Orphaned Jonas Jones is cold and tired, and oh so hungry. And without his little dog Scraps he’d be desperately lonely, too. So when dastardly Megrim the dog catcher and his sidekick Filch decide they’re going to get rid of Scraps, Jonas knows he must do everything he can to stop them.Even if that means going for help at Rickety Hall, the spooky old house on the hill-inside which no one’s ever dared to venture.
Having just finished A Dance to the Music of Time: Summer – a review of which will be coming soon – I decided a break from anything too heavy was needed and as I want to review more children’s books this year, it made sense to pick something light up.
This short tale, with a good number of illustrations crammed in for good measure is full of good messages for the young ‘uns, whilst also dealing with the cruel side of some people.
Protagonists Jonas and Scraps are likeable enough, not particularly fleshed out, as one isn’t when homeless but Scraps being an animal is always going to be a delight for the reader. Being aimed at youngsters, Megrim and Filch whilst thoroughly odious are given a touch of the comedic to take the edge off so they aren’t too sinister; which is good as children may have found the animal cruelty a little too much to stomach otherwise,
The story centres on the mystery of Rickety Hall which is a great name even before you can make the connection with why it may so be named. The mysteries don’t stop there as another mystery is presented soon after to keep the attention of the reader assured until the end.
Accompanying the words is the art style of Wilbert van der Steen, whose illustrations mirror what is going on in the text. For children reading alone this will break up the chapters and make them seem focus on reading the book in stages rather than attacking a large (for them) amount of just words.
As an adult, the book passed a leisurely half an hour or so and gave a good break to my usual reading fare, children though should be taken with the plight of Jonas and be intrigued to the finish with the unconventional Rickety Hall and its inhabitants. If I had to put an age range on this, which I am woefully unqualified to do I would say 6 – 8 year olds would get the most out of it but adults who love reading will no doubt fall for its simple charms and be refreshed before starting on another book.