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Book Reviews (Children's)

The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

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The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
Published by Red Fox, 2005

Reviewed by Miltown Malbay Library’s Children’s Bookclub

This book is the first book in ‘The Wardstone Chronicles’ series.

The story revolves around a thirteen year old boy called Thomas Ward. He is the seventh son of a seventh son and thus possesses certain gifts, though he is not fully aware of them at the beginning of the story. He is apprenticed to a local Spook and is warned from the beginning that the work is hard, dangerous and lonely.

Tom’s first test is to stay in a haunted house overnight. He is alone but is given certain instructions by the Spook as to what to do. Luckily for Tom he passes the test and the Spook is pleased to have him as his new apprentice. They set off the next morning to what the Spook calls his ‘Winter House’ and it is here that Tom’s training truly begins.

Living conditions are good in the Spooks home with plenty of good food and a nice clean cosy bed to sleep in at night. Each day the Spook puts Tom through his paces and he learns more and more of what is expected of him until he completes his training.

He is sent into the local village to pick up some supplies and the Spook warns him to beware of girls ‘wearing pointy shoes’. Through a series of events he ends up befriending a girl named Alice on his journey and it turns out that not only is she wearing pointy shoes but she is a young witch. He realises that he has made a mistake of agreeing to help her if she ever needs it and decides it’s best if he does not tell the Spook about this on his return to the house, much to his dismay later in the story.

This event is really the turning point in the book as it leads to a whole series of dangerous and frightening events for Tom.

Many of the bookclub members thoroughly enjoyed this book, though others found it too scary to read.

Overall the group gave it 8/10.