From the prize-winning author of Trash and Dog, Ribblestrop is sure the delight the most mischievous among us.
When your school’s motto is ‘Life is dangerous’, you know that anything can happen – and everything does!
There’s no school that’s quite like Ribblestrop, complete with roofless dormitories, distracted teachers, and a perilous underground labyrinth. And then there are the students! You’ll meet Sanchez, a Colombian gangster’s son hiding from kidnappers; Millie, an excluded arsonist and self-confessed wild child; Caspar, the landlady’s spoiled grandson; the helpful but hapless Sam and his best friend Ruskin, plus a handful of orphans from overseas who are just happy to have beds – even if they are located in a roofless part of the building…
‘Masterful knockabout humour....the book bulges with irreverent fun and incident.’ The Irish Times
‘Ribblestrop has the "crazy school" appeal of Hogwarts and the grim humour of Lemony Snicket, and looks like a winner.’ The Independent
‘Ribblestrop is disgracefully dangerous high-octane fun of the highest order: an outrageous delight’ Philip Ardagh, in the Guardian
After students arrive at Ribblestrop, they quickly learn that this boarding school is no Hogwarts: it's collapsing and partially burned out, and most of their classmates turn out to be Himalayan orphans. When tough 12-year-old Millie, the only girl at the school, gets lost in WWII-era tunnels running underneath Ribblestrop, she discovers mysterious and frightening experiments taking place. The students work together to rebuild the school while figuring out what is happening in the tunnels. Strange characters including incoming student Sam, who suffers a torrent of injuries, and a vile new headmistress issuing endless rules make for some outrageous scenes, but there are also truly terrifying moments, as when Millie finally understands what scientists are trying to achieve (and upon whom they are experimenting). These stand in stark contrast to the anything-goes silliness that runs through the novel; additionally, the orphans can come across like caricatures, and mostly remain part of the backdrop, not protagonists. Despite these tonal inconsistencies, this clever novel, published in 2009 in the U.K., is as unusual as Ribblestrop itself. Ages 8 12.