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Tashi and the Haunted House    by Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg & Kim Gamble order for
Tashi and the Haunted House
by Anna Fienberg
Order:  USA  Can
Allen & Unwin, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Tashi and the Haunted House is the ninth in a series of Tashi tales for chapter book readers. Gnome-like Tashi, who is young Jack's imaginary friend, has all kinds of exciting adventures - probably best read in order from the beginning, as they include references to previous episodes. Kim Gamble's atmospheric black and white illustrations are interspersed throughout the text, nicely reinforcing the action.

As this book opens, Uncle Joe introduces Tashi to a percussionist named Primrose, with whom he's 'hopelessly in love'. She reminds Tashi of his cousin Lotus Blossom, leading to his telling the story of a gloomy ghost house in the forest (Primrose adds sound effects). Tashi and Ah Chu are determined to go there after being warned of 'a light flickering in the window.' Lotus Blossom insists on going too.

The house is 'like an animal in its lair, half hidden by the webbed shade of the trees'. Inside is dark and spooky with rotten floorboards, spiderwebs and odd noises. The others flee but Tashi lingers, leading to a fascinating encounter with a fugitive, whom he helps. There are villains in this story too, but of course Tashi comes up with a clever ghostly plan to foil their wickedness and save the day.

Following this is a second story in which Tashi must win a race against diabolical demons, the prize being a new school for his village. He wears his magic dancing shoes and uses his brain - and Granny White Eyes' blindness - to beat the bad guys. These Tashi tales are great, imaginative fun.

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