The Vanishing Trick by Jenni Spangler, illustrated by Chris Mould

Today I am delighted to share with you an exquisitely dark and eerie debut from Jenni Spangler, ‘The Vanishing Trick,’ stunningly illustrated by Chris Mould. When Leander is tricked – by the beguiling Madame Pinchbeck – into handing over his most prized possession little does he realise he’s about to be drawn into a unfortunate and twisted adventure. He soon discovers he isn’t the only child to be fooled by her kindness when Charlotte and Felix mysteriously appear out on thin air. In a world where reality is far from normal, they must find a way to outwit the sinister Madame Pinchbeck before it’s too late…

When I picked up this book to read, I fully intended just to read a few chapters. Instead I was drawn into this original and dark drama and devoured it in one afternoon. Cleverly told from the perspectives of the three children, Jenni takes us into the very heart of their feelings where we discover their innermost secrets and vulnerabilities. Madame Pinchbeck has preyed on these children who have lost all hope using their lack of family bonds to manipulate and control them. Despite their obvious dislike of her they still seek her approval and are blinded by the small crumbs of kindness she throws at them. Felix is especially fixated by her, he wants to help the others escape but feels an extraordinary loyalty to this terrible woman.

Not only has Jenni created the most compelling characters, she has surrounded them with a world filled with the most believable magic. Nothing seems fantastical about Madame Pinchbeck’s malevolent power which she uses to trap and summon the children on a whim. The lack of control is terrifying for them, living in a constant state of not knowing what will happen next and fearing the consequences if they displease her. The setting is just glorious. By choosing the Victorian era she plays on their superstitions around ghosts and medics making the story feel even more real for the reader. Having Chris Mould as the illustrator is an inspired choice, he captures the eerie and sinister nature of this book brilliantly. A truly original and captivating story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Blog Tour

Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more reviews and special guest posts.

Thank you to Olivia and Simon and Schuster for sending me a gifted copy of this book and inviting me to join in with the blog tour. ‘The Vanishing Trick,” is released on April 30th and is available to pre-order online or from you local bookshop.

Oh No, Bobo! by Donna David, illustrated by Laura Watkins

Today I am delighted to share with you Donna David’s picture book debut, ‘Oh No, Bobo,’ illustrated by Laura Watkins. Bobo the Orangutan is on the hunt for a perfect pillow so he can have a good night’s sleep. He is sure his friends won’t mind helping him in his quest, so he helps himself to the odd feather and a tuft of hair without asking. Despite his friends saying no,  Bobo is confused when they are cross. But when he meets Elsie an enthusiastic elephant who decides he would make the perfect pillow, he realises first hand how it feels when someone doesn’t listen. Donna has created a gentle but powerful story that explores the theme of consent, this is a must have for any school and library. We can clearly see how the animals feel when Bobo refuses to listen and invades their space, taking their things without their permission. Stunningly illustrated in a vibrant palette by Laura, the illustrations have the perfect balance of humour and thoughtfulness which brilliantly convey this important message to children.

To celebrate the release of this book, I have a special guest post from the author Donna David on her writing process.

My Writing Process – Donna David

If I had to describe my writing process in two words, they’d probably be ‘Not Ideal’!

Like lots of people, I get up in the morning and get the children off to school. Some days I head off to work as a Library Assistant at a local prison and very little writing gets done on those days. If I’m not working, then I try to get out for a run where I might ponder a new story idea or a plot problem. Then again, I might stick my headphones in and listen to a completely non-writing related podcast.

When I get home, I have my breakfast, do a few odd jobs and sit down at my computer for a full day of writing. Except it’s now midday. How did that happen?

Before I start writing, I make it my mission to read the WHOLE of the internet: Emails, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, BBC News. Then I break for lunch.

Word count so far: zero

Finally, by about 1.30pm, I’ll start writing. This gives me a full 90 minutes before I need to pick my son from school so I have to make it count!

