Nobody right now is writing for children quite like Penelope Lively has done. This is a ghost story, yes — some workmen unleash a spirit Please sign in to write a review. If you have changed your email address then contact us and we will update your details. Would you like to proceed to the App store to download the Waterstones App?

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The classic ghost story from Penelope Lively, one of the modern greats of British fiction for adults and children alike. James is fed up. His family has moved to a new cottage - with grounds that are great for excavations, and trees that are perfect for climbing — and stuff is happening.

Stuff that is normally the kind of thing he does. And he's getting blamed for it. But it's not him who's writing strange things on shopping lists and fences. It's not him who smashes bottles and pours tea in the Vicar's lap.

It's a ghost - honestly. Thomas Kempe the apothecary has returned and he wants James to be his apprentice. No one else believes in ghosts. It's up to James to get rid of him. Or he'll have no pocket money or pudding ever again. An iconic ghost story for children, The Ghost of Thomas Kempe is adored by thousands of children. The Ghost of Thomas Kempe. Search Site. Our website uses cookies in order to give you the best customer experience and to help us make our site work effectively.

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The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

I think it was because I could not connect emotionally with the main character, and found the novel ultimately empty and dull in spite of the literary skill of the author. This happens to me a lot with acclaimed novels of the last century or so. However, given that Lively is an anointed Great Writer, I wanted to give her another chance. Thomas Kempe is the ghost of a seventeenth-century apothecary whose resting place has been disturbed by renovations when a new family moves into his home. His violent manifestations and messages become a serious problem for ten-year-old James, who inevitably gets blamed for everything by the annoyingly modern-minded people around him. With the help of a local builder who takes a more sensible view of the issue, and a diary from the boy previously visited by this supernatural nuisance, he must find a way to put Kempe to rest once more.


Comfort reading: The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe, by Penelope Lively

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Classics Club: The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe is a low fantasy novel for children by Penelope Lively , first published by Heinemann in with illustrations by Anthony Maitland. Set in present-day Oxfordshire , it features a boy and his modern family who are new in their English village, and seem beset by a poltergeist. Soon the boy makes acquaintance with the eponymous Thomas Kempe, ghost of a 17th-century resident sorcerer who intends to stay. Lively won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association , recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject. An interest in history, the passage of time and local change is a running theme in the work of Penelope Lively and can be seen in many of her books. Beside Mr Kempe from the 17th century, this story involves both a 20th-century resident of the cottage and the history of the surrounding countryside.

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