Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Ghosts for new readers, a giveaway and garb for World Book Day

Posted on | February 20, 2014 | 32 Comments

ghostsonthelooseMortimer Keene is a brilliant inventor…. who knows how to have fun!

He’s also a very small boy.

And he likes to cause chaos at his school.

Having previously created a slime machine, his latest contraption is an appliance which sends out all sorts of scary apparitions to haunt his teachers and frighten his classmates. What mischief! And what fun ;-)

But what happens when one of his ghoulish creations appears to turn on Mortimer? Could this be the end of the crackpot kid creator? Or will he be able use his skills to save the school and himself?

Mortimer Keene: Ghosts on the Loose by Tim Healey and illustrated by Chris Mould (@ChrisMouldInk) is the second book in a series ideal for encouraging new readers to keep reading (and older, more reluctant readers to give books another go). Written in rhyme, with just a sentence or two per page, and broken up into easy-to-manage chapters, the format of this book (including its perfect hand held size) makes it easy for kids to keep turning the pages.


The plot is a thrilling mixture of laugh-out-loud creepiness (watch out for a plague victims and a hangman) whilst the illustrations – on every page – are scratchily spooky and hugely entertaining. With plenty of bonus material at each end of the book there’s lots to spark the imagination: why not tell your own spooky story or set up ghost hunt?

Like the sound of this book? I think it’s brilliant and so I’m really very pleased that I’ve got one copy of Mortimer Keene: Ghosts on the Loose to giveaway to lucky reader. you’ll find the details at the bottom of this post.

The third instalment of Mortimer Keene’s adventures is out this summer (involving aliens!) but if you can’t wait that long, you might want to check out the Vampire School series written by Peter Bently, illustrated by Chris Harrison for more school-based ghastly ghoulish goings-on for newly independent readers.

In the run up to World Book Day this year we thought we’d have fun creating a few costumes for children’s book characters we’ve recently discovered. So after a little bit of rummaging in cupboards and wardrobes in strolled our very own Mortimer Keene:


We used some chef’s whites I happen to have but maybe you already have a white doctor’s coat or lab coat in your dressing up box you could re-purpose? Borrow a shirt and tie from a Dad, Uncle or Grandpa, and grab some rubber gloves from under the sink. The only thing we had to source specially for this costume were the toy glasses – but maybe you already have them from a past Harry Potter or Where’s Wally costume?




As you can see the kids also made Mortimer-Keene-inspired Phantom Machine connected up to a home-made laptop (aka old shoebox). Whilst this might be a little difficult to transport to school for World Book Day, a toy laptop or a spanner (real or cut out of cardboard) would be an easy accessory to add to your Mortimer Keene costume.

If your child’s school is encouraging everyone to dress up for World Book Day, do you know if they’ll be using it as an opportunity to fundraise for Book Aid International?


Book Aid International works in partnership with libraries in Africa providing books, resources and training to support an environment in which reading for pleasure, study and lifelong learning can flourish. Last year they provided 563,424 new books to over 3,300 libraries. This year sees their 60th anniversary, having sent more than 30 million books to partner libraries since they were set up.

Book Aid has created loads of really brilliant resources to use in school, from lesson plans to assembly activities

Why not use one of Book Aid’s resources in school on World Book Day, ask kids to make a donation to Book Aid in return for wearing their costumes, and thereby be part of something really wonderful; In 2013, children across the UK raised a staggering £75,500, enough to send nearly 40,000 books to children in places in Africa where books are scarce. How much could you help raise this year?

Giveaway details

I have one copy of Mortimer Keene: Ghosts on the Loose by Tim Healey and illustrated by Chris Mould to give away.

The giveaway is open to residents in UK/Eire only. To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post.

For extra entries you can:

    (1) Tweet about this giveaway, perhaps using this text:
    Win a copy of @chrismouldink’s latest (& spookily brilliant) Mortimer Keene book over on @playbythebook’s blog
    (2) Share this giveaway on your Facebook page or blog

You must leave a separate comment for each entry for them to count.

