The Mermaid in the Millpond by Lucy Strange, reviewed by Abi

Abi tells us why she recommends The Mermaid in the Millpond and why Barrington Stoke books are so important to her. Thank you, Abi!

About the book:

History and myth entwine in this atmospheric tale of freedom and friendship from bestselling author Lucy Strange and acclaimed illustrator Pam Smy. Bess has left the London workhouse behind for a job at a rural cotton mill. But life at the mill is hard and cruel – a far cry from the fresh start Bess hoped for.

The only way to survive is to escape, but the mill is like a prison with no way out. Meanwhile, rumours are spreading about a vicious creature that lurks in the millpond. Bess is sure it’s all nonsense, until one night she sees something stir in the murky water.

But is it really a monster that lives in the depths of the pond? Or a creature trapped and alone, just like Bess, desperate to escape …

Check out some of the Barrington Stoke books available:

The Midnight Hunt by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder, reviewed by Aysha

“This book was astonishingly good. The way it was written was amazing.”

We LOVE Aysha’s artwork. She always captures book covers so beautifully!

About the book

The third and final adventure in Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder’s magical Midnight Hour series!

‘A fantastic magical adventure featuring a cast of Ghibli-esque characters, a feisty heroine and a hedgehog. I loved it.’ M.G. LEONARD, author of BEETLE BOY on book 1′

Fans of Nevermoor will love this’ THE BOOKSELLER on book 1

‘I haven’t enjoyed this kind of caper so much since Harry Potter’ NEW STATESMAN on book 1

‘Pure delight’ THE GUARDIAN ON BOOK 1

Emily is locked out of the Midnight Hour, and things have grown dangerously dark in Victorian London.

Her friends and family are on the run from the terrifying Midnight Hunt, while the foul Make Britain Dark Again party schemes to break the spell that keeps both worlds safe. It’s going to take more than just Emily’s big mouth to fix this one. But how’s a girl meant to save the day (and night) when she’s all out of snacks and her possibly-magic pocket hedgehog is hibernating?

The ingeniously-plotted finale to the much-loved Midnight Hour trilogy, which began with The Midnight Hour and The Midnight Howl

A hilarious, spooky adventure full of genuine scares and belly laughs! Coraline meets A Wrinkle in Time: all the makings of a modern classic

Loki by Louie Stowell, reviewed by Mia

I found the Loki book very funny. Loki was a god of Asgard but got sent to Midgard (Earth) as a punishment for being naughty.  I liked how the story was set up to be like a diary and how the diary kept on correcting him when it detected the lies Loki told.

The part where Valerie (someone at Loki’s school) thought they were aliens was the funniest, especially when Loki thought she knew that he and Thor (Thor got sent down to Earth to be Loki’s fake brother) were gods of Asgard. She thought they were aliens after seeing them slide into Earth, so Loki made up a story of his fake planet. I think this book is great! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

About the book

Wry, witty and very funny diary-style story packed with doodles and comic strips about the frustration trickster god Loki feels at having to live trapped in the body of a weedy eleven-year-old boy. After one trick too many, Loki is banished to live on Earth as a “normal” school boy. Forbidden from using his AWESOME godly powers, Loki must show moral improvement.

As he records his lies THE TRUTH in his magical (judgemental) diary, it becomes clear Loki hasn’t a clue how to tell good from evil, trust from tricks, or friends from enemies.

Clementine Florentine by Tasha Harrison and May Mitchell, reviewed by Aysha

We absolutely LOVE this drawing! Well done, Aysha!

About the book…

Meet Clementine Florentine – a talented poet with a strong passion for Custard Creams! In an ingenious reverse ‘Parent Trap’, Clementine and her school nemesis Callum, have to work together to break Clem’s dad and Callum’s mum up, before they fall ‘in lurrrvee’ and the two poetry rivals end up step brother and sister! However, an unlikely friendship with ageing punk icon Lyn Ferno and her chatty pet parrot Viv, helps Clem to start seeing things differently. But by then, is it too late to undo the damage she’s caused? Imagine a female Tom Gates with a touch of a young Adrian Mole and the warmth of Jacqueline Wilson, and you’ve got Clementine Florentine rolled up in one. 

Niamh’s 12 Days of Christmas; Top books of 2021

1. Rainbow Grey by Laura Ellen Anderson

Amazing new book series from the creator of the brilliant Amelia Fang. This was my favourite book of the year. Here’s my review for Book Nook.

2. Genie and Teeny by Steven Lenton

Absolutely hilarious from start to finish! I gave it a 5-star review! I can’t wait to read the new sequel!

3. The Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O’Doherty & Chris Judge

Heart-warming, funny adventure from the comedian behind the Danger is Everywhere series.

