Marcus Sedgwick - The Raven Mysteries (A Frothy Gothic Series)
This is one gothically funny series of books which will have you laughing out loud, or at the very least, making strange 'ark-like' bird noises.
The story is narrated by Edgar, a Raven, who is the Guardian of Otherhand Castle. A place full of odd ball characters that will have you following in pure amazement.
These are a great series of books to read to your children. Both young and old will enjoy the crazy antics of Valevine, Minty, Solstice and Cudweed. Each character will have your hair standing on end by the end of each book - they really are that crazy.
Five books (so far) have been published, with a sixth book due to be published in October 2011. These are great reads to brighten up your day - each book is decked out with superb illustrations by Pete Williamson. A name I wasn't too familiar with but one that I will now certainly be watching out for in the future.
B.K 1 - Flood and Fang
Meet the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. Edgar is alarmed when he sees a nasty looking black tail slinking under the castle walls. But his warnings to the inhabitants of the castle go unheeded: Lord Valevine Otherhand is too busy trying to invent the unthinkable and discover the unknowable; his wife, Minty, is too absorbed in her latest obsession - baking; and ten-year-old Cudweed is running riot with his infernal pet monkey. Only Solstice, the black-haired, poetry-writing Otherhand daughter, seems to pay any attention. As the lower storeys of the castle begin mysteriously to flood, and kitchen maids continue to go missing, the family come ever closer to the owner of the black tail...
B.K 2 Ghost and Gadgets
Join the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. The rumblings and wailings from the Lost South Wing can no longer be ignored, as one by one, members of the castle are being found frozen, 'scared to death'. With mother, Minty, obsessing over her latest fad - sewing - and father, Valevine, busy experimenting with a machine to discover the Lost Otherhand treasure, it's up to aspiring ghost-hunters Solstice and Cudweed to solve the mystery. But as usual, things don't go quite as planned... It's just as well Edgar is there to save the day!
B.k 3 Lunatics and Luck
oin the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. Solstice and Cudweed are appalled to find their father has appointed a new school master. But things get even worse when the grumpy, viciously mean teacher actually arrives. The Otherhand children are sure there's something more to him than meets the eye - the trouble is, who will believe them? No one it seems. Except, perhaps, Edgar.
B.K 4 Vampires and Volts
Join the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. It's Halloween and the Otherhands are enjoying the Annual Pumpkin Hunt. And there are preparations to be made for the Great Halloween Ball. Minty is all a-fluster. Solstice is busy spraying fake cobwebs everywhere. Valevine is in charge of disorganising everyone's carefully laid plans, and Cudweed seems hungrier than ever and oddly preoccupied with 'fresh brains'. In fact when Silas, Valevine's long lost brother, turns up with Samantha, the Otherhands would be well-advised to check out their guests. It's not long before wily Edgar works out that there's a preponderance of vampires and not all of them have false teeth...
B.K 5 Magic and Mayhem
Join the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. A trip to the circus has far-reaching consequences for the Otherhands when Fellah goes missing. Before long the Castle is plagued by a duck, a suspect fortune teller, and several cartloads of lethal cabbages. The family is preoccupied: Valevine is busy inventing a cabbage-counting machine; Minty is waiting to hear the secrets of the universe; and Solstice has discovered that Cudweed is concealing three hundred and forty-two rabbits in his bedroom. When chaos strikes and thieves infiltrate the Castle, it falls to Edgar to extract his family from a very fluffy predicament.