~posted by Ruth
Earlier this year, I recommended some terrific new readalouds for young readers. Operation Bunny was one favorite:
Operation Bunny: Book One (Wings & Co.) by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts
If you’re looking for a magical world with its own set of internal reality, written with literary integrity, and a great sense of humor, this is the series for you! Young Emily Vole has as horrific a young childhood as Harry Potter, with parents who start out adopting her as an infant, then turn her into a housekeeper and nanny when their triplets are born. Luckily, her elderly neighbor Miss String befriends her and teaches her history, German—and magic. She also finds herself depending on a talking cat and a grumpy fairy detective to help save the fairies from the wicked witch. Emily becomes a no-nonsense and very brave detective who specializes in magical crimes. The first of what promises to be a delightful series!
It turns out I was right. This summer, we read together the next two books in the series and just can’t wait for Book #4 to arrive from Great Britain. After the first book, Molly took to announcing her pleasure by exclaiming, “Capital!” (as Miss String does). Both kids love to be referred to as “my little ducks,” and can be heard asserting, “Spot on the fishcake!” like their book friend Fidget the talking cat. The British dialect and humor are contagious!
So if you’re looking for a readaloud series to capture your young readers’ interest, look no further. Here’s a taste of books 2 and 3:
Three Pickled Herrings: Book Two (Wings & Co.) by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts
Some old friends as well as new ones in the second in the series. Emily, Fidget, and the fairy detectives are all set to take on their cases, but have no clients. . .at first. Suddenly, they have three new cases (the “three pickled herrings” of the title). It seems “fairy meddling” is afoot. What else could explain Mr. Rollo the Tailor’s bad luck that causes him to lose everything? Or Pan Smith’s incredible run of good luck, then on her wedding eve, to have it all turn to disaster? And what caused Sir Walter Cross’s untimely death? What about that magic umbrella? Fantastic humor, capital vocabulary, and magical adventures.
The Vanishing of Billy Buckle: Book Three (Wings & Co.) by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts
Squat on the squid! The fairy detectives are back on the case, and this may be their most trying case yet! A missing Giant, caring for a his huge–and immensely talented–daughter. Which brings us to the confusing and complex TV talent show. Oh, and the fairy detective house picks up and moves to the seashore. Throw in an evil shape-shifter, a fortune telling fairy with only half her wings, and you start to get the picture. We continue to absolutely love Fidget the cat and his many witticisms and British dialogue.
Stay tuned for Book Four: The Matchbox Mysteries, due out in the UK in October!