It makes you wonder how I ever got a publishing deal, doesn’t it?

Luckily, I mostly write picture books so creative time doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be sat at desk. I spend a lot of time in the car thinking about my writing. I might be mulling over feedback from my awesome agent or from my excellent critique group.Sometimes, I might not be thinking of writing at all and some inspiration might pop into my head. It could be something I hear on the radio or see on one of my runs. It could be something a child says to me or a slogan I see on a T-shirt. Inspiration is everywhere. And if I feel like I don’t have any ideas, I ask a friend to give me a random word and I write a story about it. Some (many) of the stories I write like this are spectacularly bad, but they get the creative juices flowing and someone wiser than me once said that no written word is ever wasted.

‘Oh No, Bobo!’ was inspired by the monumental #metoo movement. I was desperate to write a story about consent but I wanted to get it right. I wanted my text to be a learning tool but also a fun and vibrant story and that’s a tricky balance to strike! As a result, the story went through many forms over many, many months.

With wonderful illustrations by the ridiculously talented Laura Watkins, I couldn’t be happier with how ‘Oh No, Bobo!’ has turned out. I’m so happy that he’s swinging his way into the world as my debut picture book!

 

Thanks to Donna for this really insightful guest post. I like to indulge myself in a fair bit of daily procrastination until I actually get any words written, so I’m glad that’s not just me who gets easily distracted.

Blog Tour

Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more reviews and guest posts.

Thank you to Donna and Quarto for inviting me to join in with the blog tour. ‘Oh No, Bobo!’ is available to buy online now or try ordering from your local independent bookshop.

 

Cover Reveal – The Key to Finding Jack Ewa Jozefkowicz

Today is National Sibling’s Day which is the perfect day to reveal the cover of the latest Ewa Jozefkowicz book, ‘The Key to Finding Jack.’ A beautiful story about the power of the bond between siblings, which is released in September 2020 by Zephyr Books.

So without further ado here it is…

This stunning cover filled with the most intricate and marvellous details is illustrated by Katy Riddell with cover design by Matt Bray. I love how it captures perfectly the adventure that lies ahead for Flick as she embarks on this remarkable journey to find her brother.

Let’s find out more about this story…

The Key to Finding Jack – Ewa Jozefkowicz

Flick’s big brother, Jack, goes missing in Peru and she is desperate to find him. But can she solve the greatest mystery of all: who Jack really is? Twelve-year-old Flick adores Jack and loves solving puzzles with him. But Jack is soon to head off far away for his gap year and Flick knows she will miss him terribly. Dad wants Jack to take his future more seriously, but Flick doesn’t want her prankster brother ever to change. Tragedy strikes when an earthquake devastates the region of Peru where Jack is  travelling and no one can make contact with him. Flick and her family are thrown into the horrible unknown. Flick is bewildered to discover Jack has left behind his treasured fine gold chain with a small key attached. Even more bewildering is the note tucked beside the chain: For S.F to keep until I’m back. Flick clings to the hope that S.F (whoever that is) might hold the clue to finding her brother. When she sets out to uncover the identity of its owner, she meets new friends, rekindles a  special  relationship  and  discovers  a whole  new  side  to Jack. Intriguing  clues  from  a legend about the Inca gold, to a key with magical powers help her along the way. Featuring a story within a story, The Key to Finding Jack is a beautifully imagined and moving story about sacrifice and courage, the riches of family and friendship, and the power of living life to the full.

I’m so looking forward to reading this book it sounds hugely intriguing.

Thanks to Fritha and Zephyr books for inviting me to host the cover reveal. ‘The Key to Finding Jack,’ is released in September 2020 and is available to pre-order online or from any good bookshop.

