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In a nutshell: magical crime drama with orphans, chimney sweeps and secret societies! Rose Raventhorpe is a girl with a talent for solving mysteries. When she hears that a young orphan has gone missing, she’s determined to find out what’s going on. In this she is helped by her butler Heddsworth, a member of a secret society of butlers, and just the kind of right hand man you need, and hindered by her ghastly cousin Herbert, who is set on one day marrying Rose, and replacing Heddsworth with his own butler too. The plot moves along at a cracking pace as the mystery unfolds, the setting is a wonderfully atmospheric and there are some great characters to meet. This will appeal to fans of Katherine Woodfine’s The Sinclair’s Mysteries series and Patricia Elliott’s Connie Carew books. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: princesses can be masked avengers too! | Princess Magnolia is neat, polite and very, very sweet, but when she gets a call on her monster-alarm she changes in an instant to become the Princess in Black, more than able to take on the huge monsters that live underneath her kingdom. In her black cape and mask, she uses techniques like the Princess Pounce and the Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash to overcome a big blue monster, before rushing back to the palace to keep her secret hidden from nosy Duchess Wigtower. The story is hugely entertaining and very neatly written, the sentences short enough for beginner readers, but packed with action nonetheless. With lively full colour illustrations on every page this is a really super series for young children, and who could resist a princess like Magnolia? ~ Andrea Reece
Award-winning author/ illustrator Chris Riddell has created a hilarious sequel to the much-loved Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse and this time it has a topical theme. Ada lives in Ghastly-Gorm Hall, a place where magic rules and nothing is quite what it seems. The Ghastly-Gorm Garden Party is coming soon and the high spot will be the Ghastly-Gorm Bake Off. Celebrity chefs with some very remarkable magic tricks will be competing. But, when a group of vampires swoop down for some tasty action of their own, it looks as if all the plans will be scuppered. Luckily, Ada Goth is a very remarkable girl…Chris Riddell’s bake-off creations are sensationally realised in his wonderful illustrations. ~ Julia Eccleshare
June 2017 Debut of the Month In a nutshell: breath-taking magical adventure on the banks of London’s underground rivers Hyacinth Hayward, newly arrived in the UK from the US, is already struggling with culture shock when her mum is kidnapped by the strangest postmen ever and she herself is plunged (literally) into extraordinary adventure. Amongst the mass of magical quest adventures, The City of Secret Rivers stands out and not just because of its cast of fascinating characters (unscrupulous sewer dwelling cockney criminals and a possibly malevolent but extremely polite giant pig included), or its singular setting (the banks of London’s underground rivers); the sheer invention and wit of author Jacob Sager Weinstein makes this a special read and every page crackles with originality and energy. Outlandish fun! ~ Andrea Reece Readers looking for more page-turning adventures that cleverly combine real historical places with rip-roaring adventure will enjoy the Defender of the Realm series by Nick Ostler and Mark Huckerby.
In a nutshell: absurd comedy genius | Timmy Failure is the best worst detective in children’s fiction, and a wonderful comic creation. In this adventure he’s having to ply his trade very surreptitiously indeed – Mum has banned all detective work until the school holidays. To make things worse, forced to share his room with his cousins, he must set up his office in a garden shed at the local hardware superstore, a place referred to always as Home Despot. Additional trials in Timmy’s life include piano lessons, and trips to orthodontist Mr A Goni. The plot brings even the most surreal strands together and it’s very satisfying. Timmy narrates with the exasperated air of the misunderstood genius and his version of events is just one of the things that makes these books so enjoyable. ~ Andrea Reece Timmy Failure will appeal to fans of those other thwarted heroes Tom Gates, Barry Loser and Greg Heffley.
