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The Tale of Rickety Hall – Penny Dolan

17 Jan

ricketyOrphaned 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.

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40 Comments

Posted by on 17/01/2017 in Children's Literature

 

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40 responses to “The Tale of Rickety Hall – Penny Dolan

  1. Alastair Savage

    17/01/2017 at 15:44

    Don’t they include an age range on the back of the book? They sometimes do that for children’s books, which I find very helpful when performing my uncling duties.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Ste J

      17/01/2017 at 15:48

      This one didn’t, I tried finding out online but it said 9-11 years which I can’t imagine this would challenge at all. We adults have enough challenges without having to work this sort of thing out.

      Like

       
  2. shadowoperator

    17/01/2017 at 21:03

    Ah! Uncling duties, as A. Savage mentions! I have auntling duties, but sadly, my nephew is growing up too fast, and is now recommending books for ME to read, ones which seem very adult to me for him. Not smutty, or anything like that, but full of emotional and intellectual challenges that I wouldn’t think an early teen would like. But then, he’s been brought up on serious quality and some adventure films, so I guess (sigh!) he’s ready….

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      18/01/2017 at 17:25

      Well the joy of having more books to read is always a good thing. The change in kids books is phenomenal from when I was young, certainly more mature in approach.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. gargoylebruce

    17/01/2017 at 22:27

    Sold! Rickety Hall is a super name.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Ste J

      18/01/2017 at 17:17

      It was the biggest reason I picked it up, that I couldn’t leave without buying anything.

      Liked by 2 people

       
  4. Resa

    17/01/2017 at 23:22

    This looks like a great book review to reblog during Kids’ Month. Are okay with that? (I have book marked it)
    Of course, this does not preclude the short…. or long poem you will hopefully write. 😀

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      18/01/2017 at 17:19

      Yes, please feel free to reblog and of course yes to the poem, I will come up with something suitably suitable.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Resa

        18/01/2017 at 17:57

        Top of February I will have a lot of youth appropriate Street Art available to choose from in a page on my blog. You can do an art/poem combo. OR, perhaps you have something in your collection of Street Art that inspires you to write a poem to?

        Like

         
  5. clarepooley33

    18/01/2017 at 00:14

    I agree that it is very difficult to decide on the age range of children’s books. Present-day children read such different things to the books I used to read and even the books my elder daughter used to read. I enjoyed the ‘fleshed out’ quip!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      18/01/2017 at 17:26

      The change seems to have been swift, the newer breed of writer seems so much more on young issues and action or serious books. It’s a long way from Enid Blyton!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • clarepooley33

        18/01/2017 at 22:51

        Yes! I used to read all the 19th century classics too like Treasure Island which not many children would touch these days because of the style of writing. Anything written before the 20th century isn’t included in schools reading lists or for GCSE.

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        • Ste J

          20/01/2017 at 14:45

          I didn’t know that, they will be kicking Shakespeare off the curriculum next! There is so much good stuff the other side of the 20th century, what do education policy makers base their decisions on I wonder?

          Liked by 2 people

           
  6. Aquileana

    18/01/2017 at 13:16

    Sounds like a good book for young kids…
    But as you said: an adult might find it refreshing too and fall for its charms… We usually find morals and most times “deeop themes” in kid´s stories, Don´t you think?… Plus: aren´t we all young at heart, somehow? 😀 ❤ Sending all my best wishes!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      18/01/2017 at 17:23

      Yes, I try to be young at heart, keeps me from being grumpy and all that. I do love reading children’s literature because it is so much more inventive usually than adult books.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  7. Sheila

    18/01/2017 at 20:34

    Scraps is a great name for a dog. This makes me think of The Wizard of Oz when they wanted to take Toto away in the beginning – the thought of that and the flying monkeys always terrified me.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      20/01/2017 at 14:57