TrooFriend – Kirsty Applebaum

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Kirsty Applebaum’s incredible new book, ‘TrooFriend.’ When Sarah is given the latest life-like android instead of the puppy she wants she is furious with her parents and is determined not to interact with, ‘Ivy.’ Ivy should be the perfect friend, she won’t lie, harm or bully Sarah. But there are rumours spreading that this model is dysfunctional, some even claim they are developing feelings or that they’re dangerous. And when Ivy is threatened, what lengths will Sarah go to protect her one true friend?  In a world that is striving to make devices smarter and develop Artificial Technology, this reminds us that just because we have the capability to do something it doesn’t mean we should necessarily do it. Kirsty has brilliantly captured the voice of Ivy, we really feel for her as she begins to experience true life emotions going against everything she has been developed to be. For the reader to feel empathy for an artificial being is an truly remarkable feat and Kirsty should be lauded for conjuring this emotion in the reader. A tale of unexpected friendship and learning to be true to yourself, this is a thoughtful and compelling story that will have you gripped to the very last page.

How TrooFriend Came To Be – Kirsty Applebaum

It feels almost as if TrooFriend appeared from nowhere. The idea came very suddenly in a writing workshop. We’d been listening to each other’s childhood stories, identifying key emotions and conflicts involved, then using them to build a new story. My friend Di described how she’d once taken a pencil from a friend and felt terribly guilty about it, although she could never quite remember whether she’d taken it deliberately or not. I decided to transform her into an artificially intelligent robot (sorry Di!) and began to write. For the rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about it. When I told my husband about the idea he said, ‘You have to write that!’

But I had a problem. My publisher was expecting delivery of another book – one that I was finding incredibly difficult to complete. I secretly started on TrooFriend. It poured from my fingers. Every time I finished a section my husband would read it and hassle me for more. After a week of this moonlighting I called my agent, Nancy Miles, and confessed. Lovely, wise Nancy said if this book was flowing I should just let it happen, so I went full steam ahead. I wrote in every spare moment – and in 32 days I had my first draft.

Happily, both Nancy and my brilliant editor, Kirsty Stansfield, loved it. After a short editing period, Nosy Crow decided to publish it as my second book.

So, did TrooFriend appear from nowhere? Well, looking back, I think I was always going to write this book. I was seven when Star Wars came out and thirteen when I read Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot. I studied Frankenstein, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and The Iron Man. I watched Terminator and listened to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I think all these stories (and more) have been brewing away in my subconscious for decades and it all tumbled out in the form of TrooFriend.

But one last thing. For all the writers out there spitting nails at this story of a ‘book in 32 days’, I’d just like to say this is not my usual modus operandi! The Middler took just under two years to write, and right now I must get back to that book I was supposed to be delivering when TrooFriend appeared. Did it ever get finished? Well, I’m nearly there. Three years and counting…

Thank you to Kirsty for this really insightful guest post and I’m very envious of your 32 day first draft.

Blog Tour

Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more reviews and guest posts.

Thank you to Clare and Nosy Crow for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. ‘TrooFriend,’ is available to buy now online.

The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley – Amber Lee Dodd

 

For once in Noah Bradley’s life, he feels happy and everything seem to be going to plan. He’s settled in at school and managed to befriend the popular crowd and loves his new house. There’s just one small problem that could upset all of his plans, Noah and his family are burdened by a terrible curse that destroys every home the family has ever lived in. Noah has had enough of never unpacking his bag and always being ready to move. Can he and his brother Billy find a way to break this centuries old curse so that at last they can find a place to call home?

Amber excels in writing thoughtful and powerful stories centred around families. The Bradley family is fractured, the stress of constantly moving is putting everyone on edge. Noah’s dad feels like it’s time to have space from his family leaving him to look after his younger brother Billy while his mum works all hours at her new job. So the stakes are high as Noah struggles to find a way to defeat the curse and reunite his family. Although the reader is swept away by the action as Noah faces a seemingly impossible task, it is the connection we feel with the characters that shines through. She offers us an insight into the hearts and minds of the children, each of whom has had their own personal challenges and are struggling to make sense of the world around them and the place within it. Wonderful characterisation meets emotional storytelling in the magical and thrilling tale.

