Review: There May Be A Castle

cover-there may be a castleTitle: There May Be A Castle
Author: Piers Torday
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age Range: 9+
Available: Now

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A remarkable story about love and death from the winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

Eleven-year-old Mouse is travelling to see his grandparents on Christmas Eve with his mother and two sisters. But it’s snowing, and visibility is bad, and the car goes off the road, and crashes.

Mouse is thrown from the car.

When he wakes, he’s not in his world any more. He meets a sheep named Bar, who can only say Baaa, and a sarcastic horse named Nonky, who is a surprising mix of his beloved toy horse and his older sister.

So begins a quest to find a castle in a world of wonder – a world of monsters, minstrels, dangerous knights and mysterious wizards; a world of terrifying danger but also more excitement than Mouse has ever known.

But why are they looking for a castle? As the cold grows, we realise it might just have something to do with the family he’s left behind; and that Mouse’s quest is more important than ever.

This is a novel about love and death. It’s about the power of stories to change the way we view the world – and it’s about the power of a child to change their own world. Emotionally arresting but ultimately uplifting, this is a remarkable novel for our times.


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Review: Sky Dancer

cover-sky dancerTitle: Sky Dancer
Author: Gill Lewis
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age Range: 9+
Available: Now

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Joe has always loved the moorlands above his home: the wildness, the freedom, the peace. But since his father died, everything has changed, and the moors are no longer a place of refuge.

Now the whole community is divided over the fate of the hen harriers that nest up there in the heather – and Joe is stuck right in the middle, with a choice to make, and a huge secret to keep. Joe can’t do what’s right for everyone. But can he find the strength to fight for what he really believes in?

Expert storyteller Gill Lewis presents a beautiful tale of loss, expectation, and change – with an important and thought-provoking environmental message.


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Review: The Thunderbolt Pony

cover-thunderbolt ponyTitle: The Thunderbolt Pony
Author: Stacy Gregg
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age Range: 9+
Available: 5th Oct

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A dramatic and emotional story about one girl’s determination to stand by her beloved animals – and her refusal to give up, even in the face of impossible odds.

When a devastating earthquake hits Evie’s hometown of Parnassus on New Zealand’s South Island, she and the rest of the town are forced to evacuate. Evie’s injured mum is one of the first to be rescued by helicopter and Evie will be next. But when realises that she will be forced to leave her beloved pony, Gus, her dog, Jock, and her cat Moxy behind, she is determined to find another way. Before the rescue helicopter returns, Evie flees with Gus, Jock and Moxy in a race against time across difficult terrain to reach the port of Kaikoura, where she has heard that people will be evacuated by ship in three days’ time. Surely there will be space for her, Gus, Jock and Moxy there?

But the journey is harder than Evie could ever have imagined, and with aftershocks constantly shaking, Evie will have to draw on all her bravery, strength, and resilience to bring her and her animals to safety . . . and hope that they reach the boat in time.


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Review: The Elephant Thief

cover-the elephant thiefTitle: The Elephant Thief
Author: Jane Kerr
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Historical Fiction
Age Range: 9+
Available: Now

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When pickpocket Danny accidentally bids for Maharajah the elephant at an Edinburgh auction, he’s swept up on an unforgettable journey.

His new employer, a zookeeper, transforms Danny into a bejewelled Indian prince. As he rides Maharajah from Scotland to his new home in England, even Queen Victoria follows their journey with delight.

But a rival zookeeper wagers on their failure, and soon Danny’s shady connections threaten to overturn the mission …


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Review: A Story Like the Wind

cover-a story like the windTitle: A Story Like the Wind
Author: Gill Lewis
Illustrator: Jo Weaver
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Available: Now

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A beautifully illustrated story of freedom, music, and seeking refuge. A small group of refugees is crowded on to a boat on the sea. They share their stories as the boat travels towards the dream of safety and freedom.

One boy, Rami, has brought his violin, and his story of how the violin was invented, and of a stallion that could run like the wind, weaves through the other stories, bringing them all together into a celebration of hope and of the power of music and story.

A very special, beautifully illustrated, fable for all who strive to understand, and to stand together with, those around them.

Gill Lewis is the multi-award-winning and best-selling author of novels such as Sky Hawk, White Dolphin, and Scarlet Ibis and A Story Like the Wind is her lyrical and unforgettable response to the refugee crisis, which will linger on in the mind long after reading. Beautiful charcoal illustrations from Jo Weaver give this book a very special feel and make it a perfect gift.


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Review: Coyote Summer

cover-coyote summerTitle: Coyote Summer
Author: Mimi Thebo
Series: – –
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Age Range: 11+
Available: Now

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Sometimes I get that feeling like everyone can see right through me. Like all my secrets and thoughts and things I don’t want anyone to see are hanging all over me. 

My mum has exiled me; sent me halfway across the world to live with her sister in Kansas. Have you ever been to Kansas? The emptiness is overwhelming. 

Everyone thinks I’m a failure. But then he sees me. The coyote, eyes golden and wild. And I guess it’s because someone’s watching me, but I start to dance. 

With hauntingly-beautiful writing from Mimi Thebo, author of Dreaming the Bear, Coyote Summer will stay with you long after you put the book down.


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Review: School for Skylarks

cover-school for skylarksTitle: School for Skylarks
Author: Sam Angus
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age Range: 9+
Available: 27th July

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It is 1939. When Lyla is evacuated from her home in London to her Great-Aunt’s enormous house in the West Country, she expects to be lonely. She has never been to school nor had any friends, and her parents have been at the centre of a scandal. But with the house being used to accommodate an entire school of evacuated schoolgirls, there’s no time to think about her old life.

Soon there is a horse in a first-floor bedroom and a ferret in Lyla’s sock drawer, hordes of schoolgirls have overrun the house, and Lyla finds out that friends come in all shapes and sizes.


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