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This rollicking, rhyming picture book sees a witch named Windy Bloomers take a pair of pants from a mighty seven-foot man called Dastardly Dan. As a result, Dan is desperate to see the witch again so his pants can be returned. Unfortunately for Dan, after spotting Windy Witch “stuck in a ditch”, she refuses to return them and so an action-packed escapade ensues, with both characters brought to life by amusing facial expressions and an appealingly bold colour palette. Young readers will surely feel a sense of urgency when Windy becomes trapped in a tree, tangled in the pants, and it’s going to take an unusual solution to put things right… The fun rhymes and lively language make this great for reading aloud. It’s a bundle of irreverent action and energy, with a feel-good message about making friends and not taking from others delivered over tea and cake. Talking of which, the chocolate cake recipe at the end of the book is a tasty extra touch! Joanne Owen, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
As proved in her hugely popular Dreamsnatcher series, Abi Elphinstone understands exactly what young readers want in the way of magical adventure and Rumblestar, the first instalment of a new series, should make them very happy indeed. The new Unmapped Chronicles start with a ‘what if’ - specifically what if our climate was actually created magically in another world linked to ours? When Casper Tock finds himself in just such a world, all he wants is to escape but it’s his destiny to stand against the villainous Morg to safeguard his home. In this he has a wonderfully spiky companion, a girl called Utterly Thankless, and a whole host of dangers to confront. The adventures keep coming and Elphinstone’s imagination seems boundless while she’s clearly thinking too about the climate challenges we face in the real world. Great stuff, and a real treat for young readers.
The 12th explosive novel in the internationally bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series, BEDLAM will blow your mind - and change everything... On a desperate journey to recover her sister's lost soul, Valkyrie Cain goes up against the High Sanctuary itself, and there's nothing Skulduggery Pleasant can do to stop her. With Abyssinia's grand plan about to kick off in a night of magic, terror, and bloodshed, it falls to Omen Darkly to save the lives of thousands of innocent people. And as the madness unfolds around him, as hidden enemies step into the light, and as Valkyrie is sucked into a desperate, lawless quest of her own, he has no choice but to become the hero he never really wanted to be - or die in the attempt.
Get ready to go on an adventure with Detective Pikachu! The official story of the movie. On the neon streets of Ryme City, people live in harmony alongside Pokemon: a diverse ecosystem of mysterious and colourful creatures that form a close bond with their human partners. When Tim Goodman's father disappears under suspicious circumstances, he sets out to find him by partnering with a Pokemon like no other: Detective Pikachu, an adorable super-sleuth. But this unlikely pair soon stumble upon a larger mystery: why are so many Pokemon missing ... and who is behind their disappearance? Read the story of the smash-hit movie, starring Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith.
Prue is a young farm girl whose older brother, Francis, had a natural talent for engineering. But after his untimely death, the family have been shattered by grief. Everything changes when a stranger arrives at the farm. A new, incredible technology has been discovered in the city of Medlock, where a secretive guild of inventors have found a way to bring spirits of the dead back into the world, capturing their energy and powering animal-like machines. Unaware that Francis has died, the Ghost Guild wants him to join them as an apprentice. Prue poses as "Frances" and goes to Medlock to learn the craft - but she's on a mission of her own, to bring her brother back home. And to find Francis, she needs to find a way to help the ghost machines remember the people they used to be. But if she succeeds, the whole society could fall apart.
A fast-paced read packed with historical detail In the Shadow of Heroes is a clever blend of intrigue, politics, crime, history and a bit of fantasy. Set in Rome at the time of Emperor Nero, it weaves some Greek mythology – the tale of the Golden Fleece – into the world of the Roman elite. When unexpected visitors turn up at Tullus’s house one night, his slave Cadmus, an educated boy slave who was taken in by Tullus after having been abandoned as a baby, knows that something dangerous is afoot. The visitors bring a box with something that is clearly very desirable in it. What can it be? When Tullus disappears and Cadman is given a message by a slave who was formerly a British princess he set off on a trail to find out what is going on. The plot is twisty and inventive ensuring that the reader remains enthralled through out.
Magic! There’s a new adventure for Elsie Pickles and her friend and sometime employer witch Magenta Sharp. Bored, Magenta has decided to open a magic shop in Elsie’s village, Smallbridge. Attention to detail has never been one of Magenta’s strengths, and she relies on new gadget the Spellatron 3000 to set it up, ignoring the first rules of witchcraft - read the instructions, follow the recipe, know how to stop it if things go wrong. Things do go wrong of course, but not before the shop has provoked protest from some village residents who want to keep Smallbridge ‘witch-free’, to quote one of their unfriendly placards. Thanks to Elsie – and some magic tickle dust - all is resolved happily in the end. Kaye Umansky is one of our best writers for children and here she subtly and seemingly effortlessly mixes social comment into a very funny comic adventure.
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love's bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn't playing Cupid. Instead, they're turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren't bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn't find the arrow by the next full moon, she'll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won't be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy wholives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they'll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn't at all who they expected.
Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep... Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy - especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma's parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger...
Gripping and lyrical, this is a multi-layered novel with a strong historical background of the witch hunting that took place during the English Civil War crossed with a story of the fairy world and the different kind of magic that is inherent in nature. Both are based on a confusion of half truths which are spun into greater certainties that can carry great risks and penalties. Nell, the child at the centre of it all, lives her life in fear and tells her story capturing the wonder and danger of it all.
Sally Prue’s compelling debut is unlike anything we’ve seen here for a long time. Written in a beautifully lyrical style, it explores the nature of human relationships and issues of identity, all within an impressive and at times chilling tale. Hunted by his parents, Tom is forced to flee the Tribe and so seeks refuge in the world of ‘The Demons,’ where he encounters Anna, a girl whose own fractured family life provides a poignant reminder of human fragility. A dark splendour emerges throughout the tale as Tom struggles to find safety and sanctity between these two very different worlds. This is without doubt a highly original piece of writing which should be experienced by young and old alike.
The Wrongful Death is the third book in the Great Devil War series – and yet again I raced through it. I don’t think it could be read easily as a standalone, and I would recommend reading the previous books before anyone dives into this one. Philip is back in Hell, this time searching for the school bully, Sam, who shouldn’t be there (yet). This book goes ‘beyond’ Hell though, as Philip (with his friend Satina) journeys into Heaven and also Hades, providing a contrast between all of the ‘after-life’ worlds. The relationship between Lucifer and Jehovah, in particular, is very entertaining. I can tell that the author has had fun creating each setting and the characters within them – his vivid imagination driving the plot forwards through great world building and character development. Trouble is brewing in Lucifer’s kingdom, providing the backdrop for Philip’s search and the start of the ‘Great Devil War’. Yet again the book features strong themes and also an unconventional (though not disrespectful) view of religion – Heaven versus Hell, punishment and retribution in the afterlife and creation of the world (explained as six years in Heaven is a couple of billion years on Earth). There’s plenty of dark humour alongside some gruesome descriptions (so, as with the previous books, this may not be suitable for younger teenagers or for the faint-hearted). There are several familiar biblical and historical characters to watch out for (I’ll leave these as a surprise), and the inclusion of Hades also introduces Greek mythology. This provides not only entertainment but also an educational slant. The Wrongful Death doesn’t end as neatly as the two previous books – in fact, there is a huge cliff-hanger, so be prepared for it. I won’t give anything away, but it is clear that there is more to come (as there’s a teaser for the next book at the end). I’m looking forward to it!