Regular visitors to my blog will know I’m a huge fan of the Storey Street series from Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie. I absolutely adored the first book, ‘Demolition Dad’ it featured in My Top 10 MG Reads of 2015 and subsequently raved about both ‘Superhero Street’ and ‘The War Next Door’ . Just last month I shared the last book in the series, ‘Scaredy Cat, Scaredy Cat‘ which is equally brilliant. The beauty of these books is they all take place on the same street but all work as genuine standalones so they interweave brilliantly. Storey Street on the surface seems like an ordinary unassuming place but he introduces us to people who underneath their outside persona have a whole realm of hidden depths, that we get to discover as the individual stories unravel. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years let me tell you a bit more about this extraordinary series.
‘Demolition Dad’ is the spectacular story of Jake Biggs and his dad, George. Jake and his Dad have a big secret. Whilst George spends all week knocking down buildings, he secretly spends the weekend knocking down wrestlers. He’s the Demolition Man, and Jake couldn’t be prouder. But when Jake hears about a pro-wrestling competition in the USA, and persuades his beloved dad to apply, things don’t quite turn out the way he expected. Brilliant characterisation and a plot full of humour and heart make this story a totally irresistible read. It reminded me so much of watching Big Daddy and Giant Hastings when I was growing up (younger readers may need to ask their parents about this), it’s pure comedy gold. Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations are smart, funny and packed with the most hilarious details. Together they’d be the winning combination in any literary fight!
In ‘Superhero Street’ we meet Michael J Mouse whose life has gone steadily downhill since the birth of his twin brothers swiftly followed by triplet brothers. Virtually ignored by his parents, misunderstood and overlooked by his friends, the target of the school bullies it seems that Mouse is doomed for a life of misery. But his luck takes a dramatic shift for the better when his Mum unwittingly foils a diamond robbery and they find themselves thrust into the limelight. Inevitably you will get caught up in the highs and lows of Mouse’s story as it unfolds. Whilst some of the humour is obvious who could resist a farting lullaby, crisps delicately flavoured with dandruff. It is the subtle witty observations captured by narrator’s voice which win me over every time. They give this book a real warmth and depth that I found truly delightful. Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations portray wonderfully the gauntlet of emotions that Mouse goes through from sadness to elation and finally the fear he feels when he faces a true villain.
Masher is a menace, all of the children in Storey Street are terrified of getting mashed by him. No one dares stand up to him until one day the fearless Jemima rides into town on her unicycle threatening to end Masher’s reign of terror. For the first time he goes into a battle without absolute confidence in his ability to win. And so begins the war, the war next door, a war like never before. Hilarious and heartfelt it’s really unusual to see the bully at the centre of the story. Instead of Masher being a one dimensional baddy, Phil allows us to see how his personality has been shaped and influenced by a dastardly, devious Dad. It has an emotional depth to it which I found really touching. Yet this story is still full of incredibly funny moments that will make you laugh out loud, although it is the more subtle humour again that makes me smile the most. Sara Ogilvie again provides the most energetic and magnificent illustrations that I have to applaud. I’m a huge fan of illustrations in books for older reader they allow the child to develop their imagination and stop them feeling overwhelmed by page after page of words.
Kay Catt is the most nervous and anxious girl that you could ever hope to met, she is so scared, even her own reflection when caught unexpectedly fills her with fears. But when a mysterious old man is spotted on Storey Street, an unlikely friendship forms and little does Kay know that he will be a catalyst for change in her life. Slowly as Kay comes out of her shell, the only reason she can think that this change is possible is that the old man – who has a fondness for wearing a cloak and a pointy hat – is an actual real life wizard! There is more to Kay than just a simple figure of fun and derision, something more complex lies within her. Kay is convinced by a grieving father that the world is a dangerous place, so much so that her very life is fraught with anxiety wherever she goes. We see the emotional turmoil that she goes through as she tries to obey her Dad’s ridiculously strict and somewhat impossible rules, with her desire to start to make changes in her life. The grief lays heavily on them both but the story is not one of sadness but one of hope and Phil deftly mixes humour and heart to highlight their struggles through the healing process. Sara Ogilvie magnificently captures the hilarity, chaos and warmth of this story – with special shout out for the cat disco scene!
So if you haven’t had a chance to read any of these books or maybe you’ve just read a few then I urge you to read them all. To celebrate the publication of the very last book in the series (sobs into my coffee) I have 5 copies of ‘Superhero Street’ to giveaway. To enter simply leave a comment on the blog or go over and retweet my pinned tweet on Twitter. Competition ends November 10th UK only.