________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 40. . . .June 17, 2016


The Ghastly McNastys: Fright in the Night. (The Ghastly McNastys; 3).

Lyn Gardner. Illustrated by Ros Asquith.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2016.
143 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77138-148-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77138-130-7 (hc.).

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Penny McGill.

***½ /4



“Poor shark!” said the captain. “It must have accidentally swallowed these repulsive, repellent sea monsters.”

The two revolting creatures gave a shriek of anger and rose to their feet.

“I’m not repulsive! I am Captain Gruesome, and millions of people across the world consider me extraordinarily attractive, except I haven’t met any of them yet,” said one, snatching the captain’s knife and waving it threateningly.

“How dare you call me repellent! I’m Captain Grisly. I’m proud that so many admire me and I declare that I am as handsome as a wombat, as cunning as a crocodile and as ferocious as a Tasmanian devil.”

“And as smelly as a skunk,” remarked the trawler captain, which was brave, but rather foolish. The McNastys advanced toward her so threateningly that even the sun was scared and hid behind a cloud.


The Ghastly McNastys: Fright in the Night is the third book in the series; however, author Lyn Gardner introduces the reader to the adventure of life at sea through a bright new character, Jamie Fried-Trout, and so it never feels like you are missing anything by not starting with the first book. Jamie is a cousin to Tat Trout who was a hero of previous Ghastly McNasty books, and together with their friend Hetty they use the bravery and cunning of children to outwit the pirate brothers again in this novel which has the added touch of ghostly darkness in the story. Before they find a way to outsmart those truly horrible pirates, all three children face significant obstacles. Jamie has to outsmart the Captains Gruesome and Grisly when they hijack the fishing trawler, The Good Hope, where he works. The pirates make the entire crew walk the plank but spare Jamie so that he can be their slave. Captain Gruesome says, “We’re going to need a cabin boy to boss around and be ghastly and nasty to on a regular basis, and you’ll do, you revolting little pest.” Tat and Hetty are busy looking for the lost treasure of Captain Syd when they are waylaid by another new and enjoyable character, the Inspector Clousseau-like investigator named Gullible Haddock. He carries an enormous magnifying glass and doesn’t believe anything that children tell him. It’s frustrating and funny at the same time, and they find a way to make it work to their advantage. Illustrator Ros Asquith does incredible work throughout this book, but the close-up image of Inspector Haddock not recognizing a clue ‘right under his nose’ is wonderful.

     Attention is paid throughout the book to make each element ingenious, from text to illustration. Several pages are devoted to reminding the reader that this book must be read with great care, possibly even in a locked closet, as the pirates might try to escape from the pages. A suggestion is made that, if the advice is not followed, the McNastys might give the reader “fleas, nits and nightmares”, and fleas and nits do become a useful clue for Hetty and Tat in sorting out this adventure with the pirates whether they ever jump off the pages or not.

     Once the children realize that the despicable pirates are hot on their trail and after the treasure of Captain Syd, they try to protect it and capture the evildoers at the same time. With the knowledge that they will not receive assistance from the inspector, they create a plan and put it in motion with the help of people from the town, their parrot and their delightful cat ‘Dog’. The rough and tumble final battle with the pirates involves dynamite, super sticky glue, and glow-in-the dark paint. Fortunately it all takes place on the evening of their annual Junior Costume Dance so the fact that some of the children were dressed as skeletons worked in nicely. Although the pirates are nasty and ghastly, they are no match for the threat of a glow-in-the dark ghost, and both the treasure and children are safe at the end of the book.

Highly Recommended.

Penny McGill is a library assistant with an enthusiastic reading habit at the Waterloo Public Library in Waterloo, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

CM Home | Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue -June 17, 2016 | Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive

Updated: October 17, 2014 (hsd)