To celebrate the release of, ‘The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley,’ Amber Lee Dodd is sharing a different curse on each stop of the blog tour. Today she shares with us an Old Norse myth, ‘Andvari’s Gold.’

Andvari’s gold (Old Norse mythology)

You may be familiar with stories about cursed rings. But the Curse of Andvari’s gold and his magic ring is the story that started everything. Andvari’s gold is an old Norse tale about a clever and careful dwarf named Andvari and his magic ring. The magic ring allowed Andvari to find treasure and become fabulously rich. Pilling mountains of gold into his cave beneath a waterfall, Andvari was very happy. Until one day the trickster God Loki caught him and forced him to hand over the gold in exchange for his freedom. To free himself Andvari agreed, knowing that the ring would be able to replace what was lost. But Loki on spotting Andvari’s ring forced him to hand that over too. Andvari did but only after cursing it, so anyone in possession would fall into madness. Eventually the ring found its way into dwarf hands again, where it turned everyone against each other. One by one the dwarves ended up killing, tricking and lying their way to getting their hands on the ring.

Blog Tour

Thank you to Amber for this really interesting post. You can find out about more curses on the rest of the blog tour…

Thank you to Scholastic for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and for sending me a gifted copy. ‘The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley,’ is available to buy now online.

Crater Lake – Jennifer Killick

Regulars to the blog will know that I’m a big fan of Jennifer Killick’s funny fiction, so I was intrigued to discover she was turning her hand to something a little bit different in, ‘Crater Lake.’ There’s a huge demand for scary books in school and there seems to be a limited choice in the middle grade market. Hurrah for Jennifer who takes us on a terrifying trip to a year 6 residential, where something very strange and sinister is afoot. It could be the mysterious bloodstained man who tries to stop their coach, or the fact no one seems to be around at the brand-new activity centre when Lance and the rest of his class arrive for the Year 6 school trip, but something is definitely not right at Crater Lake! What follows is a fight for survival that sees five pupils band together to save their classmates from an alien fate far worse than death. But whatever happens, they must Never, Ever fall asleep!

It’s incredibly difficult to write scary stories that will satisfy those children who love to be scared out of their wits but won’t completely traumatise those who like a little scare but Jennifer manages to achieve this. Packed with just the right amount of peril, she sprinkles her distinctive humour throughout, giving a much welcomed twist. There is something very strange and compelling about this story that will have readers devouring it. It is more than just a straightforward horror story, Lance and his friends have to face their fears – as they battle to save their classmates – while overcoming their own personal challenges. I love the group dynamics as they all rally together and use their strengths to overcome the fearsome fiends who are determined to control them. Being pushed to the extremes gives them the courage to be truthful about their lives and allows Lance the freedom to finally tell his friends something that he has been hiding from them. Jennifer always writes so thoughtfully bringing real life issues into her books that reflect the realities of how people live. A brilliant mix of strangeness, silliness and scariness, ‘Crater Lake,’ is another absolute triumph from Jennifer.

Thank you to Firefly Press for sending me a gifted copy of, ‘Crater Lake,’ you can buy a copy now from you local bookshop (a list on indie bookshops still delivering) or online.

The Maker of Monsters – Lorraine Gregory Children’s Book Award

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for the Children’s Book Award 2020. I am delighted to feature Lorraine Gregory’s, ‘The Maker of Monsters,’ which has been nominated in the Younger Reads Category.

The Maker of Monsters – Lorraine Gregory

Brat is a lonely and desperate boy who knows no kindness and love, trapped on an isolated island at the mercy of a cruel master who forces him to take care of a menagerie of vicious creatures. The only highlight in his terrible life is the unexpected friendship with two of his masters creations, Tingle and Sherman. This unlikely trio are forced to overcome their fears and venture out into the real world when a catastrophic incident means that only they can help prevent a terrible tragedy. Lorraine has a talent for creating characters that you can’t help but fall in love with and are desperate for them to overcome their fears. At the heart of this marvellous tale is the power of kindness and friendship to inspire and transform you in the darkest of times. Her world-building is exceptional creating a highly visualised setting that she brings to life magnificently. Filled with bravery and heart, thrills and danger, this story is an absolute joy from start to finish.

