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Haunted Histories: Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons, and Powerful Palaces
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Haunted Histories: Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons, and Powerful Palaces

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Guided by tween “ghostorian” Virgil, readers will discover fascinating facts about calamitous events throughout history as they explore castles, palaces and dungeons and those infamous figures associated with each. For instance, did you know that many castles were made out of wood painted to look like stone? Or that wealthy prisoners in the Tower of London could keep serva ...more
Hardcover, 146 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 193)
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Erin Reilly-Sanders
Yes, I only gave this 3 stars (probably actually a 3.5), but for me, that's pretty a pretty good rating. I liked the book, particularly with things related to the format. It's a great book design- a good size and shape with a silky black cover that says that the book is going to be focused on the historical but is going to be a modern and fun approach to this information. The book reads super quickly with few words to a page and lots of entertaining and informative illustrations. It's a bit of a ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-z-challenge
I really enjoyed the way this book uses comparative history - history as it is really done professionally and academically - instead of linear history. It is a bit more challenging, but the authors make the information very accessible to their young readers through their language, examples, and illustrations. I also like how the authors give examples of each theme (palaces, castles, and dungeons) from around the world, instead of just sticking with Western Europe. A recent article states that th ...more
Jennifer Haight
Aug 21, 2012 Jennifer Haight rated it really liked it
The opening page displays the "Ancient Order of Ghostorians Creed" which explains that the group encourages research
and fact. In the introduction we meet our narrator, Virgil Dante who rides the border between seductive and creepy. He tells the reader that his cursed pocket watch allows him to control time and place and more importantly, it allows him to talk to ghosts.

After the introduction including a quote from Shakespeare, we delve into the world of castles. From Japan to Syria and finally t
Oct 18, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it
Sweet little format, sense of humor, and I loved the pictures.
Karen Arendt
Reveals the history of castles, dungeons, palaces, and graveyards of medieval times. Includes plenty of gross information that will appeal to boys. Told in narrative voice of a "ghostorian"- an historian who finds ghosts and other creepy historical sites. Also includes drawings and sketch art to accompany discussion on the castles, dungeons, etc. Table of contents and index. With the fascination of old torture, this nonfiction book could be useful in the new Common Core standards with interest i ...more
Probably more like. 3.5 for me. This one is a little too disjointed to be a total success, and yet I learned some fascinating things about castles, dungeons and palaces. However I didn't really learn much about ghosts or hauntings so I felt the title was a bit misleading. Good for kids into history, graphic adaptations, Kings, queens, palaces, torture and ghosts.
The framing device is a group of historians who can teleport to anywhere on earth and get history directly from the mouths of ghosts. Okay, the ghost aspect is way oversold, there's actually almost nothing to that. But the history itself is accurate to current understanding, diverse in both region and figures mentioned, and presented in a fun way. When talking about castles many people focus exclusively on European castles, but this presents as well the fortress used by the Hospitaliers during t ...more
Misty Kincade
May 06, 2014 Misty Kincade rated it really liked it
Shelves: red-317
Literary Awards: N/A
Book Level: 6.3
Interest Level: MG (4-8)

Brief Summary:
In this nonfiction text, readers are guided by tween ghostorian, Virgil Dante, who informs readers of some of the most creepiest and powerful places. Virgil reveals shocking facts about events and people throughout history while exploring castles, palaces, and dungeons. Students will be enthralled with the detailed illustrations as they take a spooky tour through some of the most historical places in the world.

Content Conn
Amanda Harris
Oct 16, 2013 Amanda Harris rated it it was amazing
Would you like a tour from a Ghostorian? Would you like to know all about what it would be like to live in a castle or live the life of a king, queen, or peasant? Would you like to meet the ghosts of those who did? If you answered, "yes" to all the above...then you definitely want to pick up "Haunted Histories" and read it. This title offers a great deal of facts about living in creepy castles, dwelling in dark dungeons, and prancing around powerful palaces. It basically gives kids a disgusting ...more
This is more plain history rather than haunted history. If you are looking for ghost stories look some place else. I think this is a good book for explaining castles and giving some background to the time period in which the castle was at its peak. It touches base on several locations and gives a map so kids can get a perspective on where things took place. The concept that the narrator has a cursed watch that allows him to travel and talk to ghost is a weak plot. He focuses more on history of t ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Brenda rated it it was ok
When I picked this book out, because of the title, I thought it was going to tell of haunted dungeons, castles and so forth. And while it does tell a few haunted stories, it's really poorly written. I wondered if the writing was lowered down for kids, but I can see kids getting bored with the writing style real fast.
Basically, its about a kid with a magic watch that lets him travel through time and space and go to these haunted places and talk to ghosts. He really just pops from one pace to the
Jun 24, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kids 8 and up!
Shelves: read-in-2013
I picked up this book because it sounded like it would be an interesting read and I am so glad I did because I really liked it! One of my favorite types of books is Historical Fiction and this was perfect!

