Author 27 books135 followers
September 20, 2019
The ghosts of Britain are struggling. Their haunts are being turned into spas and air conditioned luxury mansions and the wonderful ancient features that make their homes feel like home are disappearing rapidly. The ghosts of Britain are, in essence, an endangered species.

When Humphrey the Horrible, the son of a Scottish legless ghost and a hag, is forced to leave his home with both his parents, his siblings and his grandmother, who died by beheading during the reign of King Henry VIII, he accidentally meets Rick the Rescuer when the family stops for the night in Rick's school dormitory. After hearing Humphrey's story and meeting the rest of his family, Rick soon realised that the ghosts of Britain need a sanctuary. He decides to travel with the ghosts to London to meet his MP and petition his to create the much needed sanctuary. Along the way, the family meets up with a number of other homeless ghosts who are keen to join them on their quest.

The group sets off to London and proceed with their plan but they soon discover that the best laid plans can go awry and sometimes it is necessary to pull out the "big guns" to sort out unscrupulous people and thwart their evil plans.

I found this book to be a highly entertaining fantasy book for middle school children.
Profile Image for Julianne.
356 reviews9 followers
August 23, 2008
This is a read-aloud book! If you're looking for a book to read to your kids, this is it! I was in the book section of a Wal*Mart one day long ago and bought this book thinking to give it to my sister's kids. But I might as well read it first, right? So I'm reading this book to myself alone at night and I found myself wanting to read it out loud! To my junior high kids. However, as I had already retired from teaching, I had to stifle that desire. But I called my junior high school librarian and told her to put this on the shelf and put it on the list of read-aloud books!

Meanwhile, this is a great book about some ghosts in England who suddenly become homeless. Each ghost has a peculiar personality quirk, which makes it funny. They have a human who takes up their cause and wants to help them acquire a nice castle in the north to use as a ghost retirement home. Government red tape gets in the way. Great fun! And your kids will laugh out loud at the antics of all the characters!

May be out of print. Try the library.
Profile Image for Amelia.
Author 9 books83 followers
June 15, 2017
We stayed up late finishing this book last night, and I'm tempted to throw over Percy Jackson in favor of reading Eva Ibbotson's entire oeuvre. She has such a clear voice and a charming, gentle sense of humor... a decidedly pre-21st-century sense of humor, apparently, because I noticed it more than the kids did.

This story is about a family of ghosts who've been modernized out of their nice, moldering home, and are rescued by a boy, who then has to go in and rescue them again. The ending is honestly pretty perfect.

Once again, I find the older children's books are better for reading aloud than most of the more recent stuff, in terms of both sentence structure and chapter length, even if the plots are sometimes a little slower.

