A Spooky Book the Kids Should Eat Up
Angie Sage - Araminta Spookie: The Sword in the Grotto (2006) Book Review
Mad scientists can have kids too. Yup Dr. Monstrosity is a dad and loves to force feed his kids a steady diet of creepy children’s literature. Actually they love the stuff! I bought The Sword in the Grotto for my eight year old daughter. She’s hooked R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps books thanks to me; so I thought let me get her going on another series of ghostly kid’s horror books. With Goosebumps it took some prodding before I got my daughter to read the series on her own. I basically just picked up Goosebumps: Deep Trouble 2 and started reading it to both of my daughters (yes even my 6 year old is into this stuff!). I decided to read this book myself and dangle the juicy parts of the story in front of my 8 year old like a carrot. I hope it works. I think it will, the book is pretty darn exciting.
My daughter loves scary adventurous tales and this book fits the bill. The characters are quirky and the plot was a rousing little adventure. Araminta, the lead character, lives in a sort of haunted house with a vampire uncle, a wizard family, and some ghosts. The series is geared toward 7 – 10-year-olds and is a bit less intense and scary than Goosebumps. There’s a healthy helping of childish bat poop humor and the monsters and ghosts are actually quite friendly. Nonetheless there are some tense moments and our lead characters Araminta and Wanda get into quite a scrape.
The Sword in the Grotto is illustrated by Jimmy Pickereing who likes to draw eyes very far apart. Other than that I enjoyed his sparsely placed illustrations. Author Angie Sage, who also wrote the best-selling Septimus Heapbooks is adept at crafting a tale which kids will eat up. Her writing is fairly simple which makes it easy to tear through the book, perfect for newer chapter book readers. Her action is easy to follow and humor is on target. I like that she doesn’t dumb down the vocabulary; the kids might actually learn a thing or two while being drawn into this witty adventure. Now if I can only get my daughter to read it. Get it for your kid.