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The Dial-a-Ghost Agency finds good homes for ghosts. And Fulton and Frieda Snodde-Brittle are looking for a few frightening ghosts to "accidentally" scare their young cousin and heir, Oliver, to death. The ladies at the Dial-a-Ghost Agency have the perfect match: the Shriekers, two bloodstained and bickering horrors. But thanks to a mix-up at the agency, the Wilkinsons, a The Dial-a-Ghost Agency finds good homes for ghosts. And Fulton and Frieda Snodde-Brittle are looking for a few frightening ghosts to "accidentally" scare their young cousin and heir, Oliver, to death. The ladies at the Dial-a-Ghost Agency have the perfect match: the Shriekers, two bloodstained and bickering horrors. But thanks to a mix-up at the agency, the Wilkinsons, a kind family of ghosts, arrive instead. Can they put a stop to the Snodde-Brittles' schemes before it's too late?


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The Dial-a-Ghost Agency finds good homes for ghosts. And Fulton and Frieda Snodde-Brittle are looking for a few frightening ghosts to "accidentally" scare their young cousin and heir, Oliver, to death. The ladies at the Dial-a-Ghost Agency have the perfect match: the Shriekers, two bloodstained and bickering horrors. But thanks to a mix-up at the agency, the Wilkinsons, a The Dial-a-Ghost Agency finds good homes for ghosts. And Fulton and Frieda Snodde-Brittle are looking for a few frightening ghosts to "accidentally" scare their young cousin and heir, Oliver, to death. The ladies at the Dial-a-Ghost Agency have the perfect match: the Shriekers, two bloodstained and bickering horrors. But thanks to a mix-up at the agency, the Wilkinsons, a kind family of ghosts, arrive instead. Can they put a stop to the Snodde-Brittles' schemes before it's too late?

30 review for Dial-a-Ghost

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    Gave up half way through. What we read was 3 stars. This was nice enough, one of those books that has an under 8 yr old appeal, not very interesting for adults, this was okay, mildly funny and mildly engaging.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    This is a fun, and slightly spooky story or at least a story that features spooks though not all are very spooky—instead, most are rather likeable ghosts. In this one, we start by meeting a rather likeable set of ghosts, the Wilkinsons, the whole family having become ghosts in the Second World War when a bomb fell on their house. For a time, they continued to live in their old home but when finally, they had to leave, they end up having to live in a rather distasteful (to them) space, though in This is a fun, and slightly spooky story or at least a story that features spooks though not all are very spooky—instead, most are rather likeable ghosts. In this one, we start by meeting a rather likeable set of ghosts, the Wilkinsons, the whole family having become ghosts in the Second World War when a bomb fell on their house. For a time, they continued to live in their old home but when finally, they had to leave, they end up having to live in a rather distasteful (to them) space, though in the process they add a new member to their family, a young girl from a much older time, who makes place for herself in their hearts in no time. On the other side, we have a little boy, Oliver Smith who has been living a fairly happy (unlike usual stories) life in an orphanage. But he discovers that he is the heir to Helton Hall, the family home of the Snodde-Brittles. The person next in line, his cousin Fulton Snodde-Brittle and his sister Frieda however want Helton Hall for themselves, and come up with a dastardly plan to get the house of Oliver. In this, the Dial-a-Ghost agency, an agency set up by two kind-hearted young ladies to find suitable homes for ghosts who are without one, becomes involved, and so indeed do the Wilkinsons and other ghosts, to make up a fun, entertaining story. I really loved this one, it was such fun. I had ‘guessed’ more or less what was going to happen at the beginning of the story but I still enjoyed seeing how everything played out, and there were a few elements or plot developments that were surprising as well. One plot thread remained unresolved, but I think the war background to that part of it or the author’s own story may have been the reason for it being that way. I would have preferred if it was resolved, though. This is a story full of ghosts and spooks with a little blood and gore, but not too much, so the overall effect remains pleasant rather than scary or off-putting. This would be a great read for Halloween if you want something with the atmosphere but one that is light-hearted, and pleasant, rather than scary. Four and a half stars. (Incidentally, this is the second book I’ve read by this author and I enjoyed the first as well which was Not Just a Witch.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    This was my October bedtime reading. Super cute and sweet and delightful as Eva Ibbotson always is. The only minus was that I guessed a big plot twist very early on. I don't think the target audience would see it coming, though. So this was really enjoyable, but sadly I just wasn't surprised by any of the directions it took. This was my October bedtime reading. Super cute and sweet and delightful as Eva Ibbotson always is. The only minus was that I guessed a big plot twist very early on. I don't think the target audience would see it coming, though. So this was really enjoyable, but sadly I just wasn't surprised by any of the directions it took.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Faseeh Ilahi