4. Kay’s Marvellous Medicine by Adam Kay & illustrated by Henry Paker

I love dipping into this book every single day. Both funny and interesting. I’ve recommended it to my teacher so all my class can enjoy it. You can buy a signed copy from Book Nook here:

5. Mickey and the Trouble with Moles by Anne Miller & illustrated by Becka Moor

I love figuring out the codes in this book and solving mysteries with the COBRA gang!

6. The Last Bear by Hannah Gold & illustrated by Levi Pinfold

Beautiful, classic that should belong on everyone’s book shelf. You can get a copy at Book Nook. Here’s a review from fellow Book Nook Review Crew member Aysha

7. Pizazz vs Perfecto by Sophy Henn

Best Pizazz book yet! The bits about The Cheese Squares were hilarious! Here’s my previous preview of Pizazz vs The New Kid

8. The Exploding Life of Scarlett Fife by Maz Evans & illustrated by Chris Jevons

Laugh-out-loud action! I also loved how representative this book was. Buy here from Book Nook:

9. Edie and the Box of Flits by Kate Wilkinson & illustrated by Joe Berger

Magical, mysterious adventure, following in the steps of The Borrowers. You can read my full review here.

10. The Great Food Bank Heist by Onjali Q. Rauf & Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

As always, an amazing story by Onjali that helps you understand real issues through a funny, adventurous plot.

11. Megamonster by David Walliams & Illustrated by Tony Ross

My favourite David Walliams book since The Demon Dentist. Very dark! You can pick up a signed copy of David Walliams’ books from Book Nook just now:

12. Kitty Quest by Phil Corbett

Hilarious, comic-style cat themed adventure! Buy a copy here:

How I Saved the World in a Week by Polly Ho Yen, reviewed by Rosa

I loved How I Saved the World in a Week. The way she described the ‘greys’ sent a shoulder shaking chill down my spine. Even the cover feels suspenseful, tense, and mysterious. It is also handy because dotted throughout the tale there are little survival tips and skills. This perfectly written story had me hooked in the first few chapters. 

Are you on the edge of your seat and shaking with excitement yet? Well, if you’re not then the storyline will get you biting your nails.

It is about a boy who gets taken out of school to do activities with his mum but when something goes wrong, he goes to live with Steve, his stepdad. Suddenly, these creatures start appearing, and together, he and his two friends save the world in a week.

It was a touching and tear coaxing triumph that made me want to laugh and cry, I dearly hope that Polly Ho-Yen will make a follow up version soon.

About the book

A brilliantly imagined new 8+ adventure about resilience, family and hope. From the bestselling and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlisted author of BOY IN THE TOWER. Perfect for fans of Ross Welford, Lisa Thompson and Onjali Rauf.

Rule number one: Always be prepared . . .

Billy’s mum isn’t like other mums. All she wants is to teach him the Rules of Survival – how to make fire, build shelter and find food . She likes to test Billy on the rules until one day she goes too far, and Billy is sent to live with a dad he barely knows.

Then the world changes forever as people begin to be infected with a mysterious virusthat turns their skin grey. As chaos breaks out, Billy has to flee the city. Suddenly he realises that this is what his mum was preparing him for – not just to save his family, but to save the whole world. 

Edie and the Box of Flits by Kate Wilkinson and Joe Berger, reviewed by Niamh

Edie and the Box of Flits is the first book written by Kate Wilkinson and is illustrated by Joe Berger, who is the well-known illustrator of the Hubble Bubble book series.

While helping her dad at London Transport’s Lost Property Office, 11-year-old Edie finds a mysterious box. When Edie hears tapping coming from inside, she encounters tiny flying people called Flits needing her help. Edie must embark on an adventure across London’s forgotten underground stations to help her new little friends and solve the mystery of what the sinister magpin birds are up to and if Vera Creech, who works at the lost property office, has anything to do with it…

I thought the book was really exciting and I loved reading about the world of the Flits, especially imagining what it would be like to be that miniature size. The illustrations are beautiful and really bring the Flits and the other characters to life.

I would definitely recommend Edie and the Box of Flits to anyone who likes adventurous and mysterious books like I do. It really reminds me of the story of The Borrowers, but set in modern times. I would absolutely love for Kate Wilkinson to continue to share the story of the Flits in future books. 

Only children under the age of 13 can see Flits. I’m only 9 so have lots more years of adventures with the Flits ahead!

