Monday, February 7, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Eva Ibbotson

Which Witch?  The Secret of Platform 13  The Great Ghost Rescue
Island of the Aunts  Dial-a-Ghost

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, started by the marvelous Shannon Whitney Messenger herself. This is my first time joining in, so I thought I'd talk about an author whom all three of my kids have loved. Eva Ibbotson is well known for her romance novels, aimed at both YA and adult audiences, but she also wrote several wonderful books for children 8-12. I have included five above.

Eva Ibbotson's stories are a mix of magic, humor and warmth, but there are also valuable lessons for children underlying the fun. In The Great Ghost Rescue, for example, Humphrey and his family are ghosts forced out of their ancestral manor, but when they go searching for a new place to haunt, they accidentally land in a boarding school. There, a boy named Rick discovers them, but instead of running in fear, he listens to their tales of woe, and sets off to ask the Prime Minister of England to set up a sanctuary for ghosts. Besides being a fun book, it is a great way to spark discussions about protecting our environment.

In almost all of these stories, there are both girls and boys who play a strong role. Perhaps because of that, the books work very well for readers of both genders. Silly, sly, warm and gentle, these are stories that are excellent for reading aloud.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is brought to you by Shannon Whitney Messenger, who started it. Head on over to Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe to see what she's featuring today. Also, she's been listing other participants in MMGM, so follow them as well and spread the joy of middle grade. So far:

Shannon Whitney Messenger writes about The Maze of Bones (39 Clues, No. 1).

Joanne Fritz writes about The Wonder of Charlie Anne, which sounds lovely.

Shannon O'Donnell writes about Wolf: The Journey Home

Brooke Favero writes about The Mysterious Benedict Society, which I blogged about recently as well.

Wonderful to see the idea of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday spreading!


  1. +JMJ+

    I've read Which Witch?, The Secret of Platform 13 and Dial-a-Ghost and thought all of them were really fun! Ibbotson has a great sense of humor.

  2. My 8 yr old loves Dial-a-Ghost. I'll have to check the others out. cheers.

  3. For what it's worth, my favorite is Which Witch?, which perhaps explains the unsubtle position as the first book displayed. Dial-a-Ghost is fun too, though.

  4. Hi Ben,

    Nice review. I've linked to you from my MMGM post at My Brain on Books. Eva Ibbotson's wonderful. This is actually the first tribute to her I've seen since she died in October.

    And just a heads-up: Shannon posted at From the Mixed up Files LAST week, not this week. The last paragraph of my Jan 31st post may have been where you got the info in YOUR last paragraph today.

  5. Thanks! Right you are. I get a bit mixed up myself what with her posting on both From the Mixed Up Files and her own blog.

  6. Hi, Ben! I love Eva Ibbotson. Great choice to highlight as an MMGM feature. Thanks for the link here and for the follow at Book Dreaming. :-)

  7. I've not read these books. I enjoy reading children's fiction and introduced a whole school to Harry Potter. They sound like a fun read :O)