    So I just finished "Dial a ghost" by Eva Ibbotson. Rating: 4.2/5 🌟 The story basically follows two side i-e Oliver & Wilkinsons. So wilkinson is a family of ghosts who died during world war two. So for the first few days they stayed at their own house but then they had to leave so they found a place to stay but they did not liked it. They also met a young girl who didn't remembered anything so Mr. Wilkinson made her his daughter. On the other side we have Oliver Smith who was living a very happy lif So I just finished "Dial a ghost" by Eva Ibbotson. Rating: 4.2/5 🌟 The story basically follows two side i-e Oliver & Wilkinsons. So wilkinson is a family of ghosts who died during world war two. So for the first few days they stayed at their own house but then they had to leave so they found a place to stay but they did not liked it. They also met a young girl who didn't remembered anything so Mr. Wilkinson made her his daughter. On the other side we have Oliver Smith who was living a very happy life in an orphanage. But then he discovered that he is the heir to the Helton hall, the family house of snodde-brittles. . The next person in line for this heir was Fulton and his sister Frieda, who were Olivers cousins. And they basically want to get rid of Oliver and have the Helton hall to themselves. There is this agency called Dial-a-ghost, who find houses for ghosts who have nowhere to live. . It is a story full of spooks and ghost with a little bit of blood and gore in it. . The story was a little slow paced at the start but then it got interesting

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beth Bonini

    I was reading an interview with Eva Ibbotson in which she explained why she liked to write about ghosts and other gruesome or magical creatures. Because she herself was scared by the idea of the supernatural, she wanted to demystify those fears for children. Thus, in her novels, ghosts may be bad -- but only in the bad or unkind way that humans are. (Rest assured there is no TRUE evil, but just lots of greed and selfishness.) The idea behind this novel is that there is an agency which employs gh I was reading an interview with Eva Ibbotson in which she explained why she liked to write about ghosts and other gruesome or magical creatures. Because she herself was scared by the idea of the supernatural, she wanted to demystify those fears for children. Thus, in her novels, ghosts may be bad -- but only in the bad or unkind way that humans are. (Rest assured there is no TRUE evil, but just lots of greed and selfishness.) The idea behind this novel is that there is an agency which employs ghosts and sends them out to human clients. A greedy uncle wants to hire some frightening, miserable ghosts to scare his young ward -- but his plan backfires, and instead, a kind and homely family of ghosts come to keep the young boy company. There are various plot complications, but the reader can be assured that nasty people (and ghosts!) will receive their just desserts, while nice orphan boys will triumph in the end. This could all get a bit treacly, but Ibbotson's humour always cuts the sugar.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Qt

    Very fun and delightful, full of humor and good-natured ghostly goings-on! Parts are a bit ghoulish but everything is handled so cheerfully that I wasn't grossed out :-) I loved how everything seemed to be so neatly tied together, with no loose ends. A charming book! I'd probably go with 4 1/2 stars, just because there were no characters that *really* stuck out for me--but I don't think that was a fault of the book, just that I didn't find a new favorite character here. However, I may have found Very fun and delightful, full of humor and good-natured ghostly goings-on! Parts are a bit ghoulish but everything is handled so cheerfully that I wasn't grossed out :-) I loved how everything seemed to be so neatly tied together, with no loose ends. A charming book! I'd probably go with 4 1/2 stars, just because there were no characters that *really* stuck out for me--but I don't think that was a fault of the book, just that I didn't find a new favorite character here. However, I may have found a new favorite ghost story writer :-)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Deanie Nelder

