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The Ghost of Thomas Kempe: Complete & Unabridged

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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$2.99 each, top-rated page-turners, today only $2.99 each, top-rated page-turners, today only

Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Cover to Cover Cassettes Ltd; Library edition edition (July 26 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855497506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855497504
  • Shipping Weight: 213 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
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Product Description

About the Author

Penelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1933 and brought up there. She came to England in 1945, went to school in Sussex, and read Modern History at St Ann's College, Oxford. Her many books written for children include Astercote (1970), The Whispering Knights (1971), The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973), which won the Carnegie Medal, and A Stitch in Time (1976), which won the Whitbread Children's Book Award. Two of her novels written for adults have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, and she won it in 1987 with Moon Tiger. More recent novels include The Photograph (2003) and Making it Up (2005). She has also written two volumes of autobiography and many short stories. Penelope Lively contributes regularly to a number of national daily newspapers and literary and educational journals. She has written radio and television scripts and was presenter for a BBC Radio 4 programme on children's literature. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a member of PEN and a former Chairman of The Society of Authors. She was awarded an OBE in 1989 and a CBE in 2001. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Despite an irksome beginning I enjoyed this novel's uniqueness, a protagonist who was eventually relatable, and a tour of archaic crypts. In a typical English village: the parish and school have run for eons, residents have traversed those generations, and so have the houses. Thus when workmen renovate an attic for the son of new homebuyers, they uncork a pest. Many would relish acquainting a ghost but this was an egocentric sorcerer.

A drawback to children's literature, from whence much of my ghost fare must be quenched, is that authors sometimes dwell on family bickering. I for one have no taste to read that. I was relieved <b>Penelope Lively</b> did not persist in this and that focus was mustered on her tale's task. I understand it suited these circumstances to illustrate that <i>James</i>, by design or by accident, had borne responsibility for a few gaffes and that his word was not sacrosanct automatically. When <i>Thomas</i> manifests, first subtly in <i>James'</i> room, than by attempts to force him into servitude; boldly denouncing the entity to his parents isn't feasible. I disagreed with this because much of the pestering was demonstrable. However his Father is presented as the worst kind of closed-minded clod.

Something else that rang falsely is the comment that workmen threw out historic papers from the house. I can think of no hired crew who would be granted this liberty, none who would undervalue epistolary artifacts, nor any occupants whose intrigue wouldn't be peaked. Their resurrection from a trash heap was a rub. However the warmth of the story spiked thereafter. A diary acquaints <i>James</i> with a darling Aunt and visiting nephew, who experienced <i>Thomas</i> long before; except she believed him implicitly. A pleasing twist is their neighbour. She seemed ordained for dislike but helpfully clued <i>James</i> into mysticism.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a fantastic book for all ages young and old... an easily comprehensible text of a gripping storyline. Once you've started at it, you wouldn't want to put it down.
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By A Customer on Oct. 7 1999
Format: Hardcover
Well, I didn't find this book very interesting but it's okay. I read this book because my English teacher wants us to. But anyways, if you love horror, then don't read this book cuz it's nothing scary or something like that.
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By A Customer on Nov. 19 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book was quite good the description was good but the action and excitement. Not a very good bargain. We Read it in English at my School
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x97612d98) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974f7ba0) out of 5 stars Ghosts are no match for little children July 8 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dr. James Harrison, FRS, MP, D.Phil, OBE, writer of The Life Cycle of a British Beetle is a pirate of the Seven Seas, first conqueror of the earth's highest peak, captain of a World-Cup-winning football team and professional hole-digger. In short, he is a normal boy. And if in his made-up adventures windows get broken, cups shatter and his arm gets stuck in a grate - well that's not really his fault, is it? No matter what his father, mother and, sigh, sister think.

After moving into an old house, James discovers that he is sharing a room with a literate poltergeist,Thomas Kempe, who resorts to banging doors and hiding glasses for attention. Of course, it is James who gets blamed and whose allowance has to pay for damages. Things take a turn for the worse for James when Kempe, a sorcerer, leaves notes all over the place offering his magicks and accusing people of witchery. Can he successfully exorcise Thomas so that he can finally eat dessert and not have to be sent to his room all the time?

