The Chocolate Factory Ghost
Author: David O'Connell
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Details: 208pp, £5.99, paperback
You know you’re onto a winner when the children around you are snickering by the second paragraph, laughing by the next page, and begging to read the following chapter when the bell goes. My group of readers devoured The Chocolate Factory Ghost almost whole. Every day, they came to share their new favourite bit and couldn’t wait for the whole group to finish so we could discuss it.
Inheriting a chocolate factory is a dream many of us have imagined. Poor old Archie McBudge runs into problems immediately, however. Not only is there a weird, creepy old portrait of great-uncle Archibald that seems to watch his every move, but the priceless secret ingredient to McBudge’s famous fudge is missing. Without that, the McBudge empire will collapse. In the wilds of Dundoodle, Archie and his friends must follow a series of clues written on an enchanted, flying letter.
They’re not the only ones seeking the mystery ingredient, though – the Puddingham-Pyes, those most dastardly cousins, are desperate to get hold of the secret so they can boost their cookie business and steal the McBudges empire out from under Archie. Worryingly, they aren’t the only villains on the prowl…
David O’Connell has done a smashing job of this mystery, which kept us all guessing to the end. The puns and wordplay, especially in the place names, caused much giggling and the children spent ages poring over the map, making up names of their own. Claire Powell’s illustrations complement the story perfectly. I particularly loved the maze of sweets, and the children all want a tiny dragon of their own.
We would recommend The Chocolate Factory Ghost for confident Year 3 readers upwards, and it would be a super read-aloud for Year 4. There’s something here for everyone in key stage 2, a quality as rare as the secret ingredient itself. I can’t wait to set it free in the library.
Caroline Wood is school librarian at Ashleigh Primary School, Darwen, Lancashire
‘The book has very funny place names!’
I think the book overall is very funny and exciting, and it has very funny place names. I like how Archie inherits the factory and has no idea what to do.
Yuibun, age 10
‘I am so excited for book two’
The book is very funny, it uses words like “Wee Greenie” and “Tinklewater”. My favourite character is Fliss because she is very funny and serious when she needs to be. Whatever the matter is she’ll light up the mood. The book was amazing – and I am so excited for book two. I give it 10/10.
Alice, age 10
‘I wanted to carry on reading’
I like how they all meet and the funny names. I wanted to carry on reading. I recommend it if you like funny or adventure stories. My favourite character is the villain Puddingham-Pye because she is mean and can kick butt. I rate the book 5/5… It’s amazing.
Harriet, age 10
‘It made my mouth water’
The book was funny, silly, and it made my mouth water. My favourite character was Billy because he was clever and funny. My least favourite were the twins because they were mean.
Johnny, age 10
‘It was funny, silly and exciting’
I loved this book because it was funny, silly and exciting. My favourite part was when Archie pulled the book out of the shelf and the bookshelf opened up.
Olivia, age 10
‘This book makes me want to eat some fudge’
My favourite character was Billy because he was very nerdy and he knew a lot of stuff. This book makes me want to eat some fudge. I loved all the place names like Lock Flicmaibogie and Wee Greenie. I rate this book 10/10.
Amelia, age 10
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