Perfect for fans of: The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and the Hubble Bubble series by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Joe Berger 

Rules For Vampires by Alex Foulkes, reviewed by Ben

Rules for vampires is a book based on a 111-year-old vampire eternally in an 11-year-olds body. At 111 all vampires must complete their waxing moon- to complete this they must hunt and perform a bite on a live human. This was very important especially because Leo’s family is infamous, old and has existed over thousands of years and none of Leo’s ancestors had ever failed yet when the moon rose on her special night she did not rise to the challenge and disaster struck… 

I thought the book was unique, no other book I have read has been remotely similar. Although I may not have picked out the book in a library, I really enjoyed reading it and the strange world it transports you keeps you intrigued. I thought the ending was very wholesome and enjoyed the book till the finish. 

I think this book would be good for the age range 7-12 and people who enjoy the fantasy genre would love this book. Although most of the characters held no place in the real world you could almost feel it is possible. Especially with their magic walls hiding the castle they lived in. 

Overall, I think this was a very good book that can be enjoyed over a range of ages.

David Walliams book signing

David Walliams book signing for Gangsta Granny Strikes Again!

Sunday 21st November at 11am

Meet bestselling author, David Walliams as he signs copies of his first ever sequel Gangsta Granny Strikes Again!  

Ticket Price: £15 includes a copy of Gangsta Granny Strikes Again (RRP £14.99) and an exclusive Gangsta Granny swag bag. 

Parents accompanying their children do not require a ticket.

Gangsta Granny Strikes Again! is an extraordinarily brilliant and rollicking mystery adventure illustrated by artistic genius, Tony Ross, and the sequel to the much-loved and bestselling Gangsta Granny which is celebrating its 10th anniversary year. 

Expect the unexpected in this wonderfully entertaining and laugh-out-loud escapade, which will have readers on the edge of their seats as they join Ben on his quest to unravel the mystery of the return of The Black Cat.

Gangsta Granny Strikes Again! publishes in hardback (£14.99) audio and eBook on 16th November. 

We want all fans to have the best possible experience meeting David. In the interest of the limited time available and to maximise the number of readers that David can meet, the following terms and conditions will be in effect for this book signing. We are putting these rules in place for the safety and enjoyment of everyone involved. Please respect each other and David on the day. Be kind to each other and take the opportunity whilst in line to make some friends. We look forward to seeing you there (costumes encouraged)!

COVID Regulations

Everyone over 11 please wear a mask in the shop and during the signing with David Walliams

Terms and conditions

300 tickets will be available

You will be required to show your ticket on the day of the event (which will be exchanged for a wristband), to gain entry, and as proof of purchase. Please keep your ticket in a safe place.

To avoid disappointment, we must stress there will be no opportunity to meet David without a ticket.

Should you not receive your e-ticket confirmation email please contact quoting your booking reference.

Due to the anticipated high turn-out, please come prepared to queue – we will aim to keep you updated on your waiting time. Some outside queuing maybe required, so please do come dressed appropriately for all weathers and keep hydrated.

Ticket holders will receive their copy of the book and goody bag at the venue.

David Walliams is very sorry but, in the time, allowed he will only be able to sign one book per person, per ticket holder.  Sadly, he cannot add dedications.

A photo opportunity will be available with David in front of the signing table, so please feel free to bring your cameras! Staff will be on hand to take your camera/phone to get a photo of you with David whilst he signs your book. Please note only ONE photo per family permitted due to timing restrictions. 

All staff handling books/cameras are vaccinated, have undertaken a lateral flow test on the day of the event and will wear masks on the day 

Please note the event may be filmed of photographed, as an attendee you consent to footage and/or images of you being used for promotional purposes.

If you have further questions, please contact us via email or call 01273 911988

A Dinosaur Ate My Sister by Pooja Puri and Allen Fatimaharan, reviewed by Mia

This book looks like so much fun. Mia certainly thinks so!

About the book

A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is the first book selected in the Marcus Rashford Book Club.

‘The perfect story to escape into and find adventure. Pooja is super talented and I’m a big fan!’ – Marcus Rashford MBE

This brilliantly illustrated, laugh-out-loud, wacky adventure through time by Pooja Puri is the perfect blend of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Jurassic Park. 

Before you start reading, there are a few things you should know:

1. I, Esha Verma, am a genius inventor extraordinaire.
2. There is nothing I cannot invent. This includes words. 
3. I did not mean to send my sister back to the Age of the Dinosaurs. That was HER OWN FAULT (Mum and Dad, if you’re reading this, please take note).

Esha Verma, her snotty apprentice Broccoli and his cunning pet tortoise have a dream. They are going to win the legendary Brain Trophy – the ultimate inventing prize. This year’s entry: A TIME MACHINE.

But the day before the competition, Esha’s IGNORAMUS big sister hijacks the time machine and is lost in the Cretaceous age. 

With help from a new recruit for The Office of Time, Esha and Broccoli will have to face hungry dinosaurs, mysterious black holes and malfunctioning inventions to get them back in time.