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In a nutshell: unforgettable Christmas with mini-dragons It’s Christmas and Eric is going to have an exciting day: he’s woken up early by Pan, the mini-dragon who lives in his sock-drawer, and they discover that Pan’s parents have arrived unexpectedly to spend Christmas with their son, so that makes three mini-dragons in the house… Then, thanks to trouble at the airport (which might just have something to do with the dragons), Eric’s friends and neighbours arrive for Christmas too, including the thoroughly awful Toby. Anything could happen, and probably will. The action is fast, funny but firmly rooted in family life and friendship, while Sarah Horne’s illustrations of dragons and humans alike catch the tone perfectly. This series will keep the ho-ho-ho going long after Christmas. ~ Andrea Reece One to recommend to fans of Guy Bass and Josh Lacey’s Dragonsitter series.
One of our Books of the Year 2015 - April 2015 Debut of the Month We’ve all thought it: a twelve-year-old boy could do an MP’s job at least as well as the present lot, probably better. That’s the premise in Tom McLaughlin’s debut novel, only the twelve-year-old in question – Joe Perkins – doesn’t just get to be an MP, he accidentally becomes Prime Minister. Promising that where there is grumpiness, may he bring giggles and where there is jelly, may he bring ice-cream, Joe sets out to make the country a happier, more relaxed place. It works, at least until his scheming deputy puts a spanner in the works, or a nail in a bouncy castle to be precise. McLaughlin milks all opportunities for situation comedy, and indulges in some terrific fantasy lawmaking while the action scampers along at pace. Beneath the humour there are serious points being made about democracy and government, and this could actually inspire future generations of politicians. ~ Andrea Reece
The story of a boy who accidentally becomes a secret agent, Tom McLaughlin’s new book is laugh-out-loud funny, particularly if, like its hero, you daydream of being James Bond. An ambitious money-raising stunt involving a zip-wire and an ornamental fountain brings schoolboy Kevin Twigg to the attention of Jake Pond, a diminutive spy looking to take unofficial time off. Before you can say shaken not stirred the two have swapped places, and Kevin finds himself on a dangerous mission for MI7. He might be geeky in real life, but Kevin turns out to be a surprisingly effective secret agent, managing to infiltrate a gangster party, blag his way into a bank vault and fly a helicopter before unmasking his headmaster as the arch villain. Extremely silly, but exciting too, this spy spoof is licensed to thrill! Shortlisted for Best Crime Novel for Children aged 8-12, CrimeFest Gala Awards 2017 | June 2016 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: espionage – laughs – fake moustaches. Books in The Accidental Series: 1. The Accidental Secret Agent 2. The Accidental President 3. The Accidental Prime Minister 4. The Accidental Billionaire 5. The Accidental Father ChristmasReaders could go on to Anthony Horowitz’s cracking spoofs such as The Falcon’s Malteser, and they’ll also enjoy David Solomon’s award-winning My Brother is a Superhero. ~ Andrea Reece
July 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: action-packed, laugh-out-loud inventor adventure Tom McLaughlin had readers in stitches with The Accidental Prime Minister and The Accidental Secret Agent, but The Accidental Billionaire is possibly his funniest yet. Jasper is a regular kid, though one given to staging ambitious, mostly (highly) unsuccessful experiments. Attempting to split the atom one afternoon, he accidentally gives his cat the power to speak. In no time at all, talking cats are the in thing with people queuing up to pay Jasper to make their cats speak too. Jasper and his nan are rich beyond their wildest dreams but there’s a price to pay: Jasper realises he’s not just made some cats talk, he’s created a feline army! Can he reverse the process before cats take over the world? A brilliantly funny what-if adventure and enormous fun. ~ Andrea Reece
October 2017 Book of the Month In a nutshell: original madcap adventure with a seasonal feel All Ben wants is for his dad to spend more time at home, surely that’s not too much to ask from Father Christmas? But when his letters are ignored, he begins to doubt Father Christmas and sets up a trap to find out if he’s real. This in turn triggers an extraordinary series of events involving a confused Santa trying to break into Buckingham Palace, a wild ride across the world’s skies, multiple UFO sightings and much, much more. McLaughlin has a brilliant line in madcap adventure but no matter how daft things get (very), his central characters always feel like real kids. This has laughs a-plenty, but a warm heart too. McLaughlin’s own illustrations add to the fun. ~ Andrea Reece
Tom McLaughlin creates some of the best, and funniest adventures for young readers and this is another hilarious, cleverly structured story. Nine year old Pete just wanted a quiet day watching the snooker on the telly, so how on earth did he end up committing armed robbery (sort of), impersonating a policeman, and driving a tank across his own lawn, before breaking up a gang of admittedly incompetent criminals? Read the book to see how it all begins with his mum’s parsnip bake… It’s part of the joy of the book that even as the plot gets more and more convoluted, and as yet more accidental disasters heap on Pete and his new friend Sammy, there’s a logic to everything that happens. Irresistible page-turning fun, and McLaughlin’s cartoony illustrations are an added bonus.
