No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
Find the latest books for fans of fantasy stories and magical tales! We have extracts to download for most of our books plus expert reviews.
Lonely, suspicious of the adult world, and far too well acquainted with betrayal, ten-year-old Zebedee Bolt is an easy target for the wicked witch Morg. With very little effort at all, she’s able to tempt him into working for her, rather like the White Witch and Edmund Pevensie in the Narnia stories, and soon he too finds himself in another world, Crackledawn, one of the Unmapped Kingdoms. More astonishingly still, Zeb discovers that its fate, and that of our own world, depends on him. Can he, as a Faraway child, prevent Morg from carrying out her plan to steal the Unmapped magic and turn all the worlds dark? Abi Elphinstone writes irresistible adventure stories filled with magic and excitement, while her characters sparkle with so much life and humour that readers will miss their company when they close the book. For sheer honest-to-goodness enjoyment, The Crackledawn Dragon is very hard to beat. It’s the fourth in the Unmapped Chronicles series but works perfectly well as a stand-alone, yet another trait it shares with the Narnia books.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | When the Honey Bees from the orphanage take on the smart kids from the Brathelthwaite Boarding School at the Spindrift sports tournament, everyone knows there will be trouble! The two sides have always hated each other. But, when the children begin to disappear and the Whispering Wars break out, both side know they must put aside their differences and work together. Madcap and headlong, Jaclyn Moriarty’s deftly-told adventure is a roller-coaster ride for all those who have loved The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone.
A heart-warming family story about the importance of home, perfect for bedtime, by Jeanne Willis, winner of the National Trust Literacy Awards and the Smarties Book Prize silver award. The Editor at Nosy Crow Says: “In this beautifully illustrated story, Jeanne Willis combines the wonder of Narnia with a little bit of Where the Wild Things Are, and proves that our imaginations can take us anywhere. The most wonderful adventures are waiting just at the bottom of the garden but, as we all know, at the end of the day, there really is no place like home. This reassuring blend of escapist magic and bedtime cosiness is a powerful story treat and makes the perfect gift.”
Think opera and young children don’t go together? Think again! This liveliest of histories introduces children to Mozart, Rossini and Beethoven and their work, in an engaging and informative tour of the Classical period. It’s all facilitated through magical time travel: best friends Megan and Jack are on a school trip in London when they suddenly find themselves whisked back in time to eighteenth century Europe. Before you can say semibreve, they are face to face with composers and some famous royals too in a hectic adventure that is packed full of musical facts and information. Illustrations by Karl Davies do even more to bring the composers vividly to life. Wunderkind Mozart is bound to emerge the favourite but expect young readers to demand more information on the featured composers and to listen to their music too. Bravo!
Shortlisted for the Excelsior Award White 9+ KS2 | Created by artist duo Metaphrog, this version of the chilling story of Bluebeard plunges readers into a vivid fairytale world that swaps idyll for nightmare with the turn of a page. Eve’s dreams of a future with her childhood sweetheart Tom end when she is chosen by Bluebeard to be his wife. Her neighbours in the village are suspicious of him and believe the forest around his castle is enchanted but his wealth and apparent generosity win them and Eve’s family over. Trapped in his castle with its labyrinth of corridors and locked doors, Eve eventually finds herself at the room she’s been told never to enter and discovers her husband’s terrible secret. In this version, Metaphrog allow her a sister to help in her trial and the chance to win her happy ending. With a palette of brooding purples and blues and luminous reds, orange and pink - sunsets and sunrises - the book perfectly balanced menace and beauty in a story that will entrance readers of all ages.
As the child of peasants, Karen grew up with a pair of simple red shoes. Then, when her parents died, Karen was adopted by a rich old woman who gave Karen a new pair of red shoes that would make princesses green with envy. This newfound wealth causes Karen to forget her humble origins and grow up to become a cruel and vain adult. Then, one day, the red shoes that sparked her greed come to life and steer Karen down a path she never would have imagined in her wildest dreams. This volume also includes Metaphrog's adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, The Little Match Girl and a tale of their own invention, The Glass Case.
The final book in the magical The Wizards of Once series. Can Xar and Wish unite their worlds in time to save the Wildwoods? Will it be Never... or Forever? Xar and Wish have found the ingredients for the Spell-to-get-rid-of-Witches. Now the Kingwitch is calling them to the lake of the lost. But first they must mix the potion in the Cup of Second Chances ... Can they defeat the hungry Tatzelwerm monster and escape with the cup? And will the spell be strong enough to lift the CURSE OF THE WILDWOODS... or will Witches reign FOREVER?
