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Books in the series: Black Cats

James and the Alien Experiment

James and the Alien Experiment

Author: Sally Prue Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2005

An engaging, well-written, humorous story about a perennially popular subject. James and the Alien Experiment is a comedy about a boy who is kidnapped by aliens. They're quite well-meaning aliens though, who want to improve his rather useless human body - which proves not to be entirely a bad thing (just mostly a bad thing). Ross is given super-strength, super-brains and super-speed and in the end he succeeds in sorting out his truly loathsome form teacher.

The Gorgle

The Gorgle

Author: Emma Fischel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/11/2012

Finn doesn't want to move to the spooky old house in the first place. Soon the strange goings-on and mysterious noises are driving him crazy - and he's driving his family crazy about it. Then he sees the creature that's been hibernating in the wardrobe... It's a Gorgle. A bit like a moth, a bit like a hornet, and a lot like a ten-foot-tall monster from your worst nightmare. It's awake. It's hungry. And Finn is the only one who can stop it!

The Twins, the Ghost and the Castle

The Twins, the Ghost and the Castle

Author: Paul Mason Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/01/2013

Two abandoned children make their home in a castle - which turns out to be haunted by the Duke of Wellington! The ghost is a particularly determined spook who helps them hide from the castle's caretaker. But when developers want to turn their home into a spa, everyone who loves the castle must band together to save the day. Comic ghostly fun for newly confident readers aged 8+ and those looking for a fast, fun read.

Dicing with Death

Dicing with Death

Author: Beth Chambers Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/08/2013

Max used to be an ordinary boy... until he offered himself up to Death in the place of his little sister, and somehow ended up as Death's assistant! Life in the Underworld isn't all bad though, despite housekeeper Liah's abysmal cooking. Above ground, someone has worked out how to bring the dead back to life, with potentially universe-destroying consequences. Can Max and Liah stop the culprit in time? Or will Max get a lot more than he bargained for? A darkly comic fantasy adventure in the Black Cats series: short, gripping stories for newly confident readers aged 8-12.

Billy Angel

Billy Angel

Author: Sam Hay Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2008

Plumbing. This is what the future has in store for Billy Box - to follow in the footsteps of generations of Boxes and spend his life with his arm down people's toilets. Or so he thinks...For when an angel appears on his 11th birthday, Billy's life suddenly takes an unexpected turn. His destiny is now to be a Guardian Angel and his first task is to protect Thelma Potts, the toughest girl in school. Billy soon finds himself caught up in a world of competitive pie eating, skeletons and magic, not to mention smelly drains!

Dying to Meet You

Dying to Meet You

Author: Michael Cox Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2008

Identical twins Hailey and Hugo Huckleberry win the prize of a lifetime - the chance to meet their favourite horror author, the mysterious and reclusive Chad Piranha. Accompanied by Chad's editor, Tamara, they set off for his solitary mountain hideaway. But little do they suspect the series of horrific and blood-curdling events that are in store. A spoof horror story from a master of black comic writing.

Time and Again

Time and Again

Author: Rob Childs Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2005

This time-slip adventure centres around the powers of a strange-looking watch, found by ten-year-old twins, Becky and Chris. The twins are joined in their adventures by their collie dog, Tan, but someone else at school also wants to get his hands on the watch - class trouble-maker, Luke. Engaved on the back of the watch is a short, cryptic rhyme: 'By a click of the clock, You can go in reverse, Time and Again, For better or worse' The twins discover that clicking a red button above the number twelve causes time to be reversed and they can relive the events of the past hour - and have the potential to affect and change what happened during that time. Humorous, but sometimes unnerving experiences ensue as they find that in trying to change things for the better, their actions have unforeseen knock-on effects and consequences...

Bug Eyed Monsters

Bug Eyed Monsters

Author: Jean Ure Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/04/2012

Mr Snitcher is an alien! Pass it on... Nobody knew where the rumour came from. Most of the boys think it's a joke. But the more Joe and Harry and their friends think about it, the weirder Mr Snitcher starts to look. Is he really an alien? And how about the rest of the teachers? Laugh-out-loud school story with a sci-fi twist.

Leif Frond and Quickfingers

Leif Frond and Quickfingers

Author: Joan Lennon Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/08/2014

A wandering pedlar turns up in Leif's village, much to the delight of the Vikings of Frondfell. Only Leif suspects there's something not quite right about the small, wrinkly old man. As belongings start to go missing in the village and the pedlar is suddenly nowhere to be found, Leif's suspicions are confirmed. Can Leif track down the disappearing pedlar, survive insane flying inventions, and prove himself to be a hero once and for all?

