Greta’s story is simultaneously spine-chilling, heart-warming… and hilarious. Her family are a charming, quirky group. Dad is a pipe-smoking poet and mum is a chakra-chanting yogi with a giant purple bouffant. Her little brother is a little less exciting, unless you share his obsession for lorries, and her adorable old Grandma lives in the loft where she is able to converse with her dearly departed ghost of a husband. Except she can’t – not really.
Despite Grandma’s claims, Greta is fairly confident that there aren’t any ghostly grandpas haunting her attic. That is until a nasty accident opens her mind to the spiritual realm and, all of a sudden, she can communicate with ghosts. This opens the door for three new characters to enter the story, all of whom have much to offer in the way of laughs. The plague-victim, Percy, is a particular treat, especially when trying to tempt Greta into a friendly game of ‘stick-a-push-a-poo’!
Fans of Copeland’s very popular Charlie Changes into a Chicken will be delighted to see that this new story has plenty of silliness and gross-out humour (orangutan wee, anyone?). However, Greta and the Ghost Hunters also has a great deal of heart and sentiment. Greta and her ghosts have to work together to stop Grandma being sent to a residential home, coming up against villainous exorcists and spirit-fighters. To have any chance of success, the group have to put aside their own prejudices and learn to trust one another. Maybe old people aren’t so useless after all… and maybe the elderly, independent thinking woman is not a witch!
The story also handles themes of old age and death in a sensitive but not overly sentimental way. The ghost characters are not just cartoon joke machines: they are fully developed with a past, present and future to really believe in.
Copeland’s new novel has all the makings of a family favourite and is bound to be a hit in classrooms and playgrounds everywhere.