    Dial-a-Ghost is a cute story about the Wilkerson family, who are turned into ghosts when their house is bombed during World War II. It's also about Oliver, a little orphan boy who turns out to be the heir to a fortune (and a creepy house). When his evil cousins contact the Dial-a-Ghost agency, they want to get ghosts to scare Oliver to death... but instead they get a family of sweet ghosts that will defend him with everything they've got. It's cute, and not at all scary. There are also some fair Dial-a-Ghost is a cute story about the Wilkerson family, who are turned into ghosts when their house is bombed during World War II. It's also about Oliver, a little orphan boy who turns out to be the heir to a fortune (and a creepy house). When his evil cousins contact the Dial-a-Ghost agency, they want to get ghosts to scare Oliver to death... but instead they get a family of sweet ghosts that will defend him with everything they've got. It's cute, and not at all scary. There are also some fairly sharp commentaries about the difference between social classes and the passage of time (bikinis shock the 1940's ghosts) but it's mostly about love, forgiveness, and a finding your family (whoever they are).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I'm one of those adults who believe that one is never too old to pick up a children's book and enjoy a good story, an imaginative tale or an old favorite. Dial-A-Ghost was cute, witty and entertaining. There was just enough grossness to keep a young person interested without giving them nightmares. I came away wishing I had the delightful ghost family, the Wilkinsons, hanging out in my home. "If I'm honest I have to tell you I still read fairytales and I like them best of all." -- Audrey Hepburn I'm one of those adults who believe that one is never too old to pick up a children's book and enjoy a good story, an imaginative tale or an old favorite. Dial-A-Ghost was cute, witty and entertaining. There was just enough grossness to keep a young person interested without giving them nightmares. I came away wishing I had the delightful ghost family, the Wilkinsons, hanging out in my home. "If I'm honest I have to tell you I still read fairytales and I like them best of all." -- Audrey Hepburn Note: This was a book that I received from a member at Bookcrossing.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Mallory

    This was a little bit childish, but, other than that, it was amazing! I loved it! It is such a touching and sweet story! Very descriptive, and really humorous dialogue and writing throughout! I would recommend this to anyone!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Very cute! Even though I've never read this book before, it was a blast from the past to read it. I remember loving Ibbotson's "The Secret of Platform 13" when I read it in 3rd grade, so when I saw this, I couldn't wait to read it. I think I have a special, nostalgic attachment to Platform 13, which is why I didn't rate this one as high, but it was still worth reading; it was quick, light, and very much in her style. Would recommend for late elementary to middle school age, but any age can enjoy Very cute! Even though I've never read this book before, it was a blast from the past to read it. I remember loving Ibbotson's "The Secret of Platform 13" when I read it in 3rd grade, so when I saw this, I couldn't wait to read it. I think I have a special, nostalgic attachment to Platform 13, which is why I didn't rate this one as high, but it was still worth reading; it was quick, light, and very much in her style. Would recommend for late elementary to middle school age, but any age can enjoy this, really.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    2.5 stars read as an adult I didn’t really care for this one. I thought it came down too heavily on the gruesome and disgusting side, and was frequently dismayed by the images the story invoked. Maybe that’s what kids like, but I was hoping for something a little more charming and a lot less repulsive. And I never understood what the whole thing with Trixie was supposed to be all about. Why was it even a part of the story? 2.5 stars read as an adult I didn’t really care for this one. I thought it came down too heavily on the gruesome and disgusting side, and was frequently dismayed by the images the story invoked. Maybe that’s what kids like, but I was hoping for something a little more charming and a lot less repulsive. And I never understood what the whole thing with Trixie was supposed to be all about. Why was it even a part of the story?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Treasure

    What a cute, silly, scary story! Perfect for elementary to middle schoolers, particularly boys and anyone who enjoys the darker, snider side of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Corpruga

