Tag Archives: Magical adventures

The Travelling Bookshop #1: Mim and the Baffling Bully – Katrina Nannestad

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Harper Collins Australia

July 2021

  • ISBN: 9781460713662
  • ISBN 10: 1460713664
  • Imprint: ABC Books
  • List Price: 8.99 AUD

I absolutely love this return to her whimsical, feel-good style from Katrina Nannestad, in this new and thoroughly delightful series. Although pitched at younger readers, I can absolutely see my older readers, who are keen fans of The Girl, the Dog, the Writer…taking this up with glee and loving it.

Mim Cohen travels with her father, little brother, a horse called Flossy and a cockatoo called Coco in their travelling bookshop caravan. Where ever Flossy leads them is where they are meant to be and when they arrive in a small Dutch village, it is clear that they are here for a reason and when Mim meets Willemina, a kind girl who is being horribly bullied, it seems to her that she needs to help. But is it just Willemina who needs help?

The travelling bookshop is a magical entity and visitors are always completely surprised when they first enter it to find how mysteriously capacious it is. After all it’s not every old wooden caravan that contains a basement is it? One of it’s greatest mysteries – or perhaps the mystery of Mim’s dad, sometimes known as Dreadful Zeddy – is the fact that the bookshop provides exactly the right book for the right customer, despite any thoughts to the contrary by either customer or Mim. So the woman who is looking for a crime novel but takes a book about termites, or the man who searched for a tome on tractors but ends up with Knitted Tea Cosies may be initially rather baffled but as it unfolds, have exactly what was needed.

Their sojourn in the pretty little Dutch village and their interactions with the inhabitants is heart-warming and joyous, full of imagination and wonder which will enchant readers from around 7 years upwards. I for one can’t wait to read more adventures of Mim and the travelling bookshop and look forward to the next instalment with great anticipation. And I certainly want to know more about Mim’s mother, the world-travelling civil engineer.

I’m going to really enjoy promoting this one to my middle/upper primary kiddos as well as my younger secondary ones who are already great fans of Katrina’s work.

Very heartily recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.

The StrangeWorlds Travel Agency : The Edge of the Ocean Book #2 – L. D. Lapinski

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Hachette Australia

APR 13, 2021 | 9781510105959 | RRP $16.99

Now that Flick is officially a member of the StrangeWorlds Travel Agency, and with one exciting adventure already under her belt, in which she demonstrated some unexpected and remarkable powers, she and Jonathan Mercator are summoned to help another world. This time they are joined by Jonathan’s distant cousin, Avery, to whom Flick takes a strange instant dislike.

The urgent request for help has come from Queen Nyfe, who rules as a pirate chief over a motley crew of almost skeletal ships, in a world called The Break. This strange watery flat world is used to ships disappearing over the edge but in recent times, it’s become apparent that the world is breaking up and so the dangers have increased exponentially for Nyfe, her crew as well as the other mariners and the mer-people who also inhabit the once vast ocean.

Flick, Jonathan and Avery face more than just the pressure of saving The Break’s peoples. The various inhabitants are fighting amongst themselves and navigating the subterfuge on all sides is tricky indeed. Added to this is the shocking realisation that Jonathan’s lost father appears to be indeed dead and his grief renders him almost helpless in the struggle to work out how to transport ships, gigantic mer-people and pirates through a suitcase to a new and suitable world – even if they can actually find one that will fit the bill. And then there is the (to Flick’s mind, weird) way her feelings towards Avery and what seems to be a reciprocal feeling change as the quest unfolds.

Once again, this series delivers amazingly rich narrative with characters with whom readers will fall in love. I, for one, will eagerly anticipate the next instalment and your readers from around middle primary upwards will adore this new instalment.

