Kate Saunders' tale of supernatural shenanigans in and around
an old inherited chocolate shop is a cracking read for seven
to (maybe just) twelve year olds with a sense of imagination and
adventure. Brother and sister Oz and Lily get themselves embroiled
in a sequence of events in which past ancestral iniquities get
tangled up in the present with mildly frightening but nonetheless
exciting consequences for the siblings, a young male witch called Caydon
and an immortal and narcissistically self-righteous talking cat named
Demerara (Spike the rat is another grubbily amusing ancillary character
who I will admit to having grown rather fold of too!) Their mission to
retrieve a magical chocolate mould obtained in less than wholesome
circumstances by ghostly Great-Great-Uncle Isadore provides a sprightly
narrative backdrop for our intrepid young investigators and "all's
well that ends well" is the order of the day (as indeed it should be
in a story for young readers). The humour is pitched just right and
the scary bits correctly judged so as not to induce sleepless nights!
Ms Saunders writes in short bites with language which is light and fun
but not condescending to her target audience. It reads very well out loud.
on 29 February 2012
My 7 year old was completely captivated by this book and is now reading it again. He (and I) loved the adventure and the humour, especially Demerara the cat - my son thought her cat makeovers were the funniest thing ever! He says that he can't wait to see the film (so I hope someone's planning to make it). We've read all of the children's books by Kate Saunders and have loved every one of them. One of the great things about this book is that it is equally appealing to boys and girls (and grown-ups).
Kate Saunders has written a very imaginative, interesting story which moves at a good pace. The level of language is ideally suited to age 8+ with quite a 'grown up' feel to it. I got this book for a friend's daughter, who is a very bright 7 year old and I think she will enjoy it greatly. Really good book!
Just finished reading this book to my 7-year old. She loved it.
My summary of this book is classic "wish fulfilment" fiction for kids. The child heroes of the story inherit the eponymous shop and find themselves thrust into a world of magic chocolate, secret government agencies and talking animals... not to mention terrorists, goblins and more.
My daughter found much of the dialogue hilarious, especially when it veers towards slightly "rude" territory (e.g., bodily functions), just what a 7-year old loves! The plot twists and turns in suitably cliff-hanger fashion until the final climax.
Underneath the 'whizz pop' surface, there are some suprisingly deep themes at work here too. Be warned that the book does not shy away from murder, jealously, child mortality and death. It is all woven into the story in a skillful way which makes it palatable even to quite young children, and creates an unusual mixture of fairytale magic and gritty reality.
This is the first Kate Saunders book we have read, but certainly not the last.
on 24 February 2012
I spotted this book in Waterstones,bought it and read it in a matter of days.A great read-fine for adults and kids alike,with its easy narrative and jolly,magical storyline,which flows along the page and warmly engages the reader.
Sharp,observant and witty,this tale rings true to all ages.
Kate Saunders' best children's book so far.
Having become exhausted of reading the increasingly predictable adventures of the Famous Five and (for me) the increasingly tedious tales of Harry Potter (I'm sorry, but I really can't warm to him) I insisted that we read this book at bedtime as it looked a bit different and I liked the sound of it. The urchin was not happy about this as she wanted more of the usual stuff, but after the first reading session she was hooked and she absolutely loved it. So much so, getting her to go to bed was particularly easy as she knew she'd be getting more of the book and by near the end she was asking to go to bed a bit earlier so that we had more reading time. For me that meant more time to myself later on, but the best thing was it also got her to read more for herself than most books do. Oh, and I enjoyed the story too so a winner all round. We've subsequently let others borrow the book and everyone else seems to love it too.
The story of twins Lily and Oz whose family suddenly inherit a chocolate shop.
But is no ordinary chocolate shop, it's a magic one, complete with a talking cat. What's more there are spies, a new friend across the road, an evil (or is he) great uncle, and so on. My only criticism is why does everyone have to introduce a dyslexic child with special powers, my dyslexic child finds this annoying as he doesn't think he's going to suddenly wake up being magical or a super hero.
My eight year old didn't enjoy it that much, and it didn't manage to keep her engrossed. However I am sure other children will love this book.
As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I was intrigued and I was really excited to start to read this book. Although it is a children's book I really enjoyed it. A mixture between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Spooks!
The book follows the Spoffard's family who receive a strange parcel from a solicitor who tells them they have inherited a house, 18 Skittle Street, London. The parcel contained the title deeds and the set of keys. They visit the house and the first thing Lily meets is a ginger cat, Demerara, who only she can see and who talks to her. They soon discover that the house was once the workshop and shop of the famous Spoffard Brothers chocolate business.
I will not spoil the story by divulging the story any further, except to say that the story contains excitement, magic, MI6 agents and secret missions. There are plenty of moments of humour within the book which will have children giggling away before they are swept along to the next mission they must complete to reach their goal - finding the chocolate moulds that each of the brothers had in their possession.
Kate Saunders has written a really good read, which children age 8+ will enjoy reading. I am sure it will be loved by both girls and boys and I will be looking out for other books by Saunders soon.
on 17 June 2012
My nine year old Emily read this in around 4 sittings - not bad as there are 290 pages - she was totally captivated by the story line and characters.
She has ordered me to the library tomorrow to get more books by Kate Saunders
The first thing that you might think of when talking about a modern magical setting with children is perhaps Harry Potter. There's not too many similarities there, although there are magical creatures, magic (chocolate), a secret government agency and they do discover they're descended from wizards, of sorts. The setting is also modern, but with magical elements added in.
Because the magic side is generally a bit more subdued, you have to feel it mixes a bit of Willy Wonka, a bit of Harry Potter, and perhaps a bit of Alex Rider. The overall effect, with talking animals and all, is great fodder for a bedtime story - while there is drama, it's not a particularly dark book.
The writing style is easy to ready, with lots of conversation and amusing touches thrown in at various points, along with a healthy dose of the unexpected. While my young kids have found the likes of Percy Jackson a bit too scary for a bedtime story, this is a much better fit, so I'd certainly recommend it.