This story, set in Britain in the 1950’s, tells the tale of two little girls who visit their aunt and end up face-to-face with a monster that has been terrorizing the town for centuries. Cora and her younger sister Mimi do not want to go to Aunt Ida’s cottage, but they are forced to by their loving but irresponsible young father. Ida wants nothing to do with the girls, but has no choice but to watch over them until she can send them home. Cora is immediately unhappy with the situation- who would want to spend their summer in a crumbling old home, with all the windows bolted shut and most of the rooms locked? Soon after the girls arrive, they make friends with two neighborhood boys named Roger and Pete who show the girls all the interesting sites around the village…including the old church they were forbidden to visit. Once they have been to the church, very strange things start to happen: Cora hears eerie songs being sung in the house when she’s alone, they see the ghosts of small children in the graveyard, and awful slithering and scratching noises can be heard around the outside of the house at night. Despite Aunt Ida’s best efforts to protect them, these children are not safe from the monster that seeks them.
This is a very suspenseful and creepy story that was inspired by an old folk poem by the same name as the book. The setting is unique, and allows the reader a perspective on life for a child in Britain following WWII. If you can get past the slang and unfamiliar product names, and you like a good horror story, this is definitely a great read!