Starfell: Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale [Starfell #2]- Dominique Valente

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Harper Collins Australia

April 2020

  • ISBN: 9780008308445
  • ISBN 10: 0008308446
  • Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
  • List Price: 16.99 AUD

Being the youngest in the family is often a reason for feeling overlooked and somehow lesser and for Willow Moss this is especially true. She is both the youngest and the least magical in her family of witches. Even though in her most recent (first) adventure she actually saved the entire world which no one remembers at all, it seems her magic has gone rather skewiff and instead of her usual magical ability of being able to find missing things, she is inadvertently making things disappear. Obviously this is causing some disquiet not only with her family but the entire village.

This is particularly upsetting when her friend Sometimes is kidnapped. At least Sometimes, who can see ten minutes into the future, had time to send Willow a note asking for help before he disappeared. Not that it has helped that much as Willow has really no idea where to look for him. Still she sets out along with her faithful kobold Oswin and thus embarks on one of the strangest and most dangerous missions ever, one that will take her right to the very edges of Starfell and into the most terrifying of situations. Fortunately along the way through a series of misadventures and weird circumstances Willow acquires some friends who prove to be staunch in the face of danger.

Your young readers who love exciting magical stories mixed with some nasty villains, just enough creepy danger and loads of humour will lap this series up without doubt.  As well as that, they will gain much from the themes of loyalty, friendship, courage and self-belief.

Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency – L. D. Lapinski

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9781510105942

Hachette

APR 28, 2020 | 9781510105942 | RRP $16.99

Twelve year old Flick Hudson is really not sure about her family’s move to a village, leaving their rather cramped flat for a much bigger home. Of course their old home wouldn’t have been so squashy if her dribbling, annoying baby brother Freddy hadn’t arrived some time before. With her parents always busy working so hard it seems that Flick’s life has become more and more a case of looking after Freddy, picking up after everyone, house chores and even cooking. Truthfully she’s a bit fed up with it all and spends a lot of time daydreaming of exotic destinations she’d love to visit.

When she wanders down to explore her new surrounds and check out the village she comes across the strangest shop. The Strangeworlds Travel Agency is like no other travel agent she has ever seen. There are no glossy brochures or computers or schedules of any kind, just shelf after shelf of rather battered suitcases and a young man – boy, almost- who says he is the owner.

Jonathan Mercator has, he says, recently inherited the shop from his father and at first, is very reluctant to even talk to Flick but that all changes when she unwittingly demonstrates her innate magical ability.

Flick is astonished when Jonathan reveals the true nature of the travel agency. Each suitcase is a portal to a different world in what Jonathan calls the ‘multiverse’. More than that, as he begins to initiate Flick as a member of the Strangeworlds secret society he also hopes she can help discover how his father disappeared and where he might be.

The pair begin their exploration and Flick is fascinated by the variety and beauty of different worlds at first but when they end up in the City of Five Lights things begin to be not so fun. It seems that this could be where Mercator Senior disappeared and more than that, there are people in the city who are determined to steal their way out of that world and take over another. Flick and Jonathan must find their way out of a grim adventure which threatens not only their own safety but that of the multiverse itself.  Their burgeoning friendship is severely tested as events unfold and reveal secrets which compromise their mutual trust.

Any of your readers who enjoy narratives such as the Rondo trilogy, Inkspell or Pages & Co with rich imaginative adventures amid magical surroundings will love this. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read with just enough danger to make it exciting and certainly much to offer about family and friendships.

As it’s a debut novel I’m even more impressed and clearly though there is a satisfactory ending there will, no doubt, be more to come as the intrepid pair continue their mission to find Jonathan’s father and to uphold their sworn Strangelands duty of protecting the many worlds of the multiverse.

Highly recommended for tweens of both genders.