Leif Frond and the Viking Games

Leif Frond and the Viking Games

Author: Joan Lennon Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/08/2014

Leif wants to be a hero, but as the youngest and smallest member of his huge Viking family, he's never had the chance to shine. Can he finally become a champion at the Midsummer Games? All he has to do is compete with some fully grown Viking heroes at sports including archery (no problem, with his very special bow from Queue the Artificer) and wrestling (big problem, the other contenders are all twice his size). Oh, and keep the Widow Brownhilde away from his father before he does something stupid like marrying her. And stop his meddlesome granny from cheating. And avoid his gigantic troll-like sister and her list of chores.... Easy.

Class Six and the Nits of Doom

Class Six and the Nits of Doom

Author: Sally Prue Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/08/2014

Class 6's teacher is a witch. That's bad. The dancing skeletons and pterodactyls they can see in her eyes are worse. And nobody likes the snake in her desk. But worst of all are the witch-nits. Rodney catches them first. It's not long before the whole class is scratching. Then strange things start happening to them. The green glowing toenails. The antennae that pick up digital radio. And whatever it is that Rodney's turning into... Is there any cure for the nits of doom?

The Monster of Shiversands Cove

The Monster of Shiversands Cove

Author: Emma Fischel Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/10/2015

Stan is on holiday with his family at the seaside when everything starts going a bit odd. First there's the fairy - the one his brother caught. It doesn't look like a fairy. It's not twinkly. Its name is Harry, and it bites. Then, there's the sea monster. The huge one in the bay that's after Stan's little brother. The one that only Stan can see. Can Stan find out what's going on, stop the monster, save his brother - and watch out for Harry? Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout - purr-fect for newly confident readers and those building up their reading stamina.

Franklin's Emporium: The Pet Shop Mystery

Franklin's Emporium: The Pet Shop Mystery

Author: Gill Vickery Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/09/2016

Welcome to Franklin's Emporium - the department store where there's magic on every floor! When Alex visits the pet shop at Franklin's Emporium she just wants to buy some cat treats but she goes home with a little bit more than she bargained for. Where's that purring coming from? And why do things keep getting knocked over? Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout. Perfect stepping stones to reading confidence.

Franklin's Emporium: The White Lace Gloves

Franklin's Emporium: The White Lace Gloves

Author: Gill Vickery Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/05/2016

Welcome to Franklin's Emporium - the department store where there's magic on every floor! When Alex is sent to Golden Bay for the summer she just wants be left in peace to read her books. Unfortunately, her cousin Maisie has other ideas and makes Alex go shopping for some white lace gloves. And when you are shopping at Franklin's Emporium, what you end up buying isn't quite what you expected! Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout. Perfect stepping stones to reading confidence.

I am a Tree

I am a Tree

Author: Kaye Umansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2006

Tim is an ace actor and keen member of the school drama club. So of course he expects to be the star of the end of year school play. But to his horror he finds he's been cast as a tree. And not just that - his only lines are in verse. Is there anything he can do to save his reputation? A brilliantly funny, hugely readable story, about how to make the most of a supporting role.

Dan and the Caverns of Bone

Dan and the Caverns of Bone

Author: Thomas Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2013

Dan can see ghosts. See then, speak to them, and sometimes help them...for a price. In his second adventure, Dan is on a school trip to France when he gets mixed up in skulduggery down in the Paris catacombs. Can Dan save the living, help the unquiet dead, avoid getting himself killed - and do it all under the eye of an enraged French teacher? Brilliantly dark humour.

Planimal Magic

Planimal Magic

Author: Rebecca Lisle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/10/2003

While his mum recovers from cancer, Joe (and Bingo - the only psychic dog in England) stays with cousin Molly and her dad at the scientific research institute in the countryside. Early one morning, Joe hears a strange wailing sound - like an animal in distress. Molly hears it, too, and they trace it to the disused swimming pool at the back of the institute. However, there are no animals: the scientists are meant to be researching plants. Then Molly and Joe make an amazing discovery: a creature which is part-plant and part-animal. The Planimal can photosynthesise and make its own food. It's a mind-blowing discovery with huge implications for the scientific world. Some people, however, want to use the Planimal for their own selfish ends. Who are they, what do they want, and can Molly and Joe defeat them - and set the Planimal free?

