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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Review: Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

Magic, mysteries and a resilient heroine - fab start to a new series for 7+

Sally Gardner is so great! I've never been disappointed with one of her books, and this quirky magical tale is no different. With shades of Roald Dahl and Eva Ibbotson, this is classic young fiction at its best.

As the first book in a new series, it lays the groundwork for the future, showing how the wonderful cat Fidget and little Emily Vole on the book cover come to be working together at a Fairy Detective Agency. The gorgeous illustrations are perfect, starting with the cover style that shows us this is no 'pink and sparkly' fairy book.

Emily's life has fairytale elements: she's an orphan, found in a hatbox at Stansted Airport and quickly adopted by the incredibly wealthy Dashwoods, who soon grow frustrated by Emily's inability to perfectly complement their otherwise perfectly coordinated life and treat her shockingly. It's through Emily's adoptive parents that comparisons to Dahl are most valid, with their caricature-like superficiality and materialism. Once the magical elements start featuring, things look up for Emily and the adventure truly begins.

Children of around 7 and up will lap this up, revelling as they do in deliciously bad parent-figures and tough and resourceful child protagonists, not to mention magical talking animals. I know I would have loved this as a child (umm, actually I loved it now :) ) and my 9yr old will too.

Overall, this is definitely a fun read for newly confident readers (shortish chapters and lovely b/w illustrations throughout), or would work well as a shared bedtime read.

From the Back Cover:

When Emily Vole inherits an abandoned shop, she discovers a magical world she never knew existed. But a fairy-hating witch, a mischievous set of golden keys, and a train full of brightly coloured bunnies are just a few of the surprises that come with it.

With the help of a talking cat called Fidget and a grumpy fairy detective called Buster, it's up to Emily to get to the bottom of Operation Bunny.

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Published in October 2012 by Orion Children's
My grateful thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy
For more info: publisher's website

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