Profile Image for Shaunesay.
605 reviews58 followers
October 26, 2018
I'm so glad I discovered Eva Ibbotson, and just wish I'd known about her when I was middle grade age! Her stories are all cute and funny, but also include statements on big issues. This one is from 1975, and the boy in the story is showing concern about all the things that get used up and animals that die off, and being fair to everyone and finding a safe place for all ghosts. Definitely a fun read with a message, I would definitely recommend her, and will continue to find and read of hers what I can!
Profile Image for Nadishka Aloysius.
Author 24 books60 followers
March 14, 2019
Eva Ibbotson is a best-selling children's author. She was born in Vienna but fled to England with her family during the Second World War. Her books have been shortlisted for some of the most prestigious awards in the world including the Whitbread Children's Book Award, the Carnegie Medal and the Smarties Prize. She has written books for a variety of age groups, on a variety of topics, and her best known novels include Dial a Ghost, The Star of Kazan and Journey to the River Sea.
The book I am reviewing today is suitable for readers age 10+. It is one of Ibbotson's paranormal stories and is funny, gripping and a joy to read.
Humphrey the Horrible is a young ghost who lives with his family in a haunted castle. He is unlike other spooks because he is not scary at all. His ectoplasm is peach in colour, his eye sockets twinkle and his bones make a bell-like tinkly sound. His whole world is turned upside down when some developers move in and upgrade their house. The evicted ghosts travel a great distance in search of another place to stay. They end up, quite by accident, in the dormitory of a boys' boarding school. But it is a lucky mistake, since they meet an extraordinary boy named Rick. Rick is concerned with the modernization prevalent in the world. He wants to save indigenous people and endangered animals. When he meets the ghosts in his bedroom, he suggests to them that they find a sanctuary. He also confides in his friend Barbara (the cook's daughter) who suggests that they travel to London and put their suggestion before the Prime Minister himself. The resulting journey is full of new wonders for Rick, since they meet many other homeless ghouls, sprites and vampire bats, all of whom are in trouble due to excessive pollution, deforestation and destruction of ancient buildings. When they finally manage to reach the Prime Minister, he is in conversation with a Lord Bullhaven. Although the PM has no solution to the problem Lord Bullhaven immediately offers a run-down castle in Scotland as a suitable place for the ghost sanctuary. The relieved travellers make their way to their new home and settle in. They are soon joined by many other paranormal beings in need of shelter. However, the seemingly generous offer turns out to be a trap. They awake one day to the chanting of an exorcism, led by the evil Bullhaven. Fortunately, Humphrey is able to survive through sheer will power, and return to the boys' school for help. Rick and his friends arrive with the help of some witches and save the day.
Although this series was written in the 1970's long before the Harry Potter phenomenon, I think it has gained a lot of followers in our post-Potter world. J. K. Rowling's work aroused interest in the supernatural and Iva Ibbotson's stories are a fantastic follow-up to young readers thirsting for more. The biggest draw, I think is that the tales are not scary - they are not horror stories. The ghosts and ghouls are harmless and most often victims of human behaviour. There are also central human characters who embody the best qualities of humanity.
The Great Ghost Rescue is no exception. Rick is an honest, resourceful, selfless and committed young person who is willing to travel many miles to help those in need. He is concerned about the future of the planet, as only a child can be. "It seemed to Rick that by the time he was grown up, all the interesting animals and plants and people would have gone, and there'd be nothing left but huge blocks of flats and boring shops and motorways." This is a wonderful role model for any child reading the book. Another special character I liked was Humphrey. He does not play a major role until the end. He is criticised by many other spectres for being different. His family are supportive, but nevertheless rather disappointed in him. He finds his place through his perseverance and courage. The lesson he follows is one all children (and adults) too would benefit from - "If you've got something difficult to do, don't think of it all laid out in front of you. Just think of the next step. You can always take just one more step." This motivates him to fight his physical pain and selflessly work to save his family and friends. So, it is no surprise that he is known as Humphrey the Heroic at the end.
In recent years the market has been flooded with more and more books focusing on the supernatural. As a lover of fantasy, I can understand the attraction. However, we as parents need to be mindful of the books our children pick up. Not all are harmless. If your child is a fan of ghosts and ghouls - then this series is definitely worth trying out! Eva Ibbotson's books are available in all leading bookshops.
Profile Image for Vicki.
1,223 reviews25 followers
November 18, 2022
Very nice middle-grades fantasy told with humor but also working in moral values and ecological principles. The young protagonists show kindness, determination, and resourcefulness in establishing a sanctuary for ghosts displaced by modern land use.
Profile Image for Cinara.
561 reviews7 followers
September 25, 2022
"Quando tiver que fazer uma coisa difícil, não pense em tudo que se encontra à sua frente de uma vez. Pense somente no próximo passo. Você sempre conseguirá dar mais um passo"

Todos merecem um lar, até mesmo fastasmas fedidos...
Está quase chegando o fim da minha maratona Eva Ibbotson e eu já quero reler tudo de novo! E preciso real de um fantasma pra chamar de meu!
Profile Image for Namratha.
1,073 reviews234 followers
August 20, 2008
Humphrey is a lovable little ghost, the colour of summer clouds and cursed with twinkling eye-sockets. He wants to be “Humphrey the Horrible” .....downright scary like his impressively hideous family. But that’s the least of his problems.

Craggyford Castle, their home for the past 500 years is soon going to be converted into a holiday resort and they need to find a new home.....soon. In their search they come along Rick, a small boy in a school dormitory who appears to have the solution to their woes. Rick’s plan: head off to London and make an appeal to the Prime Minister for a Ghost Sanctuary.

Meanwhile, ghosts and other spectres elsewhere are also losing their homes as rivers get polluted with industrial waste...lovely old estates get converted to tourist hotels and green fields morph into smog-filled motorways. Rick and his motley crew are soon accompanied by displaced ghosts and even a family of blood-starved vampire bats.

A grave (pun, wholly unintentional) problem indeed! Will Rick’s grandiose plan work? Will the Prime Minister do his job or be a skeptical non-believer? And will the ghosts find a place where they can truly, in the full sense of the word.....Rest In Peace?