Danny and Dinosaur sailed out to sea on a ship that was crooked and old. With a map in Dan's hand of a faraway land, where a pirate had buried his gold . . . So begins this hilarious, swashbuckling adventure for Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter's much-loved characters Danny and Dinosaur! This poop-filled extravaganza is brought to life by the preposterously talented illustrator Garry Parsons, and the brand new sea-shanty rhythm is perfect for reading out loud. Join Danny and Dino on this rollicking, rhyming delight, packed with action and adventure, pirates and peril...plus some very silly surprises!
Celebrity Dad, Tom Fletcher brings Christmas and Dinosaurs together in a warm hearted, rollickingly magical story inspired by his love of both. Young William Trundle loves dinosaurs better than anything else in the world and all he wants for Christmas is a dinosaur – a real one if at all possible. William and his dad love Christmas too especially this year when things have not been going too well. Waking up on Christmas Eve William finds the amazing Christmasaurus in his bedroom, and is soon off on a dazzling adventure full of snow and elves and flying reindeer and Santa Claus himself. Packed full of warmth, this is a story that will delight all readers and especially those who love Christmas. ~ Julia Eccleshare
In a nutshell: funny, inventive story – watch out for what’s lurking under the bed! In a nice twist on the Pied Piper story, the children of Whiffington wake up one morning to discover that all the grown-ups have disappeared, stolen away in the night by – what? Amidst the chaos of unmade beds, unbrushed teeth and unwashed dishes, Lucy Dungston is determined to rescue her mum, even when she realises that the revolting Creakers are the kidnappers. There isn’t a child in the land who hasn’t imagined something lurking under the bed, and the idea of the bumbling, muttering, smelly Creakers will give them a delicious thrill. It’s a fun adventure with a great set of lively young characters and some very exciting scenes. ~ Andrea Reece One to recommend to fans of Hamish and the World Stoppers by Danny Wallace and The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt.
In a nice twist on the Pied Piper story, the children of Whiffington wake up one morning to discover that all the grown-ups have disappeared, stolen away in the night by – what? Amidst the chaos of unmade beds, unbrushed teeth and unwashed dishes, Lucy Dungston is determined to rescue her mum, even when she realises that the revolting Creakers are the kidnappers. There isn’t a child in the land who hasn’t imagined something lurking under the bed, and the idea of the bumbling, muttering, smelly Creakers will give them a delicious thrill. It’s a fun adventure with a great set of lively young characters and some very exciting scenes. One to recommend to fans of Hamish and the World Stoppers by Danny Wallace and The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt.
The eagerly-anticipated sequel to Tom Fletcher's bestselling magical adventure, The Christmasaurus. 'She is the best-kept Christmas secret of all,' whispered Santa Claus. 'Which is surprising, because she is so powerful that Christmas itself would not exist without her. She is older than time itself, yet still as young as tomorrow. She is known only as the Winter Witch.' A year has passed since a boy named William Trundle had an incredible adventure with the most extraordinary dinosaur: the Christmasaurus. Now, William is about to be swept back to the North Pole and meet the icy, mysterious and magical Winter Witch, whose power to control time allows Santa to travel all around the world on Christmas Eve. And when William learns that the fate of Christmas hangs in the balance, he and the Christmasaurus must risk everything to save it . . . Full of magic, music, and a friendship like no other, The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch is the most enchanting Christmas read for the whole family.