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A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth

Written by Francesca Gibbons

Illustrated by Chris Riddell

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A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth Review

Adventure Stories Books of the Month Debuts of the Month Fantasy / Magical Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers

Bursting with magical ideas, this is a fabulous adventure story packed-full of invention and surprise

October 2020 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020

Imogen’s life at home is not all perfect so it’s no surprise that she follows the strange silver moth that arrives from nowhere – even when it leads her through a door in a tree! And there’s no stopping her little sister Marie from following…Like any magic opening, the door leads the two girls into an extraordinary world where almost anything can – and will – happen! As in the best traditions of children’s stories, Imogen and Marie meet a wealth of larger-than-life characters including a spoiled prince and a dancing bear as they journey through a richly-imagined world of possibilities. Chris Riddell’s illustrations bring the magic to life perfectly.

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

Other Info

A Letter from the author;

Dear Reader,

Twelve-year-old Fran would be wildly excited to know that you might read her book. She’s the one who thought it’d be fun to write a story about a door in a tree. Grown-up Fran feels exactly the same way – although she has made some changes to the plot.

The story begins with a little girl, called Imogen, who follows a moth into another world. The place she discovers is populated by monsters and bears and a prince who lives in a tower. But Imogen is followed too… by her annoying little sister. Before she gets home, Imogen must learn to sort the truths from the myths and the outright lies.

Could the monsters, that descend on the city each night, be terribly misunderstood? Could the king have a dark secret that’s destroying the kingdom? Strangest of all, can little sisters sometimes be useful?

The Shadow Moth is about the importance of questioning the stories we’re told (including the stories that we tell ourselves).

I hope you enjoy reading it.

Thank you!


A Piece of Passion from Nick Lake, Fiction Publisher at HarperCollins Children's Books; “With one of the most startlingly brilliant voices I have seen in years, Francesca Gibbons takes the reader through a magical door and into a world of breathless adventure, suffused at all times with winking humour and boundless heart. I am also thrilled that Chris Riddell is bringing his peerless illustrative talents to A Clock of Stars, which is a real testament to the sheer quality of this stand-out debut. It’s time for children all over the globe to enter a whole new world – and fall in love as we did.”


Julia Eccleshare's Picks for October 2020

A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth by Francesca Gibbons

The History of Everything in 32 Pages by Anna Claybourne

What We'll Build by Oliver Jeffers

The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson

Who Makes a Forest by Sally Nicholls

The Good Bear by Sarah Lean

The Book of Hopes by Katherine Rundell

A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth Synopsis

With all the magic of Narnia and the humour of Mary Poppins, this is a future middle grade fantasy classic - and the beginning of an unforgettable journey...

Imogen should be nice to her little sister Marie. She should be nice to her mum's boyfriend too. And she certainly shouldn't follow a strange silver moth through a door in a tree. But then... who does what they're told?

Followed by Marie, Imogen finds herself falling into a magical kingdom where the two sisters are swept up in a thrilling race against time - helped by the spoiled prince of the kingdom, a dancing bear, a very grumpy hunter... and even the stars above them.

A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading4Kids expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

Join Imogen and Mary as they journey to a fantastical world. Not all is at it first seems. Will you work out what’s really going on before they do?? Full review

Lucas Blake (Age 10)

An exciting, thrilling, magical adventure that makes you feel as if you really are there in the novel having adventures alongside the characters. I loved it and highly recommend it to anyone! Full review

Emily Welbourn (Age 9)

A brilliant adventure story about a strange new world! Full review

Aidan Jones (Age 8)

I love the book and recommend everyone reads it as soon as they can. Amazing! Full review

Elissa Watkin (Age 8)

A Clock of Stars is a magical book that challenges us to reconsider what we think we know about other people. Full review

Charlotte Killen (Age 9)

When I started reading A Clock of Stars by Francesca Gibbons, I knew it would be a fantasy. But I didn’t know this story would leave me breathless and take me on such a magical adventure! This book is illustrated by Chris Riddell, and those illustrations are absolutely stunning! I wished I was a kid again. And I wished I had this book when growing up. Definitely a must read for every child out there. One of the best children fantasies about fictional kingdoms I have read in a while! Full review

Ivana - Diary of Difference

A wonderful fantasy, adventure, entwined with life lessons that honesty, kindness and friendship prevail. Full review


A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth Press Reviews

An utterly wonderful, timeless magical adventure packed with all the best things about children's fiction  - Anna James

Fluttered straight into my heart. Sometimes you pick up a book and know, from the very first pages, that you're reading an instant classic. This is one of those books. Prepare to be spellbound  -  Carlie Sorosiak

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008355050
Publication date: 29/04/2021
Publisher: HarperCollins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008355036
Publication date: 01/10/2020
Publisher: HarperCollins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008355036
Publication date: 1st October 2020
Author: Francesca Gibbons
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Publisher: HarperCollins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 496 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Fantasy / Magical
Recommendations: Books of the Month, Debuts of the Month, Julia Eccleshare's Picks, Reviewed by Children
Collections: Our favourite children's books of 2020,

About Francesca Gibbons

Francesca Gibbons worked as a copywriter at a marketing agency before leaving to focus on her career as a children's author. The Shadow Moth is her debut novel. It was inspired by the gardens she visited as a child, and her love of folklore and monsters. It is the first book in the Clock of Stars trilogy. 

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