To find out more about, ‘The Maker of Monsters,’ we talked to the author Lorraine Gregory…

Lorraine Gregory

In this book I wanted to explore monsters in many guises. From the obvious vicious monsters stitched together and brought to life using necromancy, to the monsters in human form who do terrible deeds for revenge or power. I also felt it was really important to include creatures that may look like monsters but on the inside they are kind and good.

My favourite characters have to be the experiments gone wrong – Tingle and Sherman. I love their relationship with each other and with Brat and hoped that children would too.

It was huge fun certain the broken world of Niyandi Mor and tying current themes of conservation into narrative. Molly and the other outcasts are great examples of people living with the land and trying to heal it while those inside the dome have cut themselves off from it entirely.

There are sad scenes in this book and it does explore death and loss and fear but overall I believe, it’s far more about finding your way, loving your friend and embracing life.

Children’s Book Award

The Children’s Book Award is the only national award voted for solely by children from start to finish. It is highly regarded by parents. teachers, librarians, publishers and children’s authors and illustrators as it truly represents the children’s choice. Thanks to the support of the publishers over 1,000 new books are donated to be read and reviewed by our Testing Groups across the country every year, with over 150,000 total votes being cast in the process. At the end of each testing year, nearly 12,000 books are donated to hospitals, women’s refuges, nurseries and disadvantaged schools by our groups. To vote in this year’s awards head over to the website

Thank you to FCBG for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. To find out more about all the nominees, why not join in with the blog tour…

Find the Spy – Zoë Armstrong & Shelly Laslo

Today on the blog I have a brilliant new narrative non-fiction book that I’m really excited to share with you. ‘Find the Spy,’ by Zoë Armstrong & Shelley Laslo is a clever combination of real-life spy biographies and interactive spotting. Children will be able to explore the lives of eight fascinating spies whilst learning actual top-secret skills including the art of disguise, coding secret messages and writing in invisible ink. Zoë has packed this book with the most intriguing and interesting information, that will astonish and astound the reader it will satisfy the appetites of the most mystery loving child. Not only that it is a visual feast for the eyes with Shelley’s intricate illustrations which invite the reader to explore every page. A real highlight in non-fiction, this is an absolute stand out book.

To celebrate the release of this book I have a special guest post from Zoë about her journey to publication…

Journey to Publication – Zoë Armstrong

 

My mum told great stories when I was growing up. True stories, as she put me to bed, about her vegetarian, co-ed boarding school. And off-the-cuff adventures, on holiday, about ‘devil divers’ swarming the Mont Saint Michel.

 

There were beautiful board books and picture books too, at a time when far fewer were being made – Maurice Sendak, Judith Kerr, John Burningham, Helen Nicole and Jan Piénkowski. The rhythms of my first picture books have always stayed with me.

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I won a writing competition when I was eight. It was all very unexpected, and there was uproar from certain quarters of the classroom. I’d only written one side of A4, you see. Others had written five. Still, my essay on our class trip to the local nunnery (we stamped crosses on to communion wafers by pulling a big lever) was chosen by the nuns as the winner. My prize was a copy of Black Beauty and a sparkle of interest inside.

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I continued to enjoy writing – I even illustrated my words back then!

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I want on to work as a journalist, then as a publicity person for an animal charity. I taught English in Italy and media production in Derbyshire. But it wasn’t until my daughter was born that I began writing for pleasure again.

Being immersed once more in children’s books seemed to light up a part of my brain that I hadn’t used for a while. I began playing around with verse and making up little stories for my toddler. I loved that picture books are so full of possibility – how playful you can be with language, rhythm and ideas.

