ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties

Book III in the Cape Cod Witch Series

Children - Preteen
222 Pages
Reviewed on 08/18/2015
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Author Biography

Author/environmentalist J Bean Palmer was forged on the high ethos of the 60’s, tempered with the worldly challenges of her former day job working for industry as an environmental scientist. With this perspective, she utilizes the elements of story and magic to invite pre-teens to take their own bright look at our complex biosphere. In a novel grounded in math and science, the field trip taken by this class of somewhat eccentric young people elevates to noble high adventure, and plummets back to earth with the occasional low humor. The aim: to entertain and educate. The message: “Authorities” too often don’t, in fact, “know best.” The voices of youth should be listened to as a powerful force for good, answerers to life’s BIG questions, and in their role as the hope of the future. Bronze award winner for ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties, Mom’s Choice awards, New England Book Awards and others.
Co-author Chris Palmer makes some use of his education in philosophy and experience as a short-order cook on the Cape, a Boston cab driver and Internet services sales executive in California He is a 14th generation Cape Codder and a published poet.

Members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. J Bean was also a member of the National League of American Pen Women and a former board member of the Cape Cod Writers Center. They currently live in a barn on the banks of a western Maine river.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties by J Bean Palmer and Chris Palmer is the third book of this series which takes young readers on an adventure to another world. ElsBeth Amelia Thistle is the youngest witch on Cape Cod and that particular day, as she heads toward the sea with her friends Veronica and Lisa Lee, she is gripped with a sense of uneasiness that doesn't seem natural. Once there, they bump into Robert Hillman Jones and his friends. The boys were planning to take Uncle Preston's yacht and sail around the islands. They find themselves caught in the middle of a storm where no one is able to control the yacht. What follows is a series of unexpected events, mystery, and adventure.

The plot has many layers to it which makes it a compelling read. The illustrations are good and they do complement the scenes nicely. The portrayal of all the characters is good and ElsBeth stands for responsibility, fun and intrigue as the story progresses. The narration is detailed and there is something very charming and mysterious about nautical themed stories. As the plot progresses, readers get to know about ElsBeth's cat obsession, being transported to Greenland where she is informed about the plight of polar bears, and also an encounter with porpoises who tell ElsBeth about selkies. The book has a lot of adventure and mystery for readers that will leave them excited and enthralled as they go on the trip with ElsBeth and her friends.

D. Donovan, Midwest Book

"ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties is about as fine a middle school fantasy as you could get: vivid, packed with ghosts and mystery, and yet tempered with an attention to interpersonal depth that is rare and inviting."

Storyteller Ink

"I want to very highly recommend ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties. I found it humorous and entertaining. The story caught my interest quickly due to the character development. There is a sense of adventure, responsibility and fun in this book. One of my favorite things was the way the kids in the story worked together to understand and solve a problem, which helped others. I love stories that have a positive outcome due to the inventiveness and courage of kids! And this book is rich in this quality. Read it and spread the word. This one is really enjoyable!!!"

Miss Samantha Grayson

I loved reading this book. It is a great adventure filled with mystery and folklore. Very beautifully written capturing so much magic... This book has been well researched and has a believable feel to it (in the fantasy way). As a reader it is easy to feel that you are part of the adventure.

This series has the potential to keep running for a long time to come, and I will be looking forward to ElsBeth's future adventures.


The third story in the Cape Cod Witch series is a great continuation of the series. We take off for Scotland with ElsBeth and the group in a 'borrowed' yacht...With some new magical creatures and a group of ancient ghosts determined to protect, there are many lessons to be learned. A recurring theme through the books is environmentalism, and taking care of what we have now to save it for others in the future. Some of the ideas and concepts are for kids a little older than the first two books in the series. There is a nice development as you read through them.

Andrea Houtsch

Book III in the Cape Cod Witch series brings us back together with Elsbeth Amelia Thistle, now a nine year old witch from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It is two years after The Pirate’s Treasure takes place, and Elsbeth and her cast of friends/classmates has grown and matured in the time since.

The story opens by introducing us to a ghost named Durst who is intent on protecting his home and lands from a mysterious adversary referred to as “Gorgeous”. He sends out a call on the Four Winds, a spell searching out that one special person who would come and save his lands – the youngest Thistle.

This adventure begins in earnest when Robert Hillman-Jones, Elsbeth’s antithesis and antagonist, decides he is going to take his uncle’s yacht for a sail. The girls happen upon this secret plan and wrangle their way into it. Mid-sail strange, magical things start to happen. A storm of unbelievable strength and power swoops down on the children and soon they are swept out to open sea, caught in a wind current that propels them through some storytelling and across the ocean to Scotland.


The third installment of a Middle Grade series filled with magic, mystery, danger, and friendship. It takes us to the upper east coast of the USA and across the seas as we seek to protect a home never known…and a little something more.

What at first appears to be merely another adventure with a varied group of kids, furry animals, and some magic thrown in for good measure…which by the way, would have certainly been good enough…turns into a cross seas adventure with a few lessons to learn, a hidden message of conservation and overall ecological responsibility.

Who’d have thought, right? Yet, there it is, ready for readers young and old to capture, embrace, and take “the long look” themselves at how our actions and choices shape the world around us in a much BIGGER way.

On the story level, we’re faced with topics such as growing up, uncovering a secret family history, “enemies” we couldn’t fathom having had let alone have them currently seeking us out, challenging friendships, and forgiveness.

There is a bit of a mystery to solve as well as a plethora of magical creatures to meet plus a bad guy worth serving up on a platter…with his little henchmen. Her well meaning friends provide many emotional highs and lows throughout the story. My favorite would have to be Johnny Twofeathers and our leading lady, Ms. Elsbeth Thistle, on the human side of things, both for their general character as well as their good intentions. On the side of familiars, Sylvanas wins paws down…gotta love that crazy cat!

In conclusion…a trip to the Cape well worth the travel time with a cast of characters you’ll be glad to have met. Recommended read for girls and boys alike from the Middle Grade set and forward.

No Labels

It was nice to see that this book (as well as the other books) in the Cape Cod Witch series can in fact stand alone.

I really love the way this cover was done. Images very crisp and colorful without being overwhelming with content. Balance of text and spacing was wonderful to the eyes. Out of all the covers in the series, this is the one I adored the most.

All of the illustrations made me smile. I could not pinpoint one that was my absolute favorite because I appreciated them all. I only wished there were a few more of them as it got to the middle and ending of the book...

Robert Hillman-Jones and Johnny Twofeathers in particular really came into their own in the Call of the Castle Ghosties. ElsBeth seemed more of a team supporter than the sole hero. Although there may be some who frown on the shared spotlight, I believe it reinforces the fact that they truly are friends of ElsBeth and have the best intentions at heart.

There were quite a bit of chances to learn in this book. Some of the issues mentioned involved polar bears, stripping the land of its natural resources, and lack of encouragement to think for one’s self in the education system. Since the characters are at about the ten/eleven year old mark, it’s not too unorthodox to provide some type of awareness about these types of things.