  • The winner will be chosen at random using
  • The giveaway is open for just over one week, and closes on Friday 28th February 2014 5pm UK time. I will contact the winner via email. If I do not hear back from the winner within one week of emailing them, I will re-draw a winner.

  • Good luck!

    Disclosure: My thanks go to the publishers, Hodder, for donating the book for this giveaway, and for sending me a review copy. I was approached by Book Aid to spread the word about the charity and I am very happy to do so, having supported them for several years already. I received no payment for this post.


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    32 Responses to “Ghosts for new readers, a giveaway and garb for World Book Day”

    1. iain maciver
      February 20th, 2014 @ 11:13 am

      fab giveaway

    2. Kelly Mcaleese
      February 20th, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

      Looks like a great book!

    3. Jen aka The Mad House
      February 20th, 2014 @ 2:36 pm

      I have tweeted

    4. Jen aka The Mad House
      February 20th, 2014 @ 2:38 pm
    5. liveotherwise
      February 20th, 2014 @ 3:00 pm

      This looks excellent. Love your costumes too.
      liveotherwise recently posted..Independent Study (The Testing 2) Joelle Charbonneau

    6. liveotherwise
      February 20th, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

      liveotherwise recently posted..Independent Study (The Testing 2) Joelle Charbonneau

    7. Polly
      February 20th, 2014 @ 4:31 pm

      Ooh- yes please. We’ll have a go…

    8. Erica Price
      February 20th, 2014 @ 6:09 pm

      Looks like a fun book.
      Erica Price recently posted..Smiggle

    9. Erica Price
      February 20th, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

      Tweeted as @ericahughes
      Erica Price recently posted..Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Giveaway

    10. Cat Jones
      February 20th, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

      It sounds like this book would be perfect for using with children who are struggling to make progress in learning to read. As a teacher, I could make good use of it!
      Cat Jones recently posted..Tutor Available in Whitstable, Kent

    11. Williarmis
      February 20th, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

      After a slime machine,
      The thing I’d love most,
      Is Mortimer Keane,
      And the chance of some ghosts!

    12. clair downham
      February 20th, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

      my son would love this

    13. clair downham
      February 20th, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

      shared on facebook

    14. clair downham
      February 20th, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

      tweeted as xxgingerpumpkin

    15. Elli
      February 20th, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

      I’d love to win, pretty please. I’ve been eyeing it up anyway, out of professional interest as much as anything else.
      Elli recently posted..Dawdling Maud

    16. Helen Allan
      February 21st, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

      A lovely book. Thank you for the competition.

    17. Zoe
      February 21st, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

      Thanks for the giveaway!
      Looks like a great book!

    18. claire WOODS
      February 21st, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

      Tweeted @clairewoods32

    19. claire WOODS
      February 21st, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

      Shared on FB – claire samuel

    20. Marina Wilson
      February 22nd, 2014 @ 12:37 am

      I’m an avid reader: 4 books a week so I’m always on the look out for new books. I’d love to win. I’ll tweet also @mummycat111

    21. Sam @happyhomebird
      February 24th, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

      Sounds like a fun book and one I’d really enjoy reading to my son.

    22. Dawn Henson
      February 25th, 2014 @ 5:42 am

      My daughter would love this. She has recently started to read and loves it!!

    23. Mickie Bull
      February 26th, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

      A wonderful starting book!

    24. Ruth Tesdale
      February 27th, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

      I would love to win this.

    25. Ruth Tesdale
      February 27th, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

      I have tweeted @RuthMarianna

    26. Ruth Tesdale
      February 27th, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

      I have shared on facebook

    27. Solange
      February 27th, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

      Great giveaway

    28. cathyj
      February 28th, 2014 @ 5:39 am

      great giveaway

    29. cathyj
      February 28th, 2014 @ 5:41 am
    30. cathyj
      February 28th, 2014 @ 5:42 am

      have shared on facebook

    31. Janine Atkin
      March 27th, 2014 @ 8:50 pm

      looks like a fab book
      Janine Atkin recently posted..Sharpie Stylo Grip 0.4mm Pen

    32. Laura Pritchard
      March 28th, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

      Great costumes! Thanks for running the giveaway.

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