I was spending less time focusing on my paid freelance writing work, and more time on the writing that I really loved. My new ‘hobby’ was ruining us! I decided to take it more seriously: I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers an Illustrators.

All of a sudden, I was part of a huge network of people who felt the same way that I did about children’s books. There was access to information, guidance and workshops.

I was accepted on to the Golden Egg Academy’s Picture Book Programme. It gave me confidence and a determination to make space for my writing. I worked hard on my picture book texts, moulding the good ideas into better shape and letting go of the duds.

Then one day I decided I was ready to enter a competition. It was an international contest open to SCBWI authors from around the world. The wining text would be illustrated live by two artists at the Bologna Book Fair, in a kind of duel!

The judge was Emma Ledbetter who was, at the time, senior editor at Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Books for Young Readers in the US. Somehow I won.

This was a massive boost. There are so many stumbling blocks for authors – having a stepping stone moment like this was just what I needed to keep going.

So I entered another competition: the SCBWI British Isles Slush Pile Challenge, set by Peter Marley, Senior Commissioning Editor of Picture Books at OUP. Unbelievably, I won that one too. Peter’s encouragement and advice, when I met with him at the OUP offices, was invaluable.

From there I was invited to read one of my picture book texts at the Golden Egg Academy’s Spring Social, in Bath. I was utterly terrified. Public speaking is not my thing, and this was in front of a room full of writers, agents, editors and publishers.

But I made myself do it. Which was a very good thing, because that was the day that I first met Alice Williams, who is now my agent.

After signing with Alice, things began to take off. A narrative non-fiction text, in particular, was receiving attention from editors. Puffin mulled it over but ultimately felt it would compete with other books they had in the pipeline. I was disappointed but picture book writers must get used to this so I tried not to think about it.

A few days later Alice received a phone call from a fantastic editor at Puffin called Emily Lunn. Would I be interested in writing something about spies? I didn’t hesitate, I just said YES!

So that was the beginning of Find The Spy. Emily calmly guided me through the process of making a book. We were delighted when Shelly Laslo was signed up to illustrate my words. It was a true collaboration – one of the many things that I love about picture books.

I’m currently working on a series with the wonderful independent publisher Flying Eye Books, which I’m very excited about.

 

Thank you to Zoë for this really insightful guest post and to Puffin for sending me a gifted copy. ‘Find the Spy,’ is available to buy now from your local bookshop or online.

 

 

Daring Detectives and Smart Spies

We have a lot of children at school who adore Harriet Whitehorn’s Violet mysteries and Fleur Hitchcock’s Clifftoppers series who are not quite ready to move on to more upper middle grade mysteries by Katherine Woodfine and Robin Stevens. I was struggling to find more lower middle grade mysteries, when I discovered that there was a whole new range of series due to be released. Today on the blog I’m sharing the first book in four brand new series perfect for any young budding detectives or spies.

Anisha Accidental Detective – Serena Patel, illustrated by Emma McCann

Anisha Mistry longs for peace and quiet so she can read her favourite science books but there’s no chance of that with her loud and madcap family. Her Aunty Bindi is in complete meltdown about her forthcoming wedding, so when a secret ransom note arrives demanding the wedding is called off, Anisha knows it’s up to her to solve the case. Together with her best friend Milo they must find out who kidnapped the bridegroom and stop the wedding being a complete disaster. Hilariously told, this is a funny and lively mystery that is bound to entertain readers. Serena has assembled an brilliant cast of characters who bring this story to life. I particularly liked Anisha’s mysterious and mischievous Granny Jas and the twins Mindy and Manny who are determined to be as miserable as possible. Emma’s humorous illustrations capture perfectly the loud and chaotic goings on of the Mistry family. It is perfectly pitched for younger mystery fans looking for a fun and entertaining read.