Hot on the hilarious heels of The Fowl Twins, this second instalment of Eoin Colfer’s new Artemis Fowl series is a boisterous banquet of entertaining, fantastical adventure. Colfer is a master when it comes to compelling his readers to turn the pages at breakneck speed while making them splutter with laughter. All manner of mayhem (and serious menace) is unleashed when Artemis Fowl’s younger twin brothers Myles and Beckett take the Fowl Jet for an unauthorized spin and end up having to ditch it in the Atlantic. Unsurprisingly, Artemis Senior isn’t best pleased. In fact, as a result of their “missile crisis”, he bans the boys from all “fairy-related antics”, and from “fraternising with known criminals except myself”, and they’re placed under house arrest. But despite being out of sight, they’re certainly not out of mind and Myles is abducted, resulting in Beckett and pixie-elf hybrid Lazuli embarking on a tense trans-continental chase. Meanwhile, it falls to brainier brother Myles to figure out what’s really going on. Fuelled by razor-sharp dialogue and ingenious plotting, this second book in the second-gen Artemis Fowl series is as fresh and funny as the criminal mastermind’s very first adventures. The contrast between the twins makes for a whole lot of laughs, and Lazuli is a dream of a larger-than-life character (notwithstanding her small stature!).
Tom Johnson's fantasy novel 'Silver Planet' is a book to instil hope in it's young adult readers. As a teenager with no religious belief to fall back on, I felt the weight of the crushingly depressing realisation that I was mortal. This story might have saved me from a lot of misery and heartache at that time in my life. The author wrote it in response to loss in his own life and the book is the first in a forthcoming series. The action is set on Opus-Earth and it's sibling planet, Centurian, a universe away. When humans 'pass' on their home planet, their souls are transported to Centurian, where they attach to another, carefully chosen, human and live through them under a new regime in which magic is an everyday, though strictly regulated, occurrence. The secret of human eternal consciousness is kept by birds and their friends and allies, the Grandmasters. The souls journey to their new homes is, however, threatened by the Skulls and their Arc of Darkness, who snatch souls whenever possible and subject them to eternal torture and suffering. Into this scenario, the aptly named Jonathan Powers erupts, with his unique magical powers, and it takes all the efforts of the birds, the Grandmasters but above all Jonathan himself, to eliminate the Destructive Interference and put the worlds back into kilter. This thoughtful and enjoyable read is thoroughly exciting yet comforting, and could be a great boost to young adult mental health. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Winner of the Excelsior Awards Junior 2018 | Far out under the ocean, the Little Mermaid dreams of exploring the world above. When she finally turns sixteen, she is allowed to rise to the surface where she falls in love with a young prince. In order to be with him she must become a human, and so makes the most dangerous pact with the Sea Witch. Also from this talented team; Bluebeard The Red Shoes And Other Tales
Alston is a debut author who looked in vain for a hero or heroine who looked like him in fantasy novels – and this delivers and so much more too. Amari is a child who attends a posh school on a scholarship – but really finds it hard to fit in and avoid the bullies. Her mother is a hard-working health worker, and her brother Quinton is missing – his disappearance seems be the root of Amari’s difficulties. As the holidays approach Amari receives an invitation via a mysterious messenger to be considered for something (at this stage unexplained) – by attending an interview. From here on the story becomes a hugely imaginative, funny and compelling adventure. Magic and mystery flow thick and fast from this point on – as Amari takes her chances to prove herself and to start finding out what happened to her brother. The story takes you through the development of some close and lasting friendships, against some awful magical bullies and monsters, to an exciting and nail-biting adventurous conclusion, though it leaves a possible opening for more books about Amari in future. A wonderful fun adventure addition to every child's bookshelf and any school library looking for more representation across all it’s genres.