Click to access 9781510105942-teachers-resources.pdf

The Train to Impossible Places: a Cursed Delivery –   P. G. Bell

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Harper Collins

November 2018

ISBN: 9781474948616

ISBN 10: 1474948618

Imprint: Usborne – GB

List Price: 19.99 AUD

Like Suzy you would no doubt be astonished to wake up in the middle of the night to find a very grumpy troll laying railway tracks straight through your house.  And even more astounded when a gigantic steam train comes rumbling through on those lines with a very odd crew and a very nervous postal officer. Not one to shirk the opportunity to quench her curiosity or indeed discover why this magical train should be invading her home, Suzy jumps aboard and finds herself recruited as an assistant postal officer, delivering packages and mail to impossible places. Her first delivery however proves to be not only tricky but cursed and so a most unusual and dangerous adventure ensues.

In an alternate world where fuzzics (not physics) are in place and two rival powers vie for control, Suzy finds herself battling the forces of evil along with a size-impaired boy called Frederick and a bunch of aging trolls.

Despite the odds Suzy and her team are able to thwart the machinations of Lady Crepuscula and her brother Lord Meridian with such resounding success that when Suzy returns to her home safely, an exciting parcel arrives for her –  her own brand new  Postal Troll Officer’s uniform and a shiny Deputy badge as well. Who knows where her next adventure on the train will take her?

Highly recommended for readers who love humour, magic and a little bit of villainy – probably from about ten years upwards.

Begone the Raggedy Witches (The Wild Magic Trilogy: Book 1) – Celine Kiernan

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Walker Australia

ISBN: 9781406366020
Imprint: Walker
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99

 

Just wow!! If you have readers who love HP or other magical worlds they are going to love this new series. Set in Ireland with a close family of three generations but one that has secrets. Mup lives with her mum, baby brother, dad (when he’s not away working on oil rigs) and great aunt.  But the night that Aunty Boo lies in hospital on her way to leaving this earthly realm strange things befall this family. First Mup sees the ‘raggedy witches’ leaping from tree to tree, following their car all the way home. Then as she tries to go to sleep she hears the witches enter the kitchen and despite her Aunty’s spirit telling her not to go downstairs, of course she does. Her Mam is surrounded by the horrible and frightening creatures and it’s as if she’s been bewitched into leaving with them to go to some other place. It’s only at the last minute that Mup and Aunty are able to prevent this but the witches don’t give up easily. Their next move is to kidnap Mup’s dad.  When Mup realizes that her Mam is the heir to the evil Queen of Witch’s Borough, she also realizes that she too is a witch and suddenly the whole family are embroiled in a rescue mission to save her dad and the long-enslaved inhabitants of her mother’s true world.

Men and women who can transform at will, ravens that rhyme and cats that talk, illegal magic and outlawed clans, the tyrannical Queen and her evil pack of followers are all part of the mix against whom Mup and her family must do battle. This is one exciting fantastical ride through a new world. It was a one sitting read for me and no doubt others will find it just as compelling.

The next instalment will be just as intense I predict because we all just know that nasty grandmother and Queen is not going to ‘go’ quietly!

Highly recommended for your middle school readers both boys and girls.

The City of Secret Rivers – Jacob Sager Weinstein

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Walker Books Australia

August 2017

ISBN: 9781406368857

RRP $19.99

For children who are keen on fantastical adventures this first volume in a new trilogy will provide a thrilling subterranean ride through the underbelly of London.

Hyacinth Hayward and her mother have just arrived to live in the country of their forebears and Hyacinth hates it already. One of the most annoying and stupid things to her mind is the fact that there is no mixer tap on the bathroom basin so using her practical plumbing skills she fixes that up in a pet of temper. Unwittingly she unleashes a random but significant drop of water, is grabbed by an eccentric neighbour, Lady Roslyn, and whirled down into the sewers of London.

There she encounters the history of the hidden rivers and their magical properties, a vast array of odd, scary, helpful and villainous characters (gotta love a huge pig in a swimsuit who converses via notes!)  and a plot to harness the ancient powers that have long been guarded.

At times hilarious and always thrilling this is an adventure for children who not only enjoy the dash of magic but have an interest in history.  Certainly I enjoyed finding out more about what exactly lies underneath this sprawling city and the author’s end-notes and photographs are equally fascinating.

Highly recommended for readers from around eight years up.