 

Mickey and the Animal Spies – Anne Miller & Becka Moor

Mickey is a code-loving, book-obsessed girl who likes nothing better than having a complex puzzle to solve. So when she spies a code written on a strange poster on a bus one day, she can’t resist trying to crack it. When she unjumbles the message she discovers an extraordinary truth. A secret undercover organisation Cobra is looking to recruit new members and Mickey may just be what they’re looking for. But there’s only one problem, this is no ordinary set of spies, they are animal spies! Mickey soon finds herself drawn into a dangerous world of diamond thieves and dog-nappers. Can she solve the mystery before it’s too late? This is such a fun and original concept that Anne has created. I love how the book gives children the opportunity to join along with cracking the codes. Becka Moor’s illustrations are just perfection as always and really enhance the story.  Fabulous and fun, this is a brilliant step into mysteries for younger readers.

 

Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Missing Diamonds – Annabelle Sami, illustrated by Daniela Sosa

Inquisitive Zaiba is always on the look out for suspicious activity, convinced there is a mystery just waiting to be solved. When she discovers a celebrity is staying at the hotel where her cousin’s Mehndi party is taking place she is determined to uncover their identity. Together with her best friend Poppy and her brother Ali, they begin their investigations  But when the celebrity’s dog disappears along with it’s priceless diamond collar, they soon find themselves caught up in a more complex mystery.  Can our clever trio save the day? I really enjoyed the mystery element of this story, the clues are nicely scattered through the story allowing the reader to piece them all together and help find the thief. The dynamics of the trio work really well and together they make for a resourceful and dynamic team.  Entertaining and engaging, a really satisfying mystery.

 

The Cure For a Crime – Roopa Farooki

Ali and Tulip do not like their mum’s new boyfriend Dr Sturgeon, he’s very odd and locks himself away for hours at an end. When their mum starts behaving very oddly and seems really sleepy and out of sorts, they are convinced he must have done something dastardly. Luckily for them having a doctor for a mum has allowed them to pick up some specialist sleuthing skills and they soon find themselves sucked into a sinister and strange mystery. Fast-paced and cleverly complex this is a mystery for more mature readers who want to get their teeth stuck into darker mysteries filled with danger and peril. The medical element of the story makes for an unique twist in this genre, encouraging children to become intrigued by the world of medicine.  Exciting and entertaining, this certainly keeps the reader enthralled right the way to the very last page.

 

Thank you to OUP, Stripes and Usborne for sending me gifted copies of these books. You can buy all of these books now online or from your local bookshop. Click on the title to buy,

Cover Reveal – We Made A Movie by Charlotte Lo

Today on the blog I am delighted to reveal the cover to the sequel to Charlotte Lo’s life affirming debut, ‘We Won An Island.’ We are back for a brand new adventure in , ‘We Made a Movie,’ which will be published on the 2nd July 2020 by Nosy Crow books.

So without further ado here it is…

This vibrant cover with it’s bold palette is really eye-catching and has been illustrated by Aviel Basil, It hints at the fun and joy that lies within the pages of this uplifting adventure. I’m sure this will be another entertaining and thoughtful tale as Luna and her family try to navigate the challenges of  family life on a remote island

We Made A Movie – Charlotte Lo

When Luna’s family won an island, their dreams came true – Luna opened a donkey sanctuary, her sister flew a plane, and her brother won a sheep pageant. But Luna’s new donkey has a mortal fear of beaches, her mum’s goat-yoga business is on the rocks, and her brother is weirder than ever! Luna’s got a brilliant plan to solve her family’s problems – it’s time to enter the movie-making business…

I have a special guest post from Charlotte about what she would do if she won an island in case you missed it on the blog last year. Follow the link to find out more…

Charlotte Lo Guest Post

Thank you Charlotte and Nosy Crow for inviting me to host the cover reveal. ‘We Made a Movie,’ is available to pre-order now online or from your local bookshop.