Kids are always being told that if they ‘dream their dreams’ one day those dreams will come true. ‘Living the dream’ is a very different experience for 11-going-on-12-year-old Malky in Ross Welford’s absorbing, vastly entertaining novel. Blackmailed into a bungled burglary, Malky becomes owner of a set of Dreaminators, mysterious machines that make dream worlds real and give the dreamer powers to control them. At first, Malky and his co-dreamer, little brother Seb, enjoy their night-time adventures, especially those in a Stone Age world closely based on Seb’s favourite storybook where they make friends, go hunting, and Seb has high hopes of riding a mammoth. If it seems too good to be true, of course it is, and as Malky’s ability to control what’s happening in his dreams weakens, everything – awake or asleep – starts to go wrong. When Seb is taken prisoner in a dream and falls into a life-threatening coma in real life, Malky has to face up to his responsibilities, not to mention the fears and anger his dreams have disguised, in one last terrifying dream. At least he has new friends there to help. The story is cleverly told and plotted, moving back and forward in time, from dream to reality, with Doctor Who ease. It’s full of humour too, e.g. a wonderful scene in the school canteen in which Malky does all the things he’s always dreamed of doing, not realising he’s actually awake. Core too are the really big things in life – friendship, love, family, learning about yourself and understanding others. It’s a book that delights in the fact that the inside of our head is bigger far than the outside. Readers who enjoy Welford’s excellent books will also race through Christopher Edge’s out-of-this world adventures.
In a medieval land where dinosaurs still roam, lowly stable boy Henry Fairchild joins the brave Dino Knights and rides into adventure on the back of a T-Rex. A fast-paced action adventure series about bravery, friendship, and being your best self.
Ever since she can remember, Briseis has had power over plants. Flowers bloom in her footsteps and leaves turn to face her as though she were the sun. It's a power she and her adoptive mothers have spent her whole life trying to hide. And then Briseis inherits an old house from her birth mother and suddenly finds herself with the space and privacy to test her powers for the first time. But as Briseis starts to bring the house's rambling garden back to life, she finds she has also inherited generations of secrets. A hidden altar to a dark goddess, a lineage of witches stretching back to ancient times, and a hidden garden overgrown with the most deadly poisonous plants on earth. And Briseis's long-departed ancestors aren't going to let her rest until she accepts her place as the keeper of the terrible power that lies at the heart of the Poison Garden. Cinderella Is Dead author Kalynn Bayron brings a message of proud inclusivity to this empowering fantasy about a young woman finding the strength to challenge everything she has been told is true.
An unmissable paraquel to the internationally bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series, The Skulduggery Pleasant Grimoire is at once a thrilling recap of the books so far, a reference guide to characters, and a treasure-trove of bonus content. As the Skulduggery Pleasant series nears its end (again), relive the adventure in this lavishly illustrated compendium of all things Skulduggery. Featuring a unique run-down of the books so far, it also includes an invaluable reference tool for the dizzying cast of characters, as well as bonuses, surprises, and a dark story all of its own. The Grimoire is an essential book for any Skulduggery fan. The cover of this edition, printed on cloth-effect material, uses special inks and debossing to represent the age and magic of the Grimoire. Pages inside are designed to represent each archivist's actual papers, and are filled with brand-new information and illustrations from a group of carefully selected artists, including illustrator-extraordinaire Tom Percival as well as brand-new names working in multiple styles, to represent the incredible and broad world of Skulduggery Pleasant.
May 2021 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2021 | Wick lives in Harklights Match Factory and Orphanage. Run by the cruel and wicked Old Ma Bogey it is a terrible place of suffering for all the children who live there. When Wick escapes to the dangerous ‘outside’ he is adopted by the Hobs, tiny people who live a green life and devote themselves to looking after the forest and everything that lives in it. But Wick soon discovers that there are great dangers in the forest, too. And Old Ma Bogey has a hand in them. Guided by the Hobs, Wick discovers that he has a special role to play in saving the environment and all who live in it from the forces of evil.