Eva Ibbotson’s droll sense of humour effectively puts across an ecological message. In a time when animals are losing their natural habitats and the world is becoming a messier place to live in.....is it too much a suspension of reality to imagine, that ‘undead’ creatures are facing a nasty end too?

A fantastical tale..yes, but with it’s heart in the right place.
Profile Image for Jackie.
4,098 reviews46 followers
October 22, 2008
It is a sad day in the ghostly world, when all of the deliciouly scummy, maggotty, worm-infested haunts are being overrun by...urban sprawl? Humphrey, the Horrible, who really isn't too horrible, befriends a human boy, Rick Henderson. Rick learns about the terrible trouble infesting the ghostly world. Their favorite haunts are being turned into casinos, luxury hotels and (glup...) bed and breakfast inns, for goodness sake! Rick takes kindly to their woes and devises a plan to rescue his new other-world friends. Mabel and Hamish and their children George, Winnie and Humphrey need to find a new place to haunt, er...that is, live. They are graciously given a new place to live by a wealthy politician, Lord Bullhaven. So, off they travel to Insleyfarne, a castle completely left to rot. The spirits are overjoyed! Along the way they are joined by Aunt Horensia and her ghostly carriage, Sucking Susie and her vampire bat kiddies, the Mad Monk, Shuk; a one-eyed, three-tailed dog and many others who have lost their dwelling places to modern-day improvements. At first, all is well, but danger is once again lurking for these spirits in Insleyfarne. It's 'Rick Henderson to the Rescue' again! A very bewitching, surprise ending awaits all who dare to read The Great Ghost Rescue by Eva Ibbotson.
Profile Image for Almira.
545 reviews2 followers
June 19, 2019
Humphrey (young ghost) wants to be known as "Humphrey the Horrible", but it is pretty obvious to all his ghostly relatives that Humphrey isn't "horrible".

When his family is uprooted from their "haunts", he makes the acquaintance of a young school boy, Rick, who is at an awful boarding school, and is in dire need of an adventure. Along with the assistance of Rick's friend, Barbara, Humphrey and his family proceed on a journey to London to meet the Prime Minister, who they hope will set up a sanctuary for ghosts.

During their journey they are joined by many other ghosts, spirits, bats, who are also being uprooted from their haunts - some by the razing of properties, some by pollution, and some by lose of habitat that they require for shelter during daylight hours.

Dastardly Lord Bullhaven has other ideas about a ghostly sanctuary, even IF the Prime Minister has granted the ghosts, spirits, and bats an out of the way area for them...……..

This story, written originally in 1975, deals with the onslaught of what we are now facing with pollution of rivers, farmland being bought, then concreted over for buildings, parking lots, etc.
Each ghost or spirit does have a story related to English History of by gone days.

Profile Image for Justine Laismith.
Author 2 books18 followers
October 27, 2018
I am amazed that this middle-grade book was published in 1975. The themes and topics the author touched on (eg pollution, immigration) are as current today as it was 40 years ago. Because many of the characters are ghosts, we go even further back in time. When the ghosts from different eras emerged, we learn about their backstory and get a glimpse into UK’s history. History lessons so subtly done!

If you are looking for a Halloween-themed book for a young middle grader, check this one out. It’s got all the “spooky” characters children will have come across, like ghosts, witches and spirits, but they can easily be any animal or human characters, just with a little quirk. One of my laugh-out-loud moments was when the River Spirit asked this family of ghosts to look at his tonsils. “He opened his mouth and let out a stream of dirty brown water and they all took turns peering into his throat.”

A fun read.
Profile Image for EmiliAna.
305 reviews2 followers
November 3, 2019
Ob es nun ihre gefühlvollen, berührenden Romane für Erwachsene sind oder ihre phantasievollen und ganz bezaubernden Bücher für junge Leser - Eva Ibbotson zu lesen ist immer ein Fest! Kaum jemand sonst erschafft so liebenswerte Charaktere, mit denen man unglaublich schnell vertraut wird, ganz so, als würde man sie schon ewig kennen, kaum jemand sonst auch webt so feine, zu Herzen gehende, nachdenklich machende Geschichten, in denen sie ihre Botschaften unaufdringlich und mit viel Charme, Humor und immer auch einer guten Portion Exzentrik zum Leser transportiert, wie die einst in Wien geborene englische Schriftstellerin, die im Jahre 2010 hochbetagt verstarb! Und ihre Botschaften sind immer die gleichen, welche Geschichte auch immer sie erzählte: soziales Bewusstsein und Toleranz, Respekt, Wertschätzung, freundlicher und verantwortungsvoller Umgang miteinander und mit der Welt, in der wir alle leben. Ihre Kinderbücher standen völlig zu Recht stets auf den renommierten Bücherlisten ihres Landes und die fantastischen unter ihnen, von denen die allermeisten in der Vor-Harry Potter-Zeit veröffentlicht wurden, erleben im Zuge von Joanne K. Rowlings Bestsellern eine wohlverdiente Renaissance!

