Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter by Gabrielle Wang
Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143787334
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Ghosts, Chinese mythology, Sorcery. Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter is the much awaited sequel to Gabrielle Wang's Ghost in My Suitcase. These wonderful stories bring to life Chinese culture, ancient mythology and traditions, focusing on the belief in the supernatural and the art of ghost hunting.
Three years ago, a small Chinese lady Bao Min rescued a young girl from an orphanage, taking Ting Ting home to a place filled with kindness and love. Now trained in the special skills of ghost hunting, she travels with her grandma Por around Shanghai capturing problem ghosts. Snake whips, mingshen mirrors, a coin sword and brass bells are used to lure the spirits from their hiding spots.
Ting Ting is unhappy with her role just banishing "harmless fat-belly ghosts" and wants to step up to her grandma's ghost hunting level. When her Por is summoned to Black Band Village for a special job, Ting Ting is left behind trusted to continue her home-schooling and to seal Bao Mansion protecting the house from spirits. She is very fearful of returning here because six weeks ago she was hurt while fighting her grandfather's ghost.
When her Por disappears and doesn't keep in touch, Ting Ting decides to travel to their Shanghai home and then on to the mysterious Black Band Village. Her journey high into the mountains demands courage, self-reliance, and use of her special skills and trust in the villagers who have been exiled by a den of ghosts.
Gabrielle Wang's charming story opens up the world of Chinese culture and beliefs, magic, festivals, fantastic food and an insight into daily life. The characters are heartfelt and Ting Ting's growth is encouraging to see. The author's charming sketches throughout add to the excitement and understanding of their way of life. Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter is an evocative junior novel, filled with magical realism just right for readers from 9-12.