Series: The Dundoodle Mysteries
Published: 1st May 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Archie McBudge has lucky underpants. He knows he does because he and his mum have just discovered that Archie has inherited a huge mansion, a famous sweets factory and more from his Great-Uncle Archibald. What makes this even more astonishing is that neither Archie nor his mum even knows the old man existed until this moment.
Anyone might think this is a recipe for a very happy ending with a full stop but not so as Archie discovers that there is definitely something sinister, spooky and even supernatural going on at Honeystone Hall. Luckily his new albeit odd friends Fliss and Billy are ready and willing to help Archie unravel the complexities of flying letters leading to cryptic clues, strange artefacts, and horrible twin Piglet cousins not to mention finding the secret ingredient on which McBudge’s famous fudge depends.
Lots of fun for readers from around eight years upwards. There will be plenty of laughs as well as a few creepy moments – just the right balance of both!
Check out David O’Connell’s webpage here for more information, teaching notes and a fun activity pack.
It’s often not easy being the youngest in the family particularly when your older siblings are considered by all to be brilliant and talented. Arguably it’s even harder to be the baby of a dragon family without the hardened scales or working wings that would allow you to venture outside the family mountain cave.
Aventurine is not the most compliant of youngsters though and one day when she is really fed up with what she sees as the over-protective care of her mum and grandfather as well as the annoying superiority of her older brother, she takes it upon herself to squeeze through her usual spy hole in the mountainside and escape.
Emerging from her rocky nest with scratched and damaged wings and feet she begins to doubt the wisdom of her rebelliousness but presses on regardless. She soon realises it is not so easy to catch your own food or even know where you are and when she comes across a young man brewing chocolate she thinks she has finally found an easy target. Taking each other by surprise the youth offers her chocolate instead of him and Aventurine is immediately smitten by the overwhelming deliciousness of the concoction and, too late, realises that she has been tricked. Drinking the hot chocolate of a food mage she is transformed into a human girl and now finds herself even more helpless and inexperienced.
With an undaunted fiery heart, as per her family’s heritage, Aventurine undertakes the most amazing adventure of her life and winds up in the big city where despite all obstacles she becomes an apprentice chocolatier.
Overcoming tremendous twists and turns of fate, Aventurine finds herself with a second ‘family’ and her true passion – making chocolate. Naturally, her dragon family are not going to take the disappearance of their youngest hatchling easily and the climax of the tale sees a showdown between suspicious and ignorant townsfolk and the might of the dragons. Of course, this mighty girl reveals her true nature by saving the day – and her new hoard.
This is such an original story. It was an absolute pleasure to read and Aventurine is not the only strong female character to bring the adventure to life which makes it all the more appealing. Feisty females, enchantments, nasty villains, yummy chocolate, friendship, loyalty and love – this book has it all.
This will be getting a hugely positive book talk for the girls in my library.
Highly recommended for readers from around 9 years upwards.