An dieser Stelle habe ich das große Vergnügen, Eva Ibbotsons allererstes Kinderbuch, "Das Geheimnis der Geister von Craggyford" zu besprechen, das bereits 1975 unter dem englischen Titel "The Great Ghost Rescue" und in den 90er Jahren unter dem sehr passenden deutschen Titel "Aktion Geisterrettung" erschienen ist.

Sympathisch sind sie allemal, diese auf den ersten Blick gar nicht ansprechenden Gespenster mit ihren seltsamen, stark gewöhnungsbedürftigen Marotten, die sich aber flugs und dank der liebevollen Anteilnahme ihrer Schöpferin an ihrem Schicksal ins Herz des Lesers schleichen - um sich fest darin zu verankern! Man muss ja Mitgefühl haben mit dieser Geisterfamilie, die da so plötzlich ihrer Heimstatt, einem alten Schloss, beraubt wurde, das zu einem blitzblanken Ferienpark ausgebaut werden soll. Die Reinlichkeit, die von nun an in ihrem einst so gemütlichen, von Spinnweben überwucherten Spukschloss einziehen soll, ist überdies nichts, was ihrem Ektoplasma, dem Stoff, aus dem Geister nun mal gemacht sind, und das nur in schmutzigen Ecken erhalten und gepflegt werden kann, förderlich wäre! Guter Rat ist teuer - aber der glückliche Zufall und womöglich auch eine Art siebter Sinn führen die Geisterfamilie - Humphrey, den Schrecklichen, der vergeblich bemüht ist, seinem Namen Ehre zu machen, seine Eltern, die übel duftende Hexe und ihren geliebten Ehemann, den beinlosen Schottischen Kilt, samt den Geschwistern, George, der Schreiende Schädel, und die Wehklagende Winifred - eines schönen Tages direkt vor Ricks Bett in einem Jungeninternat irgendwo in England. Und sie hätten sich kein besseres Ziel aussuchen können, denn Rick ist ein besonderer Junge - wie alle Protagonisten in Eva Ibbotsons Romanen! Er hat, wie man so schön sagt, das Herz auf dem rechten Fleck, ist so hilfsbereit wie abenteuerlustig und macht sich darüberhinaus viele Gedanken um all die Missstände, über die man bereits vor über 40 Jahren zu reden begann, wie Klima, Umweltzerstörung und Artenschutz. Ein echter Pionier also, der gemeinsam mit der so klugen wie patenten Barbara, einziges Mädchen in der Jungenschule, deren Besuch ihr nur deshalb gestattet ist, weil sie die Tochter der Köchin ist, mit der man es sich unter keinen Umständen verderben möchte, einen Plan schmiedet, um den Fortbestand der Geister Großbritanniens, einer aussterbenden Spezies, zu sichern. Gemeinsam mit der Geisterfamilie macht sich Rick auf den Weg nach London, um beim Premierminister höchstpersönlich wegen eines Geisterreservats vorstellig zu werden, eine Reise, die äußerst turbulent verläuft, auf der sie weitere, ihrer Behausung beraubter Geister aufsammeln und an deren Ende sich ein gewisser Lord Bullhaven bereit erklärt, für das geplante Reservat seinen verkommenen Landbesitz Insleyfarne an der wilden schottischen Küste zur Verfügung zu stellen. Eine Falle, wie sich herausstellt, als es schon fast zu spät ist, denn Lord Bullhaven - man ahnt es schon bei der ersten Begegnung mit ihm - ist ein gar unsympathischer Zeitgenosse; er hasst Geister, wie er überhaupt alles hasst, was nicht britisch ist. Und Geister sind für ihn, man lese und staune, Ausländer!

Spätestens hier wird dem schon etwas älteren Leser klar, dass die Autorin, wie in den meisten ihrer Romane, eigene bittere Erfahrungen reflektiert, gehörte sie doch, als österreichischer Flüchtling in den frühen Nazijahren, zu eben jener unerwünschter Volksgruppe, der ob ihres vermeintlichen Andersseins in den Augen leider allzuvieler Menschen kein Platz auf unsrem Planeten zugebilligt wurde. Und indem Eva Ibbotson ihre Craggyford-Geister nebst allen anderen vertriebenen Angehörigen dieser Spezies einen Ort zum Leben fordern lässt, plädiert sie gleichzeitig für Toleranz allen Andersartigen gegenüber, ob Mensch, Tier, Geist oder Vampir, und deren Rechte auf Glück und Sicherheit.

