Jenny McLachlan’s THE LAND OF ROAR (Egmont £6.99) is a wonderful story about climbing through an old zedbed and finding the world of your childhood games stretching out before you, but where your dear Grandpa is held captive. It’s a modern day Peter Pan all about siblings, scarecrows and starting a new school.
It all gets a bit more scary with THE SWITCHING HOUR – Damaris Young (Scholastic £6.99)a spine-tingling properly scary story about a monster that eats your dreams and snatches your children. But as is the way with these things if there is enough hope and courage you can overcomes all.
Things are very rich and strange in the first of the fantasy adventure trilogy dreamed up by TC Shelley with THE MONSTER WHO WASN’T (Bloomsbury £6.99).This story is quite simply beautifully written and will make us all believe in monsters of all shapes and sizes.
We can’t mention fantasy without flagging up FROSTHEART by Jamie Littler(Puffin £7.99).This is a debut novel by an extraordinary author/illustrator and takes us on a breath-taking adventure to the edge of the world complete with leviathans, secrets and a sleigh called the Frostheart. Look out for it in shops from 3 October.
Moving away from fantasy to a more sombre theme of grief and loss. There are some very powerful books tackling difficult subjects with particular sensitivity.
THE SPACE WE’RE IN by Katya Balen illustrated by Laura Carlin, (Bloomsbury £10.99) is a truly extraordinary book. It tells the story of Frank and his brother called Max who has autism. It packs a pretty powerful punch but is a beautifully written and ultimately uplifting story with stunning artwork. Warning: you will need tissues.
LOST by Eve Ainsworth (Scholastic £6.99) deals again with the agonising subject of the loss of a parent. This is a fiercely moving story about grief, determination and friendship. Very sad. But ultimately redemptive.
THE BOY WITH THE BUTTERFLY MIND by Victoria Williamson (Floris Books £6.99) tells the chaotic story of an unlikely friendship between Jamie who struggles with ADHD and Elin, a perfectionist trying to deal with her parents’ separation and realising that there really is no such thing as normal.
MAX KOWALSKI DIDN’T MEAN IT by Susie Day(Puffin £6.99) introduces us to one of the most endearing protagonists I’ve come across in a while. Max is an 11 year old scallywag who loves his Dad more than anything, until he disappears in the night leaving Max with a bundle of cash. Adventure ensue with some dragons to fight and lots of lessons to learn and it’s brilliant.
More adventure and mystery with AN UNLIKELY SPY by Terry Deary (Bloomsbury £6.99) leading the way. Our young reviewer was gripped from the start and gives it a massive thumbs up. World War II, evacuees, spies and a Special Operations Executive. What more could you want?
More spies, but this time it’s happening right now in SPYLARK by Danny Rurlander (Chicken House £6.99). There are drones, brave children, an assassination plot and it’s a corker.
We couldn’t do a full round up without mentioning the brilliant new novel from Sally Gardner, THE WIND IN THE WALL – illustrated by Rovina Cai (Hot Key Books £12.99). This is a stunning fairy/cautionary tale picture book for both young and old which reminds us all to be careful what you wish for.
Out this weekend is the new book by Michael Morpurgo. Boy Giant - Young Gulliver. “We were the truth of our own story. Me, and the two tiny people on my shoulder, in the middle of the sea…” A story about a refugee which deals with hope, humanity and high-seas adventure. Inspired by Gulliver's Travels this is a story that makes a human story out of the refugee crisis and is something that everyone should read. (HarperCollins £12.99)