      That was horrible, especially when I was a child. As an adult I still find the electroshock therapy in Return to Oz very…shocking. sorry couldn’t resist but it is a horrible thing to watch and very effective for the audience.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  8. Lyn

    19/01/2017 at 10:19

    Oh Ste J…another book I have to buy 🙂
    Never mind it being a book for the young ‘uns, it sounds perfect to me 😀

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      20/01/2017 at 14:46

      Haha, I keep piling the paper onto you at the moment…at least I am consistent.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Lyn

        20/01/2017 at 21:43

        You are indeed my friend and i wouldn’t have it any other way 😀

        Like

         
  9. Sherri

    19/01/2017 at 11:32

    Hello my friend! Phew…a day late and a dollar short (or should I say, pound? Wouldn’t have the same ring to it though…) but I made it and how glad I am to see you here again after way too long! Oh I miss reading books like this, with the excuse I was reading to the kids, even when they could read it themselves! What a deligthful review of a delightful book…I know I would fall prey to its charms…

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      20/01/2017 at 15:17

      I don’t even have the kids excuse, I just attempt to pull the ‘I’m a parent, honest’ face in shops. Goodness knows what I look like, a lunatic in all probability. Good to see you around my friend, always a pleasure to see you about.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Sherri

        20/01/2017 at 22:23

        Haha…why not? These kind of books shouldn’t be just for kids. And I’m sure you don’t look like a lunatic…just someone who loves books! Great to visit you again…except, you won’t believe it, my comments are going to spam…Again!!! I hope this comes through via my notification button, as I can’t comment directly on your blog. Hoping Akismet sort it quickly, I’m getting cheesed off with it. Have a great weekend my friend, I’ll be in touch very soon…

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          21/01/2017 at 16:30

          Fear not my friend, your comments are coming through loud and clear. I’m not sure why these spam problems come up now and again. This weekend is indeed great my friend and I hope yours is going the same way.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Sherri

            24/01/2017 at 13:35

            Thank you my friend! So glad you had such a great weekend..and I will be in touch very soon!

            Like

             
  10. Andrea Stephenson

    22/01/2017 at 16:11

    When I saw the title of your post I immediately thought ‘Rickety Hall’ was a great, atmospheric name for a place and it took me straight to the type of book it was.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      23/01/2017 at 12:46

      I think I want to name my house that now…or Ste J castle, either sounds good.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  11. macjam47

    23/01/2017 at 14:35

    A terrific review, Steve, of what sounds like a fabulous book for children. It is on my list now. Have a great week.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      23/01/2017 at 15:17

      I’m glad you like it, it has been a long while since I really spent time with books for children so I am looking forward to a few more reviews along those lines now.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. Asha Seth

    25/01/2017 at 07:17

    This so reminded me of Tin-Tin and Snowy; only the stream of stories is quite apart here. I love Tin-Tin and may be this one might be just as pleasing.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      26/01/2017 at 15:30

      There is the same dynamic, although TinTin is much stronger with the adventures and also the humour which it does so well.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  13. Resa

    04/03/2017 at 20:45

    Reblogged this on Graffiti Lux and Murals and commented:
    Where would Kids’ Month be without a Ste J review of a kid’s book. He says there’s lots of pictures, and puts the age range at 6-8 years old. I am fascinated by the name “Rickety Hall” Thank you Ste J!

    Like

     
  14. writersideup

    10/03/2017 at 03:22

    I don’t know how I missed this post! I’m glad Resa reblogged it 🙂 I love when you do children’s books ’cause, as you know, that’s my “thing” 😀 I never heard of this one, but it does sound like a “young reader” novel which is typically categorized 8-12-year-olds. Of course, a lot of kids read “up,” but there have to be guidelines so they know where to shelve them. Do you recall how old Jonas is?

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      10/03/2017 at 14:48

      If memory serves Jonas was eight. I’ve managed to focus a bit more, with a few kids reviews and another one that needs doing, now you remind me.

      Like

       

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