Cry in the Dark

Cry in the Dark

Author: Dee Shulman Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2005

A time-slip ghost story based in the gritty reality of Victorian London. Ben breaks into the empty house next door and discovers a family of children suffering at the hands of their drunk and abusive father. Ben has to befriend someone from the family's own time to contact their relatives and rescue them, hence a combination of modern sleuthing and contemporary letter-writing to achieve the desired end.

Spook School

Spook School

Author: Sue Purkiss Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/05/2003

What could be worse for a ghost than not being frightening enough? That's Spooker's problem as he faces his Practical Haunting examinations at the Anne Boleyn Secondary School, under the watchful eye of the Inspectre-ate and Sir Rupert Grimsdyke (who's definitely not Spooker's favourite teacher). He isn't helped by the fact that he's sent for training to a brand-new house in Buttercup Avenue - not at all the kind of dingy, creaky building in which ghosts feel most comfortable. Spooker must find a way to spook the most unspookable people imaginable ...Or maybe ghosts don't have to be scary, after all?

Nightmare at Trowser's Down

Nightmare at Trowser's Down

Author: Michael Cox Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2010

As soon as Tiffany sets eyes on Crumbling Cow cottage, she realises that moving there is the worst decision her parents have ever made. And she knows that sooner or later it will bring the whole family a lot of trouble. But what she doesn't know is just how terrible that trouble will be...and just how soon it will all begin!

The Gods are Watching

The Gods are Watching

Author: Caroline Pitcher Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/04/2004

A page-turning thriller from an acclaimed writer. Set in ancient Egypt, this is the story of a young boy, Varro, and his flight from danger as he is pursued along the River Nile by an opportunistic lord. He is believed to be carrying something very valuable - but has no idea what it could be. Full of authentic detail about ancient Egypt, rich imagery of the lush delta plains and the forbidding stone-carved monuments to gods, and exciting, nail-biting tension. The story culminates in an exciting face-to-face encounter with the legendary pharaoh. Acclaim for the series: '...a quartet of books with robust child appeal ...the brief is clearly to appeal to those recently emerging from reading schemes but requiring continuing support. But the stories have a fresh originality that will make them great favourites' - Lindsey Fraser, Guardian Education Book of the Week, 13/05/03.

The Spoon of Doom

The Spoon of Doom

Author: Sam Hay Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2010

'It was never meant to feed the needy; but to serve up grief to the mean and greedy' The unfortunately named Albert Grub (A. Grub) has parents who are obsessed by mini-beasts; there are insects in the fridge, woodlice living in the hall and spiders dwelling in the cupboard under the stairs. But everything changes one day when Albert discovers that his dad is heir to the factory of the legendary Piddler's Porridge. Why is the town's noodle King, and owner of the adjacent factory so keen to get his hands on the Piddler's place? Is he after the legendary Spoon of Doom, believed to be hidden somewhere in the factory? And what can our reluctant hero do to stop him? A mix of quirky characters and outlandish goings on topped with lashings of bugs and porridge, this is a laugh-out-loud comic adventure that will appeal especially to boys.

Running on a Patchwork of Earth

Running on a Patchwork of Earth

Author: Jonny Zucker Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/04/2014

AK is one of the best runners in his school and a shining athletics career beckons... until his dad's job uproots the family from Kenya to cold, wet London. Now AK has no friends, no coach, nowhere to run, and a school bully to handle. But when the bully's father, a washed-up runner, takes an interest in AK's training, it might make all the difference to AK. Can he patch together a new life in England - and can he start to win again? Nominated for the Portsmouth Children's Book Award, 2015, Running on a Patchwork of Earth is a compelling modern story of immigration, culture clash and the power of sport. Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout - stepping stones to reading confidence.

The Binding

The Binding

Author: Jenny Alexander Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/02/2015

When Jack and his family arrive on the remote, blustery Scottish island of Morna, the whole summer holiday seems doomed... until they find the den. The three children who claim it are the only other children their age on the island - and soon Jack, Tressa and Milo are initiated into their secret society, the Binding, which charismatic Duncan presides over with elaborate rules, ceremonies and punishments. Jack wants to belong. He doesn't want trouble. But as the summer goes on, he begins to understand more about the Binding. Jack's going to have to stand up to Duncan - whatever it costs him. A tense, compulsive exploration of the effects of secrets, authority, boredom, and fear.

