Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth

“Clemency Wrigglesworth stood at the foot of the gangway and stared up at the big white ship.”

Clemency’s dad has died in a horse race so she’s left with her mum. Clemency and her mum are going to find relatives in England but her mum dies so Clemency goes alone. When the ship lands in England, Clemency is taken in by a family who run a hotel: Leicester, Whitby, Gully and Aunt Hett. There are so many people in their family, they are all called after the places they were born because they are a travelling family. But then a mysterious lady called Miss Clawe takes her away to find her real family...

The story unfolds in two places, so we follow Clemency and her horrible life, but at the same time the Genuine Red Indians are hunting for her. Gully and Whitby never give up hope so nor do we.

The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth by Julia Lee (Oxford 2013) is an exciting read that is great for seven year olds and upwards as long as they know every book has a happy ending. I would like to ask Julia Lee why she thinks so many stories are about orphans.


Julia Lee replies:

That’s a really good question. It’s not just to make readers feel sad about the orphaned character, I can assure you. If Clemency had been well looked after by two nice, healthy, and sensible parents I wouldn’t have had a story! There’s much more scope for exciting and challenging things to happen with mum and dad out of the way for some reason. When children find themselves alone and in charge, they have to work out what to do, how they feel, who to trust, and so on, which gives the author lots to write about.

A hundred years ago and more, health care and medicines were not nearly so effective, ordinary life was risky, and so children were much more likely to be orphans. It’s still true in some parts of the world today. Stories written or set in the past, or in other countries, will reflect this. But in most modern books, if parents are absent or useless, it’s for more modern reasons.

I'm so glad you enjoyed my book, and thank you for your great review! There's another story about Gully and the Marvel family coming out later this year.


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Seriously Sassy – Crazy Days

“It’s half seven in the morning and I’m in my Greenpeace nightie, playing air guitar and belting out, “Yay! Life is great in every way!” when I stop in my tracks cos the tiger on my wall poster’s staring at me accusingly with two sad amber eyes.”

Sassy is a song-writer with the offer of a record contract, who intends to use her fame and money to make the world a better place. She is also on the hunt for a boyfriend but she has to chose between two boys.

Sassy tries to change herself when the record deal company decide they don’t want her. But when something really bad happens her talents are needed.

I listened to the first Seriously Sassy book on a long car journey and even my Dad didn’t complain. Reading the second one made me laugh even more! Sassy, Taslima, Cordelia, Twig, Magnus, Digby, Dad and Megan are all back to raise money and save the day.


Seriously Sassy – Crazy Days by Maggi Gibson and published by Puffin (2010). For readers 7 upwards because it is about boyfriends. The end will make you laugh out loud! I would like to ask Maggi Gibson how she came up with the idea for the end!

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Curse of the Chocolate Phoenix

“It began as a completely normal Saturday morning.”

I can’t tell you the next line because this is the second book and it would spoil the ending of the first book to tell you. You can read The Curse of the Chocolate Phoenix without reading The Whiz Pop Chocolate Shop, but you will have to catch up a bit.

The story starts when the SMU come to arrest Demerara the talking cat. SMU stands for the Secret Ministry of the Unexplained. Lily, Ozz and Cadon are magic and they have to help the SMU sort out what the evil characters are doing. At the very beginning they are nearly kidnapped by the baddies but Cadon and his Nan help them work out what they are going to do. The rest of the book takes us through time to the Fire of London and the Plague Year.

The best thing about the book is the story itself because it is exciting and lively. Probably even better than the Whiz Pop Chocolate Shop. I would like to ask Kate Saunders when the Belfry Witches books will be back in print.

The Curse of the Chocolate Phoenix (2013) by Kate Saunders, published by Scholastic. A great book for ages 6 to 11. Even if you don’t like chocolate, it’s a great adventure.


Alongside The Executioner's Daughter, Rooftoppers is still possibly the best book of all. Click on Older Posts to read about it.