Penelope Lively takes us to a time in our lives when the world was bright and wide; when every nook, cranny and hole can yield buried treasure and unfettered possibilities. Through James we remember climbing trees, running through grass, cartwheeling, and of course, telling ghost stories among friends. We also remember times when we couldn't ask adults for help because they wouldn't believe us and sadly, neither did our bestfriends.

This is the perfect reading material for children who will certainly know what it's like to be James and for adults who want to be like James again - at least for a short time.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974f7bf4) out of 5 stars A book that will stay in your mind for decades Jan. 16 2013
By West Mountain - Published on
Format: Paperback
I first read this book when I was in my pre-teens, and at the time I thought it was mainly a ghost story. Reading it again thirty years later I'm realizing that there's a whole lot more -- and as a kid, the vague awareness of this hidden meaning, and the strange wistful feel of Lively's writing, were why I'd kept thinking about it. One thing that makes the story different from a standard adventure tale is that there aren't any entirely bad people. There are characters that the protagonist James doesn't understand, or doesn't feel he has anything in common with .... but nobody like Rowling's Voldemort, even though magic does come into the story.

Time has moved inexorably on, and in some ways the 1970s England of James and Simon is as distant to us now as the world of the 17th century sorcerer Thomas Kempe. Although James does have some contact with Kempe's returned spirit, the real connections he makes in the story are to people from the more recent past: a boy named Arnold who once lived in his own house long ago, and the family's elderly neighbour Mrs. Verity. These relationships are at least as wonderful and unexpected as the ghost of a Renaissance-era enchanter. This is a great book to introduce kids to history, because I've met so many researchers and writers who describe forming very similar relationships in their imaginations, with people who are long gone. As the years pass, I'm understanding how lucky I was to be able to meet people who were a living bridge to the past, like Mrs. Verity -- born in years starting with "18", or who survived the Blitz or fought in the First and Second World Wars. Later this century that will seem unbelievable ... and I'll be in a similar position to James, trying to describe these things to my politely-skeptical family.

There isn't as much action in this book as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, so it's more of a quiet thought-provoking read than an exciting page-turner -- but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the younger readers find themselves revisiting this story in a few decades, and having a new appreciation for it. Grownups should also read this book, just so they can remember how they felt when adults didn't want to listen to them ... or seemed to have forgotten what it was like, to see the world through a child's eyes. The beauty of the author's final sentence still haunts me when I think about the people who lived in my town before I came along -- and all of those who'll be here in a future I can barely imagine.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974fc048) out of 5 stars very good Feb. 10 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a book about James Harrisson and his best friend Simon trying to get rid of a 300 year old poltergeist. The writing was really strong and good. The book got better as it went along.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974fc3f0) out of 5 stars due sense of proportion April 1 2015
By Mr. D. P. Jay - Published on
Format: Paperback
An old house if haunted by a poltergeist. The boy of the house gets into trouble for all the mischief and he discovers details about a previous appearance of the same ghost from rubbish turned out from the attic and, after failed exorcisms, the ghost is finally laid to rest. Amusing story, perceptive remarks about family relationships and a good reminder that 'there are more things in heaven and earth...' I am unhappy with the idea that ghosts are solely the products of internal, mental disturbances, of psychic emanations from a person, usually an adolescent, and it is good to visualise these forces as external in order to be objective but I am not sure whether I want children to dwell on them. Given that some kids do dwell on them, this story has a tone which is 'safe' compared with the bizarre exorcist stuff that the cinema churns out and if a kid has an obsession he could do worse than read this story which keeps a due sense of proportion.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974fc4ec) out of 5 stars I can't praise this book enough Aug. 2 2014
By B. Wolinsky - Published on
This is an awesome book , even for adults. A family moves into an old English house and almost immediately, their son is tormented by a ghost. I shouldn’t really say tormented, because the ghost is more of a nuisance than a terror. But it’s great, not because of the ghost, but because of the suspense leading to its discovery and how the boy gets rid of it.
This book is an example of what I call respectful writing for kids. The author assumes that young readers have more than the bare minimum of intelligence, and she lets them figure things out for themselves. It was fun to see the story of the ghost unfold, just as good as reading a Sherlock Holmes mystery.
In the pre Harry Potter days this was typical fare for young adults. It has a kid for a protagonist, written in language that they can read, and just the right length.