It was nice to read a story that incorporated facts about castels, kings and queens with fictional stories about ghosts. I loved that it had facts about the castles listed in the book because we had just learned about some of these features like arrow loops, round towers, and portcullis in a un
Apr 07, 2016 Lily rated it really liked it
Definitely a fun read for kiddos (or adults) interested in the more macabre parts of history. A cheeky narrator, brief summaries, and illustrated castle layouts make this a good non-fiction for reluctant readers.
Stacey Brunst
Mar 10, 2016 Stacey Brunst rated it really liked it
An interesting non-fiction read about historical prisons and palaces. The author uses a wide variety of text features which makes the book more interesting to read. Neat information about some spooky topics.
Jaime Leroy
Feb 12, 2013 Jaime Leroy rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-school
This book follows fictional Virgil Dante, a ghostarian, and Thor, his faithful raven, as they travel through time and space using a magical pocket watch to meet and greet ghosts. Through this method, we learn of may haunted places and their histories. It is an interesting take on “ghost stories” and I think my students will enjoy it. I know they will enjoy descriptions of torture devices and methods of punishment. Overall, a good read, albeit gruesome at parts.

Price: 14.99
Suitability:Grades 5-8
Oct 04, 2015 Christen rated it liked it
Facts that are certainly true and disturbing, just not enough universal appeal for me to use for a lesson plan. More suited to a single reader.
Aug 13, 2013 Shersta rated it it was ok
Overall, this book was a bitter disappointment. Initially, the narrator idea was intriguing, with the potential for good characterization. The subject matter promised a focus on the ghostly entities of various historical locations, with "interviews" conducted, etc. However, I counted less than a handful of "ghosts" in the book, with most of the pages taken up by stock historical data that was written in such a dry, flat voice that I felt no desire to even finish the book. I forced myself all of ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Better than I thought it was going to be. A little remedial but still pretty interesting. The writing and information was well organized and fun to read.
Dec 30, 2015 C. added it
Quick Read.
Feb 03, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was very obviously a children's book, but it was so cute I couldn't help but love it. It was informative, witty, and at times funny, but still kept things serious and worth reading. Hey, I even learned a few things! Totally worth the quick read and I'd recommend this book to any kid. So adorable despite the content. 5 out of 5 stars.
Brenda Kahn
Jan 20, 2013 Brenda Kahn rated it it was ok
Shelves: ghosts, 2013
Ghostorian, Virgil Dante, vaguely reminiscent of a teen-age Poe, complete with pet raven, flits about history with his trusty pocket watch. There are cartoons; there's irreverence, there are humorous asides. The castles are interesting enough, but I would've liked more. There weren't many ghosts. The information seemed a bit scattershot. But, it's small size and cardboard cover should appeal to those certain someones.
Sharon Lawler
The book uses a fictional narrator to take the reader on a tour of haunted castles around the globe. I really enjoyed the historical background of these places, and the descriptions of all the barbaric implements of torture, but I found the "haunted" factor to be a very small part of the book. There is a detailed index, a list of resources, and a map, but I think the title is misleading.
Penny Peck
Feb 17, 2013 Penny Peck rated it liked it
Shelves: children-ya
The title, cover art, and book design are very appealing, but a little misleading. They indicate that this concerns haunted places, but it is more of a book on how castles are constructed through history. It was fun, but jumped around and was a little too incomplete to be helpful to report writers.
Mar 06, 2013 Amy rated it it was ok
It was okay. There were just little snippets of information that I was already familiar with or left me wanting more.

This would be a good intro for kids who say they don't like history, but if you've already got an avid history buff, you could do better.
Feb 15, 2013 Carla rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-stuff-rocks
Light on hauntings but high on history. Good title to hand over to the child who has finished all the "You Wouldn't Want To Be..." series. Very much in the same sort of vein at a higher reading level.
My 6 year old and I read this together and out was really fun. There was not as much "haunted"stuff as I though there would be, but it was full of real facts that were interesting.
Edward Sullivan
Nov 27, 2012 Edward Sullivan rated it it was ok
Occasionally interesting and entertaining but the book is not primarily about ghosts or hauntings and I don't care for the use of a fictional narrator in a book presented as nonfiction.
Dec 14, 2012 Rachel rated it it was ok
I wanted this to be about ghosts, but its more about architecture and medieval life, because of this the frame which seems cute at first fails to really bring the information together.
Nov 13, 2012 Allison rated it did not like it
Shelves: kids-non-fiction
I think this book failed on so many levels. I wish that there was more humor. There is not a lot of information about a great many things. I also didn't like the structure of the book.
Dec 21, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it
Entertaining, and I adore the illustrations. Wish they'd done a bit more with the ghost aspect since that's a main part of the title!
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Visual storyteller (illustrator), writer, and historian

Ev enjoys learning about everything and meeting new people. He is the father of two boys, and is married to Dr. Rebecca Stanton, a professor of Education. On a daily basis, his Pembroke Welsh Corgi, named Lucy, herds him around the house and studio.

Ev has worked as a professional musician, theater director, editor, writer, teacher, and illustr
More about J.H. Everett...

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