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Claire Barker graduated from Bath Spa University with a degree in English Literature and History. She studied illustration for a further two years and worked as a teaching assistant for several more. Claire used to live on narrowboats but now lives with her family on a small, untidy farm in deepest, darkest Devon. When she's not busy writing or illustrating she spends her days wrestling sheep, battling through nettle patches and triumphantly catching rogue chickens.
Claire Barker’s Knitbone Pepper books are charming: gentle stories about a ghostly band of dearly departed pets living in a crumbling stately home, they are funny, lively and genuinely touching. There’s great excitement when a circus pitches its tents at Starcross Hall. Knitbone detects an odd scent in the big top, a mix of salt, mist and dandelion clocks, and he recognises the smell of a broken heart. Sure enough, the circus has a ghost tiger, desperate to communicate with his ‘Beloved’, former owner, the circus ringmaster. The Starcross animals come to his help, and foil a jewel thief in the process too. The setting, the motley crew of ghosts, Winnie’s eccentric parents and the perfect understanding of that special bond between pet and owner make this very special, heaven in a book for young animal fans. Further animal reading recommendations include Dick King-Smith and particularly Martin’s Mice and the Sophie stories; Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl series is set in a stately home, abounds with eccentric adults and features ghost animals; while Lucy M Boston’s classic The Children of Green Knowe is a more challenging read but rich and rewarding. ~ Andrea Reece
August 2015 Book of the Month Knitbone loves his owner Winnie Pepper more than all the bicycle wheels, Frisbees and cowpats in the world! So it’s maybe no surprise that when he dies his spirit stays with Winnie in Starcross Hall, her parents’ crumbling stately home. He’s not the only ghost animal, there’s a whole gang of them and when the Hall is threatened by bailiffs, the Spirits of Starcross and Winnie make a formidable team! With its sweet ghost animals and ginger-nut-fuelled adventure, this charming story ticks all the right boxes for young readers. Ross Collins’ illustrations are spookily fun but capture the affection between Knitbone and Winnie perfectly too. ~ Andrea Reece
Knitbone Pepper's beloved owner Winnie is fascinated by the stars after Knitbone digs up an ancient telescope. So when a heartbroken ghost horse asks for help finding her owner - a world-famous astronomer - Knitbone looks to the skies for a dazzling answer...
Meet Knitbone Pepper, the dead special ghost dog haunting Starcross Hall! Knitbone has a problem. His beloved owner Winnie and her bonkers parents may be forced to move and leave Knitbone behind! Can the Spirits of Starcross, a gigglesome gang of ghostly animals, help Winnie save her home? Illustrations: Colour throughout
Meet Knitbone Pepper, the dead special ghost dog haunting Starcross Hall! Knitbone has a problem. His beloved owner Winnie and her bonkers parents may be forced to move and leave Knitbone behind! Can the Spirits of Starcross, a gigglesome gang of ghostly animals, help Winnie save her home?
Knitbone Pepper is a friendly ghost dog, haunting the crumbling Starcross Hall with a gaggle of other ghostly pets. When Lord Pepper buys an antique top hat he brings home a ghost rabbit looking for a young magician called Ernest Salt. But there's skulduggery at play and Ernest's guardians are determined to keep his identity secret...
NOBODY tells ME what to do BECUZ. I DUZ what I LIKES and I LIKES what I DUZ OH YES! Jack's new best friend Picklewitch is still causing marvellous mischief at St Immaculate's School for the Gifted. When she receives a letter from her cousin Archie Cuckoo, telling her he's coming to stay, Jack worries that she'll lose interest in him. But this new cousin turns out to be unexpectedly nice, and it's Picklewitch whose nose is put out of joint when Archie and Jack get along really well. But Archie is not all he seems, and soon both Picklewitch and Jack realise there are sinister plans afoot!
Knitbone Pepper and his ghostly animal friends are thrilled when a vintage plane lands at Starcross Hall, bringing with it Martin the hamster's beloved ghostly owner. But this visitor is a human ghost, and that means only one thing - mischief!
Picklewitch is, quite literally, out of her tree. She has a nose for naughtiness, a taste for trouble and a weakness for cake. And unluckily for brainbox Jack - winner of the 'Most Sensible Boy in School' for the third year running - she's about to choose him as her new best friend . . .
The dreadful strangers moved in on a wild and windy Thursday. 'Fudgenuts,' cursed Picklewitch, adjusting her cracked binoculars to get a better view of the comings-and-goings. 'This won't do at all. I bet they haven't even bought me any cake.' Picklewitch is, quite literally, out of her tree. She has a nose for naughtiness, a taste for trouble and a weakness for cake. And unluckily for brainbox Jack - winner of the 'Most Sensible Boy in School' for the third year running - she's about to choose him as her new best friend . . .