In a nutshell: intriguing, sometimes scary and totally original adventure with the one and only Ivy Pocket As her many fans will testify, anything is possible with Ivy Pocket, and this volume brings her extraordinary adventures to a suitably thrilling and breath-taking conclusion. Her best friend Rebecca is trapped in a parallel world and Ivy being Ivy, she’s determined to save her. She sets off, mysterious Clock Diamond in hand, but her enemies, including the scary Miss Always, are close behind. Inventive, tireless, vain, delightfully self-delusional, Ivy is brilliant company and from start to finish this trilogy is hugely entertaining. ~ Andrea Reece Ivy and her adventures will appeal to fans of Lemony Snicket and Neil Gaiman.
Bestselling author/illustrator Chris Riddell creates a fantastical world in which Ada Goth, daughter of the strange Lord Goth of Ghastly-Gorm Hall, is growing up. Ada’s mother is dead and her father is very, very strange! Surrounded by a motley crew of servants and many ghosts, Ada’s life is lonely until she meets Ishmael, a ghostly mouse. Soon Ada and Ishmael are off on some very special adventures! Magic and invention pour forth in this splendidly entertaining story which is also packed full of jokes. Chris Riddell’s illustrations bring everything he imagines to life. Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal - Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2013
In a nutshell: mind-expanding, action-packed comedy adventure Timothy Hart has had some amazing adventures in the course of the award-winning The Imagination Box series; thanks to a gadget in his brain, anything he imagines can become real. At the start of this book however, he chooses to have that ability closed down, but his last imagining (sometimes Tim can’t help showing off) is a replica of his own brain and when that falls into the wrong hands, trouble follows. Tim finds himself in an alternative universe, facing an arch enemy. It’s another hugely entertaining adventure, filled with moments of real excitement and drama, and also very funny. Beneath the action and comedy, really interesting questions are posed about science and technology and responsibility. ~ Andrea Reece Christopher Edge and Ross Welford also take science as a starting point for lively, inventive and mind-expanding stories.
Pug is exactly the kind of hero young children happily identify with: he’s a good friend, sometimes bemused by the grown-up world but a quick learner, and always at the centre of the action. In this story Lady Miranda and he swap a hobby horse for the real thing and before he knows it, Pug is competing at show-jumping (totally accidentally), and developing his cowboy skills including lassoing. It makes for a very enjoyable story and Pug is super-cute in his Stetson in the lovely illustrations. The story is full of incident and surprises with the central friendship between Pug and Miranda the glue that holds it together. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: Nobody beats Ruby Redfort! | Blink and You Die is the very last book in Lauren Child’s superb Ruby Redfort girl detective series, and what a finale it is! Someone, someone even more dangerous and ruthless than Ruby’s arch enemy The Count, is out to get Ruby. What should she do? Stay indoors and wait for someone else to do something? Or go out there, root out the trouble and save herself? With Ruby, there’s only ever one option: death or glory! A typically fabulous story of revelations, mushrooms and double crossings follows culminating in a wonderful scene that has some characters literally hanging by an eyelash, and all loose ends elegantly tied up. No-one could ever match Ruby for brains, panache or pzazz, and she will be sorely missed! There are wonderfully independent girl sleuths in Robin Stevens’s popular Murder Most Unladylike series, while Caleb Crisp’s Ivy Pocket books are inventive, stylish, idiosyncratic mysteries too. ~ Andrea Reece
'There was something else out on the sea by the rocks - something dark that seemed to lurch out of the waves ...What could it be?' Julian, Dick and Anne are spending the holidays with their tomboy cousin George and her dog, Timothy. One day, George takes them to explore nearby Kirrin Island, with its rocky little coast and old ruined castle on the top. Over on the island, they make a thrilling discovery, which leads them deep into the dungeons of Kirrin Castle on a dangerous adventure. Who - and what - will they find there? Fantastic new cover art will draw young readers into this accessible timeless classic.
Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog find excitement and adventure wherever they go in Enid Blyton's most popular series. In their second adventure, the Famous Five find a thief at Kirrin Cottage. They think they know who it is, but need to prove it. Will the discovery of a very old map help uncover the true culprit? This edition features a fabulous new cover, bound to appeal to today's young readers.