Kirsty Applebaum’s The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke takes a timeless folkloric concept and transforms in into a heartfelt contemporary story that will surely grip readers who enjoy adventures infused with magic. “The buzzing shifts. Shudders down my neck. Squeezes past my shoulder, my elbow, my hand. Pushes out through the ends of my fingers.” That’s how Lonny Quicke experiences his special, secret gift. He’s a lifelong, which means he has the power to heal and bring creatures back from the dead. But, as he explains, “talents like this don’t come free, you know. There’s always a price. Give a bit of life, lose a bit of life.” That is to say, by extending the lives of others, he shortens his own, which is why Lonny’s watchmaker dad keeps him and his little brother in the forest, safe from the rest of the world. The thrilling climax that surges during the Farstoke Lifeling Festival will keep readers on the edge of their seats, willing all to be well for Lonny and Midge as they face tremendous decisions and high-risk situations. Exploring loss and illness within its folkloric premise, this is a thoughtful tale, told with clarity and heart.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Double Carnegie winning Patrick Ness proves yet again how effortlessly he can weave a tale that juggles apocalyptic themes and astonishing action with the truly personal sphere of beliefs and actions while dealing with issues as powerful as racism, homophobia and the morality of war and underlaying it all with deeply tender stories of love. Sarah Dewhurst, finds herself at the centre of an age-old prophecy about humans and dragons, as revealed to her by Kazimir the sardonic Russian Blue dragon hired by her father in a last-ditch attempt to save their farm from bankruptcy. She also learns that an assassin is heading her way, sent by Believers who want the world emptied of human obstacles to the dragons’ dominance. Malcolm, the putative assassin, was raised from childhood in the cult and his evangelical determination to carry out his mission is matched only by his internal regrets for the life that he might have had. The plot twists and turns and grips the reader in a vice and the multiple perspectives, including the FBI agents on Malcolm’s trail, create an intense and captivating reading experience. Every character is given nuance and depth, even the extremely unpleasant Deputy Kelby has a recognisable psychology. There are no long pages of exposition, the writing is as spare and beautifully crafted as we have come to expect and yet the world building is entirely credible as well as fascinating. While the book stands satisfactorily concluded there is a tempting suggestion of more to come and I am sure all readers would anticipate this as avidly as I do. Highly recommended.
Set ten years after the events of Dragon Daughter, which featured revolutionary dragon-rider Milla, this sparkling sequel tells the story of Milla’s cousin, Joe. On his twelfth birthday Joe is out-of-this-world excited about attending the Hatching Ceremony, desperately hoping that this is the day he’ll be bonded with a dragon. But when Joe inadvertently ruins the ceremony and Milla must step in to rescue the situation, “Joe fled from his parents’ home, knowing he’d never be able to return.” Ashamed to his bones, Joe has an epiphany after taking refuge in a cavern (“a home for a monster”) and meeting a stranger named Winter: “His old life was over. He’d messed it up spectacularly, but it was finished. He couldn’t hurt his parents any more. This was the new start he’d been looking for… Until he had become someone his parents could be proud of, he would stay dead.” With the sweeping atmosphere of a classic hero story, Joe’s story is shot-through with themes of acceptance, making amends, courage and concord, against a backdrop of political - and volcanic - eruptions. What’s more, the author’s vibrant, visual storytelling paints a truly sensory picture of a world and its compelling cast of characters. Read more about the series as we chat with Liz Flanagan
Ross Mackenzie is the dream author for those who want their stories full of adventure, danger and magic. This is the sequel to the popular Evernight, a saga of good versus evil, with the good a band of young people brave enough to stand up against a repressive state, and both sides wielding magic and spells as weapons. MacKenzie combines a seemingly limitless imagination and ability to think up extraordinary characters and amazing magical artefacts, with a gift for world-building. He’s Scottish and there’s a real feel of (Robert Louis Stevenson’s) Edinburgh to the city of King’s Haven for example. In this episode, newly promoted Witch Lara and her friend Joe are sent to investigate a series of terrible murders. The killer is the last person they could have expected it to be, and the climax will have readers gasping aloud. New character Ivy, a young White Witch with very special powers, will win more admirers too. While fans of Evernight will be desperate to read this, there’s enough backstory woven in that it will work as a stand-alone story for new readers too. This is one to recommend to fans of Philip Pullman as well as Harry Potter, a spell-binding treat for anyone looking for stories of magic and courage. Our Kids Reader Review Panel were lucky enough to review the first in the series, Evernight - find out what they thought!
The second adventure in the ROARsome DRAGON REALM series for 9+ readers! Perfect for those looking for edge-of-your-seat adventure. Billy Chan and his friends are not having a very relaxing summer. Their friend, Dylan, has been kidnapped by the evil Dragon of Death and it's up to them to travel through time, back to the dangerous Dragon Realm, in order to save him. Luckily they have their own dragons on side, but they'll need to collect eight magical pearls if they're to amass enough power to destroy the Dragon of Death and her followers for good. So begins an epic quest that will take them to the depths of the Frozen Wasteland and the imperial palaces of Ancient China. But can good triumph evil...?
May 2021 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2021 | 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.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.