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Action, adventure, mythology, ghosts, a foreign land – this book has it all! A great read for middle grade kids, Danny Boyle and the Ghosts of Ireland (the second book with this adventure-seeking character) captures the reader’s attention from the beginning, when author William Graham sets up his unusual and enjoyable interpretation of ghosts and what they spend their time doing. There are good ghosts and harmful ghosts, ghosts who choose to stay in ballrooms where they had the time of their lives before they passed away. The explanation of these different types of ghosts, their purposes, and their interactions was my favorite part of the book since it was quite different from other descriptions.
As usual in Graham’s Danny Boyle series, learning is scattered throughout, from learning about parts of Ireland to learning new words. Included also are ethical practices that Danny and his sister, Melinda, use when taking the things they need to complete their quest from various creatures of myth. I thought this was a nice spin on the typical bloody confrontations heroes engage in to steal these necessary items, which is done in similar situations by many authors. Fantasy and paranormal elements mix together to create a fun and exciting story parents can enjoy right along with their kids.
I looked very hard to find pieces of the story Graham forgot to resolve, since there were a lot of loose ends to tie up, but he covered everything. My only real complaint is that some situations in which Danny and Melinda needed to take or steal something from mythical beings in order to complete their quest were accomplished too quickly and easily, especially for the mermaid part (no spoilers!). However, I have to repeat that the way they went about taking these things was, in most cases, a good lesson for children.
Patte Shaughnessy pulls off a great Irish accent and gets into the spirit of the piece very well. She’s easy to understand and convincingly captures the wonder of a young person experiencing a new adventure. I certainly enjoyed listening to her reading, and I think kids would feel the same.
This was a very fun book overall and it's a great gift to get kids into listening to audiobooks. I'm looking forward to the next adventure Danny Boyle will experience!
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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