Deadline

Deadline

Author: Simon Cheshire Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2011

When Sam and Karen's mum is dragged away by heavily armed police, their whole lives change. With no clues apart from a cryptic message screamed out as she leaves, the kids suddenly find themselves embroiled in a high-adrenalin race against time to stop a bomb blowing up Westminster Bridge. Chased by terrorists at every turn, Sam and Karen need to use all their ingenuity to survive, rescue their mum, and stop this terrible crime! Fast, furious and gripping, this is a page-turner that will hook the most reluctant reader.

Class Six and the Eel of Fortune

Class Six and the Eel of Fortune

Author: Sally Prue Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/05/2017

Class Six are back, and they're on a mission: keep that nosy Mrs Knowall from finding out that their school is secretly magic. Which means no more flying around the hall, no more history lessons with Robin Hood, and the school trip to the moon is definitely off. But with their beloved teacher Miss Broom sent back to teacher training, and the school in need of funds for magical supplies, Class Six will have to band together to make this year's school fete the best yet. And everyone knows that no fete is complete without an eel that can see the future... Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout - stepping stones to reading confidence. Book band: Dark Blue Ideal for ages: 9+

Arf and the Happy Campers

Arf and the Happy Campers

Author: Philip Wooderson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/04/2004

This is Arf's first novel-length adventure, for a slightly older age group, and is a perfect summer read. Arf expects to have to stay at home during the school holidays, while his sisters enjoy a trip to France. However, because of his customary haplessness, the plans go awry and he find himself running a camping ground and re-enacting a battle between the Saxons and the Normans! Acclaim for the series: '...a quartet of books with robust child appeal ...the brief is clearly to appeal to those recently emerging from reading schemes but requiring continuing support. But the stories have a fresh originality that will make them great favourites' - Lindsey Fraser, Guardian Education Book of the Week, 13/05/03.

Operation Code-Cracker

Operation Code-Cracker

Author: John Townsend Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/02/2015

Code-loving Max is unexpectedly recruited to spy on his friend's uncle, a suspected terrorist. But nothing is quite as it seems in this new world of espionage, double-crosses, kidnaps and car chases - and in the end, it may be Max's skill with word puzzles that saves the day. A thrilling, non-stop adventure packed with puzzles for the reader to solve.

Big Iggy

Big Iggy

Author: Kaye Umansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/10/2001

Black Cats is a brand new, on-going series of top stories. Children will come to trust the Black Cat logo as a sign of good writing in all genres: spooky, comic and magic, among others. These first six paperbacks are comic. Some are wild, some are mad, all of them are very funny. Written by the some of the most well-known comic writers - Terry Deary, Kaye Umansky and Jeremy Strong. Illustrated throughout, Black Cats are for confident young readers who like to lose themselves in great books.

Airlock

Airlock

Author: Simon Cheshire Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/01/2014

George and his friends have won an incredible prize, the chance to visit the Berners-Lee space station for a special overnight school trip. But after less than an hour in space, a devastating explosion rips through the orbiting platform, killing most of the crew and leaking almost all of the station's air supply into space. All the evidence suggests deliberate sabotage, which means the terrorist must still be on board. But who can it be? With time running out and little hope of a rescue, can George and his friends stop the saboteur, save the space station, and survive?

The Gold-spectre

The Gold-spectre

Author: Elizabeth Arnold Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/10/2003

A cache of stolen gold, a dangerous ghost seeking revenge, and a promise that's too valuable to break. These are the surprises awaiting city boy Joe when he spends the school holidays with his grandparents in the Scottish highlands.

Footsteps in the Fog

Footsteps in the Fog

Author: Terry Deary Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/05/2003

Terry Deary is renowned for creating and sustaining atmospheres of haunting and menace - and he is at his best in this creepy new story. Laura Lund's family is rich - her dad won the lottery. Tommy Pickford's family is poor; but he and Laura are good friends and look out for each other always. Now, it's deep mid-winter and as a special treat, the children of Meek Street Primary are having a concert starring The Great Marvello, a magician who used to be famous. Mysteriously, Tommy's ticket is handed to him one foggy night. Someone appears from nowhere - just a set of footsteps in the fog ...The concert is thrilling: the best trick is when Marvello seems to make Laura disappear. But soon Tommy finds that she has disappeared. In fact, she's been kidnapped by Marvello for her family's money. When he sets out to rescue her, Tommy finds that he too becomes a prisoner of the sinister - and unpredictable