Dass die Geister dem vom bösen Bullford angeordneten Exorzismus, der, obwohl er so fatale Folgen hat, ausgesprochen vergnüglich zu lesen ist, nicht zum Opfer fallen, darf fest vermutet werden, denn die Schriftstellerin, eine erklärte Anhängerin des Happy Ends, lässt ihre fantastischen und weniger fantastischen, auf jeden Fall aber phantasievollen Geschichten stets gut ausgehen. Doch wie ihr das im vorliegenden Roman gelingt und welche Rolle Rick und der reizende Geist Humphrey mit dem rosa Ektoplasma und dem sanften Gemüt, der so gerne schauerlich und schrecklich wäre, dabei spielen, soll an dieser Stelle selbstverständlich nicht preisgegeben werden! Denn eine Lektüre der Geschichte mit ihren so wundersamen und wunderbaren Charakteren, allen voran den Craggyford-Geistern, vor denen man sich wirklich nicht zu fürchten braucht, - schließlich sind die wahren Bösewichte immer nur die Menschen! - lohnt sich in jedem Fall!
Profile Image for Beth Bonini.
1,293 reviews279 followers
January 14, 2012
This was Eva Ibbotson's first published novel, from 1975, but it still feels fresh and playful. All of the hallmarks of her style are already there in polished form. I was taken in from the very first chapter,in which she describes a ghost family and explains why they've become homeless. Like so many of her novels, there is an underlying environmental theme: that in the pursuit of "progress" and "change" we have destroyed the natural habitat of many living creatures. The joke in this book is that the living creatures are actually ghosts . . . but they take their disgruntled claims all the way to the Prime Minister. This book is full of the charm and humour and eccentricity that makes her so beloved. I loved the character of the pale pink (and not very scary) ghost who comes to the fore and saves his family through bravery and cunning. Good for 8-11 year olds.
4 reviews
July 8, 2020
I have a very special fondness for this spooky adventure which you might call Watership Down with ghosts. I read it twice at primary school having been recommended it by a librarian on the weekly school trip to the local library. A family of ghosts is forced to leave its beloved castle ruin in a quest for a new home and during the exodus accumulate a motley company of phantoms and bogies. arguably the story touches on the challenges of being a marginalised or even invisible section of society and how deadly a dislike for the unlike can be. Author Eva Ibbotson explores the full range of Britain's ghostly traditions and invokes episodes from our dark history through the lens of humour to create something which is both compellingly fun and delightfully macabre.
Profile Image for Janhvi.
15 reviews4 followers
July 13, 2013
The ghost family are turned out of their castle home when humans plan to redevelop the castle into a holiday resort. They travel across England, accompanied by their headless Aunt Hortensia and their pet Shuk, and come to Norton Castle School, mistaking it for an empty castle. Here, they meet Rick, a student quite unafraid of ghosts. Rick plans to take the ghosts to the Prime Minister for peace talks concerning the large numbers of ghosts being turned out of their homes.

Not as great as other books in this series but a worthy read.
Profile Image for Amanda.
840 reviews344 followers
October 21, 2016
I really liked this book, as I do all of Eva Ibbotson's work. She's one of my favorite children's authors. Her books always include important messages and subvert stereotypical assumptions. In this book, however, the messages were a bit scattered. Unlike Island of the Aunts, TGGR was trying to do too many things at once, I think. It was still a silly, spooky, enjoyable read, but not my favorite Ibbotson.
October 5, 2018
This was a spooky, cooky book about ghosts. I had seen the 2011 movie before, but never knew there was a book. So, when I found out there was a children's novel, I thought it would be perfect for the month of October.
Profile Image for Ary Nilandari.
Author 51 books138 followers
November 26, 2012
It's an easy read for children, even the horrid description about the ghosts. Jadi penasaran bagaimana "rasa"-nya membaca versi Indonesia.
8 reviews
March 28, 2022
The book I read was The Ghost Rescue by Eva Ibbotson. This book is about a ghost family whose names were Mabel,Gliding Kilt, George, Wailing Winifred,Aunt Hortensia, and Humphrey. While the ghost family is living in Craggyford by a cemetery, construction workers come and start to tear down their house. So they get in their coach and start “driving” until they find a new home. After a long day of driving they find a boarding school that they think is an old castle so they go inside and go to bed, but Humphry went up to a kid and woke him up. The kid whose name is Rick turned out to be friendly and not afraid of ghosts, since Humphry showed him his family and told him what happened to their home they go on an adventure to London to see the Prime Minister. When they get to the Prime Minister they tell him what happened and his assistant tells them that he has an abandoned village that they can have so, once they get there they all choose where they're gonna sleep and then Rick leaves. A couple days later the ghosts all felt horrible and Humphrey goes inside and tells the family that there is a group of people with berries and immediately the aunt recognizes what they were doing and that they have been tricked.They were doing a spell that got rid of ghosts so Humphry got up with all his might and went as fast as he could to get Rick. After he told Rick, Rick and his 2 friends did a spell to get a private jet to show up and once they got to the village they got them to stop and reversed the spells to make the ghosts come back.

