'Ghost School is stupid and rubbish, and, um, I'm not going to Ghost School ever again!'
Bumping is Humphrey Bump's best thing - even better than cakes and lollipops! But the nasty headmaster at ghost school doesn't agree. He expels Humphrey for - you've got it! - bumping.
So the other ghosties - Agatha, Tabitha and Wither -find Humphrey a place at still-alive school. They are also on hand to help him make friends. Wither invisibly writes a spooky poem on the board, Agatha sends children whirling into the clouds, and they all whisp out of Humphrey's satchel during lessons.
The still-alive children are so mean they only run away. But they are nothing compared to the still-alive headmaster who is the biggest bully ever. Can Humphrey gather all the ghosties together to fight the bully, save the school and make lots of new friends?
Well-meaning but clueless "ghosties" take on "still-alives" in this helter-skelter comedy, the first book in a trilogy by the creators of Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots. The eccentric spirits, each of whom has a different ghostly ability, are distressed that the "mean" human residents of the house go shrieking off whenever the ghosties try ever so politely to interact with them. Though variations on that scenario grow repetitive, the banter and bickering among the ghosties and their idiosyncratic talents keep things lively (no pun intended). The ghosties' primary mission is rescuing timid Pamela Fraidy, who gets locked in the attic and later the study both times with a scary "leggy spider." Narrator Tabitha calls on her poltergeist skills, obsessive house cleaner Gertrude oozes "glowing blue goo" that comes in handy, and Humphrey's knack for bumping into things proves useful. Fans of the Dunderheads books will recognize a similarly dark brand of comedy in Roberts's b&w art, whose delicate ink lines and lightly macabre subject matter make it feel like a humorous cousin to the work of Edward Gorey. Ages 5 8.