Quirky Times at Quagmire Castle

Quirky Times at Quagmire Castle

Author: Karen Wallace Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/10/2003

Quagmire Castle is the much-loved, but totally dilapidated, home to a motley cast of humans and ghosts. When it comes to saving the Castle from demolition at the hands of the the gruesome bank manager, Gordon Grabbit, Aunt Tabitha's solution is to start knitting. Fortunately, her niece and nephew, Emily and Jack, are determined to preserve their beloved home. Meanwhile, upstairs in the attic, the whist-playing ghosts, Dudley and Delicia (together with their pet monkey, Powderball), can smell trouble, too. Soon, it's all hands to the pump (even if some of those hands are see-through) in an effort to save Quagmire Castle. And nobody could ever have predicted the chaos and hilarity that will ensue! This is a laugh-a-minute action adventure with as madcap a cast of characters as you're ever likely to meet. Another winner from the highly-acclaimed author of Something Slimy on Primrose Drive - which sold out in hardback virtually upon publication.

The Ramsbottom Rumble

The Ramsbottom Rumble

Author: Georgia Byng Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/06/2002

Captain Codswallop and the Flying Kipper

Captain Codswallop and the Flying Kipper

Author: Michael Cox Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2006

This laugh-out-loud comic romp marks Michael Cox's debut on the A&C Black children's list. Captain Codswallop's pirate ship has been stolen by the ruthless highwayman, Dick Turnip. But it seems that Dick is even more incompetent than the captain and his hapless crew. However, the pirates get more than they bargained for when they find themselves head-to-head with the Spanish Armada.

Codebusters

Codebusters

Author: Dan Metcalf Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/07/2017

Things are not going well for Jackson 'Jax' Hibert. He wanted to fit in at his new school but now everyone knows he's a maths whizz. Even worse, he's been asked to join a secret (and totally uncool) group of code breakers: the Codebusters. Their mission is to solve mysteries and fight crime. So far, they've found a missing hamster... But now, someone has stolen the school's math prize from the trophy cabinet, and the only clue is a mysterious code. This looks like a case for the Codebusters! Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout - stepping stones to reading confidence. Book band: Dark Blue Ideal for ages: 9+

The Twins and the Wild Ghost Chase

The Twins and the Wild Ghost Chase

Author: Paul Mason Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/05/2016

A funny, ghostly tale, packed with adventure and a sprinkling of history (including a starring role for the ghost of the Duke of Wellington). With hilarious illustrations from Mike Phillips, this warm-hearted story is the perfect way to help build children's reading confidence. There's something unusual about Stella and Tom's friends - they're all a little bit dead! The Duke of Wellington and the other ghosts in the castle are feeling homesick and so a ghostly road trip is the only cure. Can Stella and Tom get their friends home without the interfering ghost catcher, Stoneyheart, catching up with them? Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout: perfect stepping stones to reading confidence.

100% Pig

100% Pig

Author: Tanya Landman Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/12/2004

Our hero is a Tamworth pig with attitude. He was imported from Australia to improve the bloodline of the farmer's herd and he is in no doubt about his own importance. But his days of usefulness are numbered and he's about to be packed off on that final journey...or is it? This is a hilarious story based on the escape of the Tamworth Two, from an exciting new writing talent.

I Live in a Mad House

I Live in a Mad House

Author: Kaye Umansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/07/2007

Following his star turn in I am a Tree Tim is back for more comic fun. This time he's spending half term cleaning cars, and screaming toddlers have taken over his home. He's not happy. Luckily his friend Flora is on hand to help out and have a joke with. Things start to look up. Until, that is, they encounter a very angry customer and a very wet Rottweiler. But in this comedy, who will have the last laugh?

Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open

Author: Jan Mark Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/10/2003

Six memorable short stories, never before published in a collection. Find out how...Visits from the tooth fairy can make you into a millionaire; A journey on the London Underground becomes a magical mystery tour for two lost boys; A ghostly sighting in a hall of mirrors reveals a long-held family secret;...Just some of the discoveries contained in these witty, thought-provoking stories from a prize-winning writer. Each story reveals that sometimes, people aren't quite what you expect them to be - and sometimes, they even surprise themselves...

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