The author of this book did a good job of making the book entertaining. The thing that made me mad was when I thought Rick was the one that tricked them because they all loved him and cried when he left. But after I kept reading it turned out to be the Prime Minister's assistant. I do not connect to this book because I don't go to boarding school and I couldn't go far away for 2 nights without anyone knowing. I also like this author and the books she makes.

I liked this book because it was easy to read and it was entertaining. The book was not confusing at all and it all made sense to me. I would recommend this book to younger people because it's a fantasy book. This book would most likely make people not afraid of ghosts because it's showing how nice the ghosts are. My favorite part of the book was when all the ghosts were almost melted and Mabel who was the only one left and wanted to die because her husband and 2 kids were dead, but Rick and his 2 friends found a way to reverse the spell.
3,304 reviews48 followers
October 28, 2017
It's a fun children's Halloween read (or anytime someone is interested in ghosts and other monsters). It turns on its head the normal story line of children being rescued from ghosts to rescuing ghosts from modernization and horrible people. There's nothing too scary and it makes kids thinks things from the other side. There are funny bits: The witch Daisy has to pick another name because Daisy is just not a good name for witch.

I love the idea of a haven for ghosts and other things that go-bump-in-the-night.

It is interesting how some writers can mention kid's parents dying, being beaten and other horrible things but if it is mentioned in a matter-of-the-fact manner without dwelling on the details it doesn't seem to bad. That only happens to a small degree in this book: the river spirit mentioning all the people who he lured to his death. But I remember James and the Giant Peach where he's been beaten by his aunts and he doesn't always get enough to eat but crusaders don't seem to be clamoring for it to be banned so children cannot read it. For some reason, British writers seem to be able to pull it off better than most.
Profile Image for Eduardo Boris Muñiz .
372 reviews11 followers
December 27, 2020
Fantasmas en Peligro - Novela infantil publicada en 1975 y escrita por la autora austriaca Eva Ibbotson.
Es la historia de una familia de fantasmas (una harpia, un fantasma escoses sin piernas, etc) que vive feliz en un castillo abandonado hasta que la modernidad los alcanza, los vivos deciden recuperar los espacios abandonados donde ellos viven por lo que deberán escapar a buscar un nuevo refugio.
En sí escape se encontrarán con un niño que los ayudará a encontrar una solución a sus problemas.
Cuando lo comencé a leer sabía que era infantil pero pensé que no lo sería tanto, creía que iba más orientado a young adults pero no, es para niños.
Esto no es algo malo pero puede aburrir un poco al ser tan básico, se hace mucho hincapié en las enseñanzas y en la responsabilidad con lo que nos rodean, eso ta re bueno pero claro, si lo leer con más de 30 seguramemte te embole un poco.
Es un buen libro para niños, la temática de fantasmas está muy buena pero es de esos libros que seguramente solo disfruten su público objetivo.
Profile Image for Anatl.
477 reviews58 followers
March 8, 2019
This was an adventure story with ghosts who need saving and a little boy who rises to the occasion. Rick meets Humphrey the Horrible one day at school and they strike a friendship. Humphrey and his family were ousted from their home by renovations and land development. However, the the real themes of the book was about taking care of our planet, the power of social activism, accepting the other, and helping immigrants and refugees. The ghosts are quite harmless and charming, while the villain of the piece says things like "Britain for the british" and is "the sort of person who couldn't bear anything to be even the least bit unusual or out of the ordinary". Despite all these weighty themes, the book itself is airy, charming, funny and very pleasant to read.
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