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In keeping with my "Eva Ibbotson nostalgia kick," I reread this. I think the last time I read this book, I was, like, 13 years old and at summer camp of some kind. I think it was definitely a book 13-year-old me would have liked. It was very Eva Ibbotson-y. The premise is, a young orphan named Oliver is the heir to a creeptastic manor called Helton, the ancestral home of the Snodde-Brittle family. The only other surviving Snodde-Brittles are the malevolent, child-abusing siblings Fulton and Frie In keeping with my "Eva Ibbotson nostalgia kick," I reread this. I think the last time I read this book, I was, like, 13 years old and at summer camp of some kind. I think it was definitely a book 13-year-old me would have liked. It was very Eva Ibbotson-y. The premise is, a young orphan named Oliver is the heir to a creeptastic manor called Helton, the ancestral home of the Snodde-Brittle family. The only other surviving Snodde-Brittles are the malevolent, child-abusing siblings Fulton and Frieda Snodde-Brittle, who are basically like if the Squeers family from Nicholas Nickleby were brother and sister and not a married couple. They run a craptacular boarding school, but would LIKE to be the heirs to Helton, so they go to the "Dial-a-Ghost" agency to adopt some ghosts who will, ideally, drive Oliver insane or kill him or something, though they cover this up by claiming they're going to make Helton some haunted-house tourist attraction. The ghost agency ladies, Miss Pringle and Mrs. Mannering, have just the ghosts for them: the gross, child-hating Shriekers, a noble couple who suffered some unspecified tragedy that made them weird before they died and are now absolutely devoted to killing kids. Meanwhile, mild-mannered ghost family the Wilkinsons (mom & dad, grandma, boy scout son Eric, and amnesiac adopted daughter 'Adopta' or Addie) are getting sick of living in an underwear store, and are matched by the agency with a nunnery looking for some nice ghosts for their abandoned chapel. Red-green colorblindness intervenes, and the ghosts get mixed up. Shenanigans ensue. It's a pretty enjoyable read, and Kevin Hawkes's illustrations are great. Eva Ibbotson-y tropes, for fellow fans, include loving descriptions of supernatural creatures who have a very conventional set of standards and manners flipped around to be based on grossness and creepiness, plucky orphans who are unlike their families, people who are secretly noble, and duelling British stereotypes! The negative British stereotype is greedy, hidebound and proper, insistent on hereditary rights, and terrible to children, a la the boarding school tradition. The positive British stereotype is ALSO hidebound and proper, but more in a cheerful, middle-class class way--it was so wild to me that the Wilkinsons are simultaneously keen on living in a properly creepy ghost fashion AND upset about their children being exposed to bras in an underwear store. Oliver's not my favorite Ibbotson protagonist, as he doesn't seem to have a lot of interests outside the ghosts and has this weird aggressive, possessive streak that comes out at a couple points in the text (the scene where he straight-up tries to murder Fulton was one that made me go, 'holy crap, kid, maybe don't stab this dude with a spear!'). I did enjoy Adopta, though. There's a fun subplot about a ghost-killing agency, and there's a kind of subtle foreshadowing about Frieda's character development at the end that I thought was well-done. Ibbotson also does a really good job with atmosphere in this book--there are some parts that felt genuinely disturbing or creepy to me, sort of in the Roald Dahl-esque tradition of children's literature. Anyway, would recommend for those who enjoyed Eva Ibbotson's other children's books. Would not recommend for anyone who isn't interested in reading about, like, gobs of raw meat or rotting ghost bodies or whatnot. I tend toward the squeamish myself and winced a few times.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Copyright 1996, this is a Scholastic book. Kind of a goofy read. Some parts are kind of depressing, but the author tries to keep it upbeat. Elementary school age appropriate. A young boy finds out he's heir to a huge estate after living in an orphanage all his life. Thing is - he's loved at the orphanage & doesn't want to leave. His evil distant cousins want to kill him & have the estate (& the money involved) to themselves. These 2 crazy ladies start a business called "Adopt-A-Ghost". They far Copyright 1996, this is a Scholastic book. Kind of a goofy read. Some parts are kind of depressing, but the author tries to keep it upbeat. Elementary school age appropriate. A young boy finds out he's heir to a huge estate after living in an orphanage all his life. Thing is - he's loved at the orphanage & doesn't want to leave. His evil distant cousins want to kill him & have the estate (& the money involved) to themselves. These 2 crazy ladies start a business called "Adopt-A-Ghost". They farm out unwanted spooks to people who appreciate them. Then all sorts of shenanigans start. I didn't think I'd like this book as much as I did. It's got lots of humor & doesn't take itself seriously. I would recommend.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    This is a children's chapter book and it reads exactly like a children's chapter book. I felt like that kid in the school library reading the least offensive thing they could find from the selection of 10 books they had to choose from on their level. Overall this book was cute and I enjoyed it for what it was. I can't give it a higher rating however, because I just wasn't particularly interested and it didn't really impact me very much. Cute story, I probably would have appreciated it more 10 ye This is a children's chapter book and it reads exactly like a children's chapter book. I felt like that kid in the school library reading the least offensive thing they could find from the selection of 10 books they had to choose from on their level. Overall this book was cute and I enjoyed it for what it was. I can't give it a higher rating however, because I just wasn't particularly interested and it didn't really impact me very much. Cute story, I probably would have appreciated it more 10 years ago. 3.5 stars

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    A couple of my pupils said I ought to read this book so I have and they were correct . Every Eva Ibbotson book I have read (with or without my pupils) I have never been disappointed and this book is no exception. I like encouraging my pupils to read and recommend books to them so it is important to me that I read their recommendations we then discuss the book and which author it could lead them to next on their reading journey.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mortisha Cassavetes

    An imaginative story about a little boy who needed a family and a family of ghosts that needed a home. This book is filled with turmoil, cloud-like hugs, scary spirits and opening your hearts up to everyone. I would recommend this book to everyone and who knows what will happen if you leave a banana out on the sundial.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Funny and engaging, Dial-A-Ghost is also heartwarming and touching with just the right amount of villiany. There is some gore, which you'd expect in a ghost book, that may affect young readers. While it's a "children's" book, I couldn't put it down and can't wait to devour more of Eva Ibbotson's books! Funny and engaging, Dial-A-Ghost is also heartwarming and touching with just the right amount of villiany. There is some gore, which you'd expect in a ghost book, that may affect young readers. While it's a "children's" book, I couldn't put it down and can't wait to devour more of Eva Ibbotson's books!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie

    What a fun book! This book had the look and feel of and old school book that I might have enjoyed during my childhood. I loved the illustrations and all the paranormal humor which gave me plenty of chuckles. Not sure the intended middle school audience would appreciate this gem as much as I did but I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liz Morgan

    A wonderful book about the Wilkinson’s family who suddenly turn into ghosts when a bomb falls on their house. They find a little ghost girl who is alone and foster her as their own and call her Addie. Addie finds an agency called Dial-a-ghost which is an agency 2 women started who can see ghosts and help find homes for ghosts. A mixup happens with the Wilkinsons and a dreadful ghost couple called the shriekers, better known as the De Bones. Crazy twists and turns around every page turn. A great re A wonderful book about the Wilkinson’s family who suddenly turn into ghosts when a bomb falls on their house. They find a little ghost girl who is alone and foster her as their own and call her Addie. Addie finds an agency called Dial-a-ghost which is an agency 2 women started who can see ghosts and help find homes for ghosts. A mixup happens with the Wilkinsons and a dreadful ghost couple called the shriekers, better known as the De Bones. Crazy twists and turns around every page turn. A great read for kids, and older readers like. I bought this book from a children’s book catalog for the blind (as I read Braille) and it was under the longer fiction books for older reads. I’m 26 and loved this book and I hope you will too!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Checkthebook

    This book has a very happy ending! Hope you don't mind revolting ghosts, crushed skulls, or drowned children. It's only Eva Ibbotson at her best! Seriously, as I have mentioned with regard to Roald Dahl, sometimes British humor is just quirky that way. (If your cheder does not approve magic, then it's a no.) This book has a very happy ending! Hope you don't mind revolting ghosts, crushed skulls, or drowned children. It's only Eva Ibbotson at her best! Seriously, as I have mentioned with regard to Roald Dahl, sometimes British humor is just quirky that way. (If your cheder does not approve magic, then it's a no.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Pieck

    While the plot of this novel was fairly predicatlbe, it was worth reading for the witty authorial asides that were occasionally tucked into the narrative. These will delight kids who know that sometimes, grown-ups can be much stupider than the children they claim to be caring for and about.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sierra Nevada

    All of the books by Ibbotson are whimsical and wonderful! I remember this story fondly. She was one of my favorite authors growing up. If you like the Secret of Platform 13 book by her, you'll love this too. All of the books by Ibbotson are whimsical and wonderful! I remember this story fondly. She was one of my favorite authors growing up. If you like the Secret of Platform 13 book by her, you'll love this too.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I tried this as a read-aloud with my boys for October. I think it might be fine to read on your own, but it jumped around too much to work as a good read-aloud. We all decided to move onto something else.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andie

    I did not enjoy this as much as I enjoyed other works by Eva Ibbotson when I was a child (maybe I'm too old now? Wah). I think there were just too many characters, but there were moments of classic Ibbotson sweetness. I did not enjoy this as much as I enjoyed other works by Eva Ibbotson when I was a child (maybe I'm too old now? Wah). I think there were just too many characters, but there were moments of classic Ibbotson sweetness.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Blau

    British dark humor and ghosts and zaniness

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annie Lee

    Fabulous. Has definite appeal for fans of Roald Dahl.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    just as delightful as I remember from reading it in grade school!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maya McKenzie

    YA fantasy doesn't get better. YA fantasy doesn't get better.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fatima

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved it. It was quite a plot twist when adopta's parents were them. I loved